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The Old Man and the Boy (The Old Man and the Boy #1)

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  629 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
This classic captures the endearing relationship between a man and his grandson as they fish and hunt the lakes and woods of North Carolina. All the while the Old Man acts as teacher and guide, passing on his wisdom and life experiences to the boy, who listens in rapt fascination.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 15th 1993 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1953)
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Mike (the Paladin)
I've mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of Robert Ruark's writing, at least his "outdoor writing". For many years Mr. Ruark wrote a column in Field and Stream Magazine...The Old Man and the Boy, Mr. Ruark himself being the boy. This is a collection these.

I suppose I love this for the same reason(s) that I love some other books, movies etc. It reflects an idyllic and idealized situation that I find myself very envious of. I grew up in the country and wandered the fields and the creeks. My dad a
Dan Moore
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with kids, especially boys.
Recommended to Dan by: Ron Dorman
For me this book is a classic and a must read. It's one of a few books that I routinely give away, not as a gift but just because "You haven't read it?! Here, take this home."

Robert Ruark story of growing up in the Southport area of NC puts him in my neck of the woods. His stories of growing up, wisdom shared, and often times earned the hard way, are what anyone, especially any boy should be blessed with growing up. These aren't stories on hunting and fishing, these are stories on what hunting a
T. J.
Sep 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People from NC; People Hunt Fish; People who like old people.
My father read me this book when I was a child and I have probably read it four or five times my self. It has an endearing quality that very few other books have. It is a book filled with love; it is a series of stories, and anecdotes written by a grandson about his grandfather. It demonstrates affection in a way that is so masculine, whilst being full of devotion. The Old Man and the Boy is a book that I would recommend to almost anyone...
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There were days, now long gone and never to come again, when a boy grew up in a world full of adventure. A world in which a mentor would guide him, show him, teach, and where he could come and go, where he learned all about life, character, integrity. This is true story of that time. As I read the last few pages, it was sad to know that time, some of which I got to taste and experience myself, will never ever be again. We have a term for it today; free range children. It is an experience that on ...more
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this is a book for men about being a man, I think in today's world it is women who ought to be reading it. Ruark recounts the profound affect his grandfather had in raising him to be a real man. The old man used man's natural affinity to the outdoors, hunting and fishing, to teach the boy a much broader, deeper wisdom about respect for life and how to live honorably... as a real man.
It was an eye opener for me as to how much our modern feminist culture has destroyed real manliness. As it t
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
This is one of those books remembered from childhood. It was before I knew that Robert Ruark was one of those 1950s era depressed, macho-man drunks in the style of Hemingway. But he is a better writer than Hemingway because he actually tells a story you want to read and the characters are not as dull and dreary as Hemingway's.

It was a book to escape into for an 11 year old boy.

This book might not have withstood time if I went back and read it again, but I suspect that it would. Unlike the narcis
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes the outdoors, simple times and great writing
Recommended to 2patnt by: my mother
This is my absolutely favorite book. I first read it when I was about 13 and have read it every couple of years since. It is extremely well written and will engage you from the first word to the last. It is a reflection on a simple but rewarding childhood that most of us can envy. Ruark led a tragic life as an adult but this account of his childhood is wonderful. I have searched out every other Ruark book and count him as one of my favorite authors. Not suitable for PETA members.
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most books I read once; some twice; this one I have read 3 times and am ready to read it again. It is the essence of the outdoor life for those of us who still think like a kid and want nothing more than wade a creek, paddle a canoe, or find a wing shooting paradise. I can't get enough of reading it and of living it.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book furthered my appreciation of nature and also led me to move out of the city.

This book focuses on passing on information from the older generations to the newer. I think we have lost sight of how important that is in our society and I will no longer take my elders for granted.
Robert Attaway sr.
Ruark spent his summers with his grandfather who taught him to hunt and fish as a sportsman and in the process how he should act in the world as he lived his life. These lessons stuck with Ruark his whole life. This is a excellent book for any young man!
Kate Allen
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Dad had me read this book when I was young.
Beautiful story.....
Benjamin Sprueill
This was the first book that I read with my father and to this day I still remember almost every page, This one book and the time I got with my Father has forever changed my life!
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To appreciate having known, in my case briefly, a grandfather--read great-grandfather--who had time for you, with few distractions and a lifetime of wisdom to offer.
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must for the bookshelf; I return again and again.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book ever. I've read it at least once a year for over 40 years!
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my top-ten favorite reads.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Six stars if I could.
Gray Anthony
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in Wilmington, NC and spent my childhood roaming the beaches and backwaters of this book. It is a great tale of love and coming of age in a time and place that doesn't really exist anymore, but you could still catch glimpses of in my youth. I could relate the close relationship of the boy and his grandfather and was deeply touched by this story and it's setting.
Christian Dibblee
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Really enjoyed this book. Lots of great lessons to be learned for children, particularly that in many instances you have to earn the ability to do certain things...and that can only come about through contemplation sometimes.
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the book,I'm as old as the old man. I think anyone that loves to fish or hunt would enjoy reading this book.
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I liked the story of the relationship between the old man and the young boy. In this regard, I thought the book was excellent. But the focus of almost every chapter is killing animals. Usually killing a lot of them on every hunt, and the happiness of the boy tends to be measured by how many animals he killed. Generally they killed as many as they could (or the limit), coming home with as much dead animal flesh as they could carry, or put in their Liz (whatever that is). This in the midst of the ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
a sort of review from my blog:

