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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This may well be the best of The Berrybender Narratives
It's so nice to see some high-profile Western projects popping up. The first was SIN KILLER, which marked the beginning of Larry McMurtry's four volumes of The Berrybender Narratives. The second was the announced republishing of the works of Louis L'Amour, commencing with a number of short story collections and continuing with the recent publication of a new edition of...
Published on June 20, 2004 by Bookreporter

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Berrybenders
Folly and Glory, book four of McMurtry's Berrybender Series, continues the saga of the foppish English family and their hangers-on through the mountain man American West.

This book is both thinner and less well developed than book three of the series. The Berrybender gang start with their genteel imprisonment in Spanish Santa Fe and end up -- much reduced...
Published on September 8, 2004 by Wayne A. Smith


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This may well be the best of The Berrybender Narratives, June 20, 2004
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
It's so nice to see some high-profile Western projects popping up. The first was SIN KILLER, which marked the beginning of Larry McMurtry's four volumes of The Berrybender Narratives. The second was the announced republishing of the works of Louis L'Amour, commencing with a number of short story collections and continuing with the recent publication of a new edition of the immortal HONDO. And the third is the television series "Deadwood," which, in spite of its occasionally gratuitous use of crude, earthy language, may well be the best-written show currently on television. Things now come full circle with the publication of FOLLY AND GLORY, the fourth and final (at least for now) volume of The Berrybender Narratives. It is a pleasure to find that it sustains, and even surpasses, the energy of its predecessors.
The Berrybender Narratives are not something you can jump into. While McMurtry is incapable of writing badly, this series is best read from the beginning, as it is most definitely a sequential narrative. FOLLY AND GLORY begins with the Berrybenders under a forced yet luxurious house arrest in Santa Fe, Mexico. The mood of the party, particularly Tasmin Berrybender's, is somewhat subdued due to the murder of Pomp Charbonneau at the hands of a deranged Mexican Army captain. The party as a whole, however, passes the time in relative comfort. Their somewhat idyllic incarceration is abruptly ended, though, when it is learned that the Mexican authorities plan to arrest them --- for real this time --- and, in all probability, execute the entire party. Lord Berrybender plans to proceed to Texas, and the party effects a hurried exit out of the compound. Danger and death await at every turn, not only from pestilence but also from a party of slavers.
Meanwhile, Jim Snow has as his wont been absent more than present, guiding a wagon train and procuring a weapons shipment for the always overbearing and self-centered Lord Berrybender. When an attack by the slavers results in the death of two members of the party, Jim Snow becomes The Sin Killer once again, exacting a dark and terrible but fitting vengeance upon the slavers. Snow's action also indirectly results in a complication that will affect his wife Tasmin and the rest of the company, forcing Tasmin to make a decision regarding her future and that of her offspring.
FOLLY AND GLORY may well be the best of The Berrybender Narratives. McMurtry is perfect here, capturing the feeling of danger and casual brutality that was part of the everyday existence of the frontiersmen in the mid-19th century. FOLLY AND GLORY also neatly weaves its way through one of the major historical events of the period, while a number of real-life figures make brief but important cameo appearances. FOLLY AND GLORY is, ultimately, the capstone of what may well be McMurtry's penultimate work in a career that has been marked by creative summits.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE CULMINATION OF A VERY WILD RIDE, May 13, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer "MRD" (Somewhere in the Field) - See all my reviews
FOLLY AND GLORY by Larry McMurtry is a fitting benediction to McMurtry's Berrybender tetralogy. Despite reviews that paint this book as being about as violent as anything that McMurtry has written, I determined to complete the tale of a family of dysfunctional British gentry who come to America in the early Nineteenth Century to "see the sights" as it were.

