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The Son (2013)

por Philipp Meyer

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Comanche Indian captive Eli McCullough must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong -- a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.
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Holy crap this book is good. A family saga ranging from the 1830s to the present, highlighting the American phase, so far, of the land known as Texas. Completely engrossing, it shows the brutal violence used both by those who emerge as the winners in a land in transition and by those attempting to hang on to it as the phase of their domination wanes and ends.
The Americans... he allowed his mind to roam. They thought that simply because they had stolen something, no one should be allowed to steal it from them. But of course that was what all people thought; that whatever they had taken, they should be allowed to keep it forever.

He was no better. His people had stolen the land from the Indians, and yet he did not think of that even for an instant - he thought only of the Texans who had stolen it from his people. And the Indians from whom his people had stolen the land had themselves stolen it from other Indians.
So it is. Throughout human history one group of people has been murdering and expelling another group of people to claim some territory. Whether there have always been those among the conquering people who felt guilty about this, or whether this is a strictly modern phenomenon, I do not know. What is amazing is that we have mostly decided this should stop, leaving nations secure in what they currently find themselves with. This sea change of human behavior however had not yet come about when the McCulloughs of this novel carved out their empire of cattle and oil in south Texas.

Eli, the progenitor of the family fortune, has an inauspicious beginning, kidnapped on the Texas frontier by the Comanches, the rest of his family slaughtered. Adopted by the tribe, he spends several years living with and coming to identify with them. Though sympathetic in their way, the Comanches feel no guilt about the violence and brutality they mete out while trying to hold on to the land they stole generations earlier from weaker Indian tribes, and Eli fully adopts this attitude as a grown man.

After leaving the Comanches, and following a stint hunting and killing Mexicans, Indians, and finally Yankees as part of the Texas Rangers, Eli starts buying up cheap land to build a ranch in south Texas. This brings him into conflict with the Garcia family, who have had their own ranching empire in the area for generations as part of Mexico. The era of Mexican dominion is over, and for those of the old regime who fail to recognize the consequences, it will be brought home to them with bullets and blood.

Besides Eli the novel focuses on two other McCulloughs of vastly different attitude: Peter, Eli's son, who may be said to represent the emergence of the the new humanity that feels guilt about and stands in opposition to such instances of ethnic cleansing and power transfer, and Jeanne, Peter's granddaughter, who embodies a reactionary attitude closer to that of Eli and who vastly expands the family fortune thanks to the oil boom.

The moral superiority of the new attitude over the old is made evident by the end of this fantastic novel, but the reader will have to get through no shortage of bloodshed to arrive at that point. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Wow. Terrific book. If you liked Empire of the Summer Moon you'll love this fictional treatment. ( )
  dhenn31 | Jan 24, 2024 |
Listened to this book on Audible. Wonderful choice of readers to voice the characters. Compelling saga of the McCullough family of Texas as told by various members of the multi-generational family. ( )
  jemisonreads | Jan 22, 2024 |
This was a book that was difficult to put down. I breezed right through it. I generally don't like novels that cover a large amount of time with multiple generations, but this was so well-written and easy to follow. ( )
  MickeyMole | Oct 2, 2023 |
Not really a Western. Not really a family epic. Not really a character study. But all of these and more. I enjoyed this quite a bit and look forward to how the AMC TV series continues to expand on the fascinating story of the McCullough family and the transformation of Texas from wild frontier to cattle country to oil empire. ( )
  zot79 | Aug 20, 2023 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Meyer, Philippautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Nimwegen, Arjaan vanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Patton, WillNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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In the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and most civilised portion of mankind.... ....its genenius wa humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown Barbarians issuing from the frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa. ...the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works...buries empires and cities in a common grave. ---------------Edward Gibbon
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For my family
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It was prophesied I would live to see one hundred and having achieved that age I see no reason to doubt it.
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Comanche Indian captive Eli McCullough must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong -- a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.

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Philipp Meyer é um Autor LibraryThing, um autor que lista a sua biblioteca pessoal no LibraryThing.

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