The Unvanquished is a coming-of-age novel set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Six of the seven stories were individually published iThe Unvanquished is a coming-of-age novel set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Six of the seven stories were individually published in the Saturday Evening Post and Scribners before Faulkner finished it as a novel. The book is narrated by Bayard Sartoris as he looks back on his life on a Mississippi plantation from age 12 to 24.
The young Bayard thinks of war as a great adventure, and he has a "hero worshiping" attitude toward his father, Colonel John Sartoris, who leads a Confederate regiment. Bayard and Ringo, a 12-year-old slave boy, have been raised together. The first stories involve adventures where Bayard and Ringo seem largely unaware of the politics and racial tensions that exist.
As the war progresses there are many instances of heroism exhibited by ordinary people--including the young boys and my favorite character, Granny. She uses a forgery scheme to fool the Union soldiers so that the community does not go hungry. Waves of freed slaves move North to find the River Jordan, but things are not that easy. Racial and class distinctions still exist.
During the difficult Reconstruction period, John Sartoris is shown to be domineering and hot-tempered, letting nothing stand in his way to success. He sent Bayard to law school because he wanted his son to be able to take the law into his own hands. But the mature Bayard has different ideas about honor and manhood. Bayard wants an end to violence in their community, and a new code of honor based on law and justice.
Although the book has many moral themes throughout, the story also has many humorous and touching episodes that temper the tragic moments. Slavery on the Sartoris plantation is described in much more benign terms than what frequently existed. The book ended with the feeling that change was brewing, and it wouldn't come easily.
This book is a May group read for the "On the Southern Literary Trail" group....more
Abel narrates a story about his mysterious past in the "green mansions" of the Venezuelan rainforest. When he was a young revolutionary, he had to goAbel narrates a story about his mysterious past in the "green mansions" of the Venezuelan rainforest. When he was a young revolutionary, he had to go into hiding in an Indian village in the Parahuari Mountains. He went exploring in a nearby forest where the Indians refused to walk, fearing the presence of an evil spirit, the Daughter of the Didi. She was a half-wild girl named Rima who lived close to nature, hiding while singing with soft warbling sounds. "Again and again as I stood there listening it sounded, now so faint and apparently far off as to be scarcely audible; then all at once it would ring out bright and clear within a few yards of me, as if the shy little thing had suddenly grown bold; but, far or near, the vocalist remained invisible, and at length the tantalising melody ceased altogether."
This romantic fantasy show the author's love of the natural world of South America. It portrayed an allegorical ideal world where man lives in harmony with nature. Although Hudson's writing is very descriptive and flowery, the book kept my interest because of its imaginative quality. Published in 1904, some parts of the book would be considered offensive by today's standards concerning native people. It mentioned the superiority of the white man even though the native Indians provided help to Abel, and kept him from starving to death many times during the course of his adventures.
A white boy named John Butler had been captured by Native Americans when he was four years old. His adoptive father took him to Ohio, taught him the NA white boy named John Butler had been captured by Native Americans when he was four years old. His adoptive father took him to Ohio, taught him the Native American culture,and renamed him "True Son." When he was fifteen, True Son was taken back to his white family in the Harrisburg area as part of a treaty agreement. He could not adapt to the white culture, and had been taught to not trust the white people.
This adventure story of a boy caught between two cultures was written for young adults. It tries to present both cultures in an evenhanded, fair manner. This is an engaging story that kept my interest....more
Jack London drew on his experiences in the Klondike gold rush when writing The Call of the Wild. He headed north to Canada in 1987 to search for gold,Jack London drew on his experiences in the Klondike gold rush when writing The Call of the Wild. He headed north to Canada in 1987 to search for gold, and published this book in 1903. The Call of the Wild is a book about the fight for survival and the transformation of a St Bernard/shepherd mix dog named Buck. The dog was a pet in California before he was stolen and shipped north. The gold rush had created a huge demand for strong sled dogs. Buck and the other dogs were clubbed by the dog traders who taught them obedience. He was sold to some mail carriers where there was an intense, violent rivalry between him and the lead dog. Later he was bought by some inexperience, abusive owners, and was eventually rescued by John Thornton.