What I discovered was yet another fine work by McMurtry that was a joy to read. Regarding McMurtry's treatment of violence, I suspect his statement to the modern reader is that violence in the past was as everyday as eating, sleeping or breathing. To our mollycoddled world, where tragedy manifests itself most acutely in the outcome of the latest reality TV program or contest, McMurtry's nonchalant depictions of frontier violence may seem insensitive. But in a world where one could be moving along the trail swimmingly one minute and gasping for life the next with an Apache arrow in his [...] it was likely very common to develop a rather McMurtryan viewpoint of life, of death and of the violence inherent to both.

As with the other three volumes of this series, FOLLY AND GLORY delivers a very engrossing tale with the usual cameo appearances of some of the geographical area's and period's most notable figures. From Old Santa Fe to the Alamo, FOLLY AND GLORY is another McMurtry triumph.

THE HORSEMAN
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Berrybenders, September 8, 2004
By 
Folly and Glory, book four of McMurtry's Berrybender Series, continues the saga of the foppish English family and their hangers-on through the mountain man American West.

This book is both thinner and less well developed than book three of the series. The Berrybender gang start with their genteel imprisonment in Spanish Santa Fe and end up -- much reduced through cholera, Indian attacks and other ghastly means of death -- at the end of the story. I won't give it away, but there is a much reduced cast, new players, surprising relationships and improbable outcomes.

The story is gritty, with lots of hardship and a portrayal of how nasty and short frontier life could be. Historical figures populate this book (Sam Houston, Kit Carson, Jim Bowie, the Bent Brothers), but are used rather loosely and not constrained by their actual lives. This isn't a problem, their appearance certainly adds flavor to the story. Purists may mind that some of the famous die in the book decades before they did in real life, but their use to flavor the story is consistent with McMurtry's approach to this whole whimsical series.

While this book still hangs on Tasmine's whims and management of the story, she is much less a commanding and energetic figure. Occupied by children, bereaved by the death of a lover whom she couldn't quite reach in life anyway, still bewildered by her husband Jim Snow, the Sin Killer, Tasmine hasn't the energy to cause the entire encampment to rotate around her axis as she did in the previous books. Her sisters come somewhat more to the fore as do some new characters introduced in this final installment. The way the Berrybender crowd reacts to circumstance and meets life with their unusual expectations continues to propel this story forward.

As with the other books, Folly and Glory is an entertaining read. In retrospect, this series feels like a long comic strip rather than a Lonesome Dove type of deeply developed novel. While not a great or memorable read, it is entertaining and enjoyable.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular!, May 19, 2004
When I began the Berrybender Narratives, I was expecting a happy, humorous lark though the American West of the 1830's. And, throughout Sin Killer, that is exactly what I got. However, as the series progressed, each book became a little darker, a little more serious, until finally, I read Folly and Glory, put it down, and realized that somewhere along the line this series became a true Larry McMurtry depresser. Not that it's a bad thing! Any McMurtry fan knows that there is going to be at least SOME death and violence in the novels. But wow! Was I depressed after I finished Folly and Glory! But, strangely, I was depressed in a good way, because I truly cared about these characters and their fates. Larry McMurtry has this great talent in which he can just write one paragraph, or one page, and in this paragraph or page, everything is pulled together so well that I end up reading it again and again. (See Captain Clark's reaction to Pomp's death--or even Ben Sippy's reaction to the aftermath of the battle of Skunkwater Flats in Anything for Billy, if you want to know what I mean.)
This book is a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. I am only sad that I cannot find out what happens in the rest of Tasmin's life, or Jim's, for that matter, even though I didn't like him much in this book.
This series was amazing! Read it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Travel is never as neat as one imagines it will be.", December 31, 2004
And that is how the story ends.This book is the finale of McMurtry's exciting Berrybender narratives tetralogy.I did reviews on the others;Sin Killer,Nov 30,2003;The Wandering Hill,Dec 21,2004; andSorrow's River,Dec 24,2004.

McMurtry continued this great saga,and gave us a constant stream of exciting events and always captivating characters.As with all McMurtry novels there is the element of history embellished with fiction to keep the story fresh and exciting.

I believe this saga will find its place along with what I believe to be the best ,most interesting and popular historical novel of America;namely,Gone With The Wind.Until now, there has been no equal to Mitchell's great novel;possibly McMurtry has done it.

