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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Minor wear visible on outside spine. Bumped corners/edges with minor splitting at corners. Paper cover has rubbing, minor creases, dings and dents. Obvious shelf-wear, and an apparently used appearance. Tight binding. Bright, clean pages.
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Raintree County (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"An achievement of art and purpose, a cosmically brooding book full of significance and beauty."  —The New York Times

"[A] candidate for that mythical honor, the Great American Novel, Raintree County displays unflagging industry [and] a . . . magnificent vitality."  —Saturday Review

“No myth is more imposing than the Great American Novel; but if it is truly unattainable, I believe that Ross Lockridge made closer approach than any other writer has, before or since.”  —Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"My favorite novel of all time is Raintree County. It's about American journalism, patriotism, and a star-crossed love affair a hundred years ago. Like the Bible, you can pick it up, read any page, and gain something. It's poetry. Forget the movie, if you saw it, the book is something entirely different."  —Edna Buchanan, author, You Only Die Twice and Cold Case Squad

“The powerful currents and depth of this great swollen river of a book remain irresistible. Raintree County doesn't have to be the great American novel to be an American classic and a classic expression of the American dream; a time and place in our history are made permanent in this book."  —Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

"Just how good is Raintree County? . . . Looking back at it, one is struck by the strength of its prose and the life of its characters. The Civil War section alone, well over 200 pages and the heart of the book, justifies the extravagant Great American Novel claims some critics have made for it. . . . Had Ross Lockridge, Jr. lived, he might well have changed the direction of American writing—for that, and nothing less, was his intention."  —Bruce Cook, Chicago Tribune

"A work that should rank with Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel as a landmark in American fiction."  —Philadelphia Inquirer

"[An] extraordinary work . . . I have reread Raintree County at least once a year. It is a book that I, at least, have grown into, still grow into."  —Detroit News

About the Author

Ross Lockridge, Jr., was born in 1914 in Bloomington, Indiana. Lockridge committed suicide at the age of 33 in his hometown, two months after his only novel was published to great critical and popular acclaim. Herman Wouk is the bestselling author of The Caine MutinyDon't Stop the Carnival, War and Rememberance, and The Winds of War.

Product Details

  • Series: Rediscovered Classics
  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I had heard as a child about Ross Lockridge and his great novel "Raintree County." My great-grandmother, Bessie Shirk, was a local historian, writer and poetess in New Castle, Indiana. New Castle is in Henry County, or as Ross Lockridge named it, Raintree County.
Ross Lockridge spoke with Bessie often to gather historical data for his book as it pertained to the county. So when I finally picked up the book to read it when I was around 20, it was with some trepidation, from the standpoint that I was hoping it would measure up to everything I had heard. It did.
It's been called "the great American novel", "the great flawed American novel", "a masterpiece", "sweeping and epic", and so on. It is all those things.
From a technical standpoint, the book is too long. It could lose 200-300 pages and still be as good as it is. However, does one really want to lose any of Lockridge's language, discriptions, and evocation? Not I.
Much has been written about the book. But I really think you have to go to Raintree County and feel what it's like to be there. Stand up on a ridge looking over the Blue River valley on a summer evening just after the sun's gone down. There is a magical mysticism that radiates out of the land with a positive energy. What Lockridge did was to capture that energy in his book.
This isn't a must read for everyone, although I agree with some of the reviewers that it should be taught in schools, but only for advanced Lit classes. What Lockridge does--while brilliantly describing the historical period of pre- and post-Civil War America--is show us that human nature and behavior are constant throughout time.
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Format: Hardcover
Raintree County is the anatomy of a fall from Paradise-with all the Edenic metaphors placed in a fictional county in Indiana-and the process by which it is regained. The structure and scope of the book are extraordinary, a system of telling and suspension that turns one day into a hundred years, all hinged upon the American Civil War (and the allegorical death of the principal character). Like another great contemporary American novel, All The King's Men, Raintree County was built upon the wreckage of a failed epic prose poem. Also, like Robert Penn Warren's glittering classic, Ross Lockridge's best-selling masterpiece deals with a gifted primary character caught up in the vortex of human history (though Penn Warren was more interested in the problem of power than he was in the cataloging of the life of Huey Long).

Raintree County should be a standard of 20th Century American literature. It is perhaps the greatest novel ever written. I'm mystified as to why it doesn't make Random House's Top 100 Novels List. I think in all honesty that Raintree County is too straightforward, too compassionate, too wise, too loving, too optimistic, too gently humorous, and too accessible to please the moldy and myopic listmakers. Really "great" books, as everyone knows, are dry game puzzles, smug literary fogs, brutal crayon travelogues, or ancient misanthropic sphinxes that museum directors and tenured professors of the academies alike can dust off occasionally without fear of ever having to update their pamphlets.

The texture style and meter of this work is astoundingly lyrical yet clear. To wit: "The world is still full of divinity and strangeness, Mr. Shawnessy said. The scientist stops, where all men do, at the doors of birth and death.
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Format: Paperback
Raintree County is sweeping in scope, almost 1100 pages long, and yet it pulls the reader through it with prose so compelling that one would have to be struck dead to lay the book down unread.
Lockridge tells the story of John Wickliff Shawnessy, a child of his age, growing up in ante-bellum Indiana. Told in a series of flashbacks, the novel opens on the Fourth of July 1892, when Shawnessy is 53. The holiday's focus is Shawnessy's reunion with old pals Cash Carney, U.S. Senator Garwood Jones, and Professor Jerusalem W. Stiles.
As Lockridge takes the reader through the events of this day, Shawnessy's friends arrive and depart, each evoking for him memories of his early years. Through this prism the reader is immersed in images of pre-Civil War rural America, the upheaval of the conflict, America's 1876 Centennial celebration, and the excesses of the Gilded Age. Shawnessy passes through it all, "life's young American", a scholar, a romantic, a poet, and an athlete.
Lockridge's imagery and descriptive power are truly matched to an author seeking to sculpt the Great American Novel. His evocative use of language is almost unsurpassed among modern American writers - only Thomas Wolfe approaches him. His characters are powerful and will stay with you always, lingering almost palpably like the memories of earliest childhood.
Curiously, only Nell Gaither, Shawnessy's lifelong flame, fails to march from the pages along with the other denizens of Raintree County, Indiana. Suzanna Drake, Nell's rival for Shawnessy, is a beautiful, brazen, and tormented child of the South. Garwood B. Jones, future U.S. Senator, is Shawnessy's boyhood foil, a garrulous and wickedly charming rake.
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