There was mutual love and loyalty between John and Buck. John and his two friends traveled deeper into the Canadian North prospecting for gold. Buck became more attracted to life in the wild, and bonded with a pack of wolves. The story shows the transformation of Buck from a pet in civilization to an animal following his natural wild instincts.
Somehow I managed to get through my childhood without reading this famous book. There is a large amount of violence in the book with the owners beating the dogs, and making them run on long trips with little rest and meager rations. There is also fighting to the death between the rival dogs in their wish for domination. Some people, especially sensitive children and animal lovers, might be upset by the realistic portrayal of the challenges the dogs faced. The story was both a compelling adventure, and an interesting look at the Klondike gold rush. ...more
Lady Dona St Columb was bored with the stuffiness of London high society, and took off with her two children to her husband's estate in Cornwall. WhenLady Dona St Columb was bored with the stuffiness of London high society, and took off with her two children to her husband's estate in Cornwall. When she is out walking, she finds that the creek on their property is being used as a hiding place for a French pirate, his crew, and their ship with easy access to the English Channel. The cultured pirate offers her a chance for the adventure and passion that has been lacking in her life. Even as a young girl, Dona was always jealous of the freedom that her brothers had while she had to stay behind with her dolls. After going on a raid with the pirate crew and participating in another dangerous mission, Dona must choose between staying with her husband and children, or life with the dashing pirate.
The book was both an adventure story in an atmospheric setting, and a romance. It also showed that women had very traditional roles in society during the reign of Charles II. Dona was too headstrong and smart to want a traditional role, although she was a very loving mother. Some parts of the book were very lyrical and beautiful, but other parts were a bit of a farce. It was hard to believe that Dona's husband could be so clueless. Although I have never seen the movie, I can imagine this book being turned into a very entertaining adventure movie. But the story paled in quality when compared to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. 3.5 stars...more
When her mother died when she was twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed's life fell apart. Her family went in different directions, and she ruined her marriage wWhen her mother died when she was twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed's life fell apart. Her family went in different directions, and she ruined her marriage with drugs and casual sex with other men. After the divorce, she decided to find herself by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. She started at the Mojave Desert in California, and headed north through Oregon to the Washington state border. As an inexperienced hiker, she started by carrying an enormously heavy pack and wearing hiking shoes that were a bit too small. But she had tremendous resolve, and persisted in her hike despite the heat, painful feet, and dangerous snowy conditions in the mountains. She met wonderful, helpful people along the trail and enjoyed the rugged beauty of the PCT. The story is told with honesty and humor as Cheryl matured emotionally on the long-distance hike. She also made peace with the loss of her beloved mother. This was an interesting and entertaining memoir....more
Theodore Roosevelt needed to lift his spirits after his defeat in the 1912 presidential election in a third-party run. He had been invited for a lectuTheodore Roosevelt needed to lift his spirits after his defeat in the 1912 presidential election in a third-party run. He had been invited for a lecture tour in South America, and added the challenge of a trip to the Amazon region. When he reached Brazil, he changed his plans from exploring a known river to embarking on a journey along the uncharted River of Doubt. Theodore Roosevelt was accompanied by his son Kermit Roosevelt, the Brazilian explorer Colonel Candido Rondon, a naturalist, a doctor, and the camaradas who toiled as paddlers and porters. Rondon acted as the commander, and mapped the river.
The expedition was poorly supplied with boats that were too heavy for paddling through the rapids. The River of Doubt was dangerous with poisonous snakes, piranhas, impassable rapids and waterfalls, the possibility of attack by Indians, and constant swarms of insects. The men were starving when they ran low on provisions, and were fighting malaria and other infections. Although there were many people on this journey to admire, it is questionable if they would have survived without the leadership of Colonel Rondon.
The book is an adventure story as well as a historical account of part of Roosevelt's life. The author, a former writer and editor for National Geographic, impressed me with her nature writing as well. She adds interesting information about everything from the science of tectonic plates forming the Andes to how the plants and animals of the Amazon evolved to ensure survival. I enjoyed this Brazilian adventure through the uncharted territory on the River of Doubt....more