In both of these sagas there are a host of characters and readers will have their favorites .Some will pick the main characters while others will pick some of the lesser ones.Ashley or Pittipat in GWTW and Piet Van Wely and Bess are examples who really compete with Scarlet and Rhett in GWTW as does Tasmin and Jim Snow in this story.

Again, I strongly recommend reading these books in order and one right after the other for the greatest effect.

Some of the lines I liked best were:

"There is no reasoning with grief,it wears away slowly like

the face on a coin."

"Life happens day to day."

"You can't hurry life- just got to wait it out."

"The Sin Killer was going to fall on the heathen,screaming

out the Word.His sword and his gun would then accomplish

what needed to be done."

Can't recommend it high enough.

I sure hope a Movie is in the works;it'll be a corker--can't wait!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the Berrybender Saga, June 21, 2004
Folly and Glory is the last of the four books in the excellent tale. You must start with the first book, Sin Killer. Each story leaves you craving more. In this book, what's left of the entorouge, leaves Santa Fe where they have been under house arrest, and make their way across the plains to St Louis. Birth, death, indians, desert, rages, affairs, adultry, murder,soldiers fancy balls, Tasamin has twins, Jim Snow lets loose the fury of the word on enemeys. This series is a must read, you cannot put it down.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the entire series, February 10, 2005
By 
Brenda Bates "ladyfingers" (Mesquite, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ok, first of all, let me say I've never read Lonesome Dove, but plan on reading it soon. I absolutely loved this entire series starting with "The Sin Killer." I finished Folly and Glory last night and already miss the Berrybender family - or what was left of them by the end of this book. It was a fantastic journey and though some parts were hard to read because of the violence, it was all very entertaining. There's lots of humor and sadness all along the way. Like some other reviewers, I hope for another installment so we can find out what happens to Tasmin. I highly recommend the entire series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Conclusion, July 2, 2004
A fitting end to a great epic story. Larry McMurtry outdoes himself on the last segment of the Berrybender saga and as usual paints the West with his harsh but realistic brush. Even so, I would like to see what happenned to Tasmin and the rest of the clan but that would mean that the author would have to travel to England, a venue he is not as familiar with. However, I will not sell McMurtry short and if he is of mind, I am sure a fifth in the series could be on the shelves next year. I, for one, am hoping.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Glory and Folly, June 14, 2004
By A Customer
The final piece of the Berrybender Narratives, starts out strong, picking up where the the last three left off. McMurtry does his usual job of excellent story telling in the first half of the book, and mixes in the bizarre, quite consistent with this series.
It then seems as he decides he doesn't have the energy to keep going, and he fast forwards to the end. New characters are introduced, but never inspected; hundreds of miles are covered in a page or 2; and the book wraps up very quickly.
In my opinion this was the weakest of the series and a disappointment. Not as many laughs, and a race to the finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Berrybender series, vols 1-4. Overall rating 4.8 stars, July 23, 2007
By 
This a quick minireview of the whole Berrybender series, now complete with the fourth volume -- it's really one long novel, and an omnibus edition can't be far behind. A *very* odd bunch of English aristos visit the American west in the 1830's and have adventures. A few of them even survive <G>.

This is McMurtry in antic farce mode, but with a base level of cruelty & violence that may squick some. And don't get too attached to your favorite characters! McMurtry is as good a novelist as any now writing, and knows the history of the American west very well, indeed. And doesn't let real history get in the way of a good story <g>.

The past is a foreign country, and McMurtry's treatment of 1830's American history is strange enough to be sfnal.... Anyway, I had a great time reading the Berrybenders. Second only to _Lonesome Dove/Streets of Laredo_ among his historicals, I think, though not much like those. But very, very good.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
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Folly and Glory: A Novel (Berrybender Narratives)
Folly and Glory: A Novel (Berrybender Narratives) by Larry McMurtry (Mass Market Paperback - March 1, 2005)
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