The Son

The Son

by Philipp Meyer

Ricki Brodie (09/27/13): This multigenerational novel is written from the memories of three family members. First is Eli McCullough who witnesses the rape and pillage of his home and is abducted by Comanches in 1859. He assimilates into the tribe as a powerful warrior before returning to the white world as a ranger fighting the Indians. Eli builds a vast cattle empire in Texas and becomes a force to be reckoned with. He is known "the Colonel" and is sought out by neighbors, friends and enemies for advice and protection until his death at 100. Eli has three sons. The second voice is his son Peter who is the moral opposite of his father and is seen as a great disappointment for failing to be a cutthroat businessman and who cannot tolerate the violence around him. Eli's great-granddaughter, Jeanne Anne, is the third memoirist who operated in a manís world with more fortitude than her weak brothers. She has to fight to maintain the McCullough fortune steering the family into the oil age of present day Texas.

The writing captures the soul of the Old West as people seek to survive. I shows both humanity and inhumanity and the choice people make to get what they want. The reader becomes one with the culture and land as the stories unfold. The violence portrayed is gut-wrenching but never gratuitous. We see how a part of our country evolved and we got where we are today. It is a fascinating and compelling read and one of my favorite books.
Rating: *****

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