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The Turmoil (The Growth Trilogy #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  257 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
A novel in the tradition of those of Sherwood Anderson and Sinclair Lewis, The Turmoil is set in what was once a small, quiet city - never named but closely resembling the author's hometown of Indianapolis - that has been rapidly transformed into a bustling, money-making nest of competitors overrun by "the worshippers of Bigness."

The Turmoil tells the intertwined stories o

Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1915)
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Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Turmoil because it's the first in a three book series, the second of which is The Magnificent Ambersons, a Pulitzer winner. I'd also previously read Tarkington's Penrod which became one of my all-time favorites. So, how did The Turmoil stack up? It's not hilarious as Penrod, though there are some really funny parts. It's also not as much of a vocabulary lesson, but it definitely stands on its own as a book worth reading. It took some time to grow on me, but grow on me it did, and by t ...more
Sandy (CA)
When I found myself lying awake at 2 o'clock this morning thinking about this book, I realized that it really deserved five stars in my estimation. I have revised my rating accordingly. There is a lot going on in the story, and much to ponder. I really like the characters, and I just know that I won't be able to wait for a group read in December to read Volume 2 of the trilogy. For me, it has been one of those surprise reads, and a very pleasant surprise at that!

I listened to a collaborative Li
Originally read in July 2012.

The Turmoil was a novel that I liked moderately the first time I read it, but after mulling it over a good deal and reading it a second time, it has firmly ensconced itself as my second-favorite book by Booth Tarkington. Written first of what he would later group together and call his Growth trilogy, it is set chronologically after The Magnificent Ambersons, in what we're given to understand is the same nameless "midland city" (likely based on Tarkington's native cit
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Turmoil” is a book little read nowadays, and would probably be a book never read except for Orson Welles. Its author, Booth Tarkington, was a famous Indiana writer of the early 20th Century. Nowadays, when literary life is dominated by coastal authors, or those who want to move to the coasts, and the ecosystem around them, and the Midwest is merely “flyover country,” to be ignored or denigrated, this seems odd. But it wasn’t that long ago that in all aspects of life, from literature to poli ...more
Oct 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, fiction
“The Turmoil” by Booth Tarkington, was the first novel in what would become the “Growth” trilogy. Originally published in 1915, “The Turmoil” takes place in a fictional mid-west city which is never named, but which is probably modeled on Indianapolis. The name of the trilogy is appropriate, not only because these novels deal with the growth in the country, and the affect of industrialization on society, but also with Tarkington’s growth as a writer which appears to have come from his taking time ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america
Why is Booth Tarkington so neglected?? What a fine writer. The Turmoil is the second of the "Growth" trilogy, the first of which is Pulitzer winner The Magnificent Ambersons. Good story, intensely American, and a more sympathetic protagonist than Ambersons' Georgie. A bit dated in a few parts, but vastly better than most of today's prizewinners. The list of Tarkington novels and stories that were used in Hollywood numbers in the 70s -- they recognized a storyteller, and I think we would profit b ...more
Steve Sarrica
A fun, if utterly predictable, look at a new money family at the beginning of the Industrial Age in the US. Most of the characterizations are cartoonish at best, with the scion of the Sheridan family being the sterling example. Enjoyable as a period piece. I'm wondering if "The Magnificent Ambersons" will come off better.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottom Line First The first of a thematically connected trilogy. In Turmoil, Booth Tarkington introduces us to a Midwest American City about midway into the process of becoming a major industrial center. At the heart of this city are the old line families seeking to maintain social standing even as these the social structure moves into the hands of the driven nouveau rich. Not properly attached to either side are the artists, traditionally connected to the one and having an uncertain role among ...more
Scott O. Kaszyk
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growth and Bigness, to what end? is what this novel asks but never really answers. The main character, Bibbs, goes through a transformation from sensitive artist to commanding capitalist that is instigated by several shocks. Tarkington does an exceptional job of painting each character through their voices. The senior Sheridan is loud and bossy and loves the smoke his factories give off because they mean paychecks to his employees, even though soot covers the town and people in nastiness in the ...more
Phyllis Belden
I couldn't help being reminded, by the Sheridan's, of a certain rich and powerful family in today's headlines... with the arrogant and oafish patriarch's talk of coal, numerous buildings emblazoned with their name, and passion for building things bigger and bigger.

That modern parallel did not deter me from enjoying this book. I loved the colorful characters. The author doesn't torment you very long with the more annoying characters, but they serve the story. Bibbs and his father have satisfying
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Booth Tarkington was an American novelist and dramatist best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams.
More about Booth Tarkington...

Other Books in the Series

The Growth Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (The Growth Trilogy, #2)
  • National Avenue (The Growth Trilogy, #3)