Robert Ruark, the author of the Old Man and the Boy, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1915. He grew up in Southport, a small town at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. At the age of 15, he attended the University of North Carolina. Upon graduating with a degree in journalism, he worked as a newspaper reporter and did a stint in the Navy during World War Two. Following the war, his career took off. In addition to writing for newspapers, he also wrote for per
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay - so this book came HIGHLY recommended to me....and I get why this particular couple loved this book. It's a sweet story of a growing boy and the lessons of life he learns from his grandfather through fishing and hunting. However, there was SOOO much detail about said fishing and hunting that I wanted to gouge my eyes out. I don't look at myself and see someone who even remotely cares about how to skin a squirrel or exactly what is the best way to shoot a mallard (depending, of course, on w ...more
Mike Disalvo
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ruark's book conjures up memories of my own Old Man. The same guidelines on handling guns and how to shoot are still valid today. Some of the more important parts of this book deal with just going hunting, fishing , etc. not with the results of the day, but why we go do these things. Learn why fishing isn't about catching fish. Learn why some dogs are made to hunt and some aren't. The last chapter "All He Left Me Was The World", is not to be read by the tenderhearted. It strikes a chord with any ...more
Pam Lobley
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for the peaceful and moving descriptions of hunting and fishing in a bygone era. (They hunt for food - and that includes eating squirrel.) The boy's Grandpa teaches him everything a rural boy in 1920 would want to know about the lands around him, and quite a bit about human nature, too. It can get a tad repetitive toward the end, because the book is made up of previously published columns from the writer's newspaper and magazine assignments. But it captured a time that will pro ...more
Drew Danko
This is a lovely description of the relationship btw a grandfather and his grandson and their outdoor experiences together. Regardless of whether the relationship was idealized or not, it was totally believable. Before the book ended I was already envious of Ruark's childhood. But perhaps I shouldn't have been as there is hardly any reference to the boy's parents so I was left wondering how and why the boy spent so much time with his grandfather. Whatever the explanation, Ruark had an exceptiona ...more
This is a series of tales, hopefully true, which were originally published in a sporting magazine. The writer (the titular boy) lovingly relates the wisdom passed on to him by his enate grandfather (the Old Man). It's refreshing to read something written by someone who claims to have had the perfect childhood, in spite of the fact that he grew up during the depression. The author's love for his grandfather shines through on every page; the book is consequently sentimental and soppy, and I loved ...more
David Ward
The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark (Henry Holt & Co. 1957) (Biography) is one of my all-time favorite books. It's a memoir of being taught to love and respect the outdoors, nature, and sportsmanship on the North Carolina coast in the first half of the 20th century. More importantly, it's the story of the love that can exist across generations of a family. Author Robert Ruark went on to gain fame and fortune as a novelist, a “Great White Hunter,” and a celebrity perhaps best known for be ...more
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
We chose this for our April book club.

I was interested in reading a biography on Robert Ruark but if it wasn't for the book club deadline, I would still be laboring through it. Honestly though, once I decided to stop criticizing and focused on the grandfather and grandson relationship, I enjoyed the book. Ok, full disclosure...I scanned through the way too intensely visually descriptive parts of fresh kill dissections. These are too much for
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would say this book is the source of my American dream. It's a story of a friendship between a boy and his grandfather. The story brings me to the woods and fields of North Carolina with the fascinating story about fishing, hunting, camping. Even more, the book set a vision of life to me. "It's a heartwarming, eloquent, and ultimately poignant tale about choices, about responsibility, and about becoming a man" from the preface of the book, and it's true. enjoy~~
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Robert Ruark was an author and syndicated columnist.

Born Robert Chester Ruark, Jr., to Charlotte A. Ruark and Robert C. Ruark, a bookkeeper for a wholesale grocery, young Ruark attended local schools and graduated from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. He graduated from high school at age 12 and entered the University of North Carolina at age 15. The Ruark family was deeply af
More about Robert Ruark...

Other Books in the Series

The Old Man and the Boy (2 books)
  • The Old Man's Boy Grows Older
“Any time a boy is ready to learn about guns is the time he’s ready, no matter how young he is, and you can’t start too young to learn how to be careful.” 9 likes
“You might as well learn that a man who catches fish or shoots game has got to make it fit to eat before he sleeps. Otherwise it’s all a waste and a sin to take it if you can’t use it.” 9 likes
More quotes…