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The Great Santini [Kindle Edition]

Pat Conroy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (294 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.54
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Book Description

The bestselling Pat Conroy novel—now available as an ebook

The moving portrait of a son’s struggle to escape the iron fist of his volatile military father

Marine Colonel Bull Meecham commands his home like a soldiers’ barracks. Cold and controlling but also loving, Bull has complicated relationships with each member of his family—in particular, his eldest son, Ben. Though he desperately seeks his father’s approval, Ben is determined to break out from the Colonel’s shadow. With guidance from teachers at his new school, he strives to find the courage to stand up to his father once and for all.
Inspired by Conroy’s own relationship with his father, The Great Santini is a captivating and unflinching portrayal of modern family life and a moving story of a son becoming a man.


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Editorial Reviews


“Robust and vivid . . . full of feeling.” —Newsday

“God preserve Pat Conroy.” —The Boston Globe

From the Publisher

"Robust and vivid... full of feeling." -- Newsday

"Stinging authenticity... a book that won't quit." -- Atlanta Journal

"A tender, raucous and often hilarious book." -- Booklist

"Conroy has captured a different slice of America in this funny, dramatic novel." -- Richmond News -leader

Product Details

  • File Size: 2594 KB
  • Print Length: 471 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (August 24, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003Y3BCRU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,353 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More autobiographical than you will know... October 8, 2004
All of Pat Conroy's books have one foot in his childhood, and none is more autobiographical than The Great Santini. Colonel Bull Meecham is a legendary Marine fighter pilot whose military successes are almost as many as his personal excesses. Lillian Meecham is a Southern gentlewoman with a love of literature. After moving from base to base each year, the Meecham's finally settle down in fictional Ravenel, SC (Beaufort in real life).

The Colonel rules his fighter squadron and his family with an iron first. While this technique is successful in motivating his pilots, it has disastrous effects on his wife and children. His cruelty (both mental and physical) is enough to crush even the strongest soul. While he chides Ben for being a sissy, he suppresses Ben's attempts to act like a man. Yet, the Colonel can do endearing things, like when he gives Ben his original flight jacket on his 18th birthday. No wonder Ben has a love-hate relationship with his old man.

At a new school, Ben quickly establishes himself as a decent scholar and a talented basketball player. Several teachers and his principal see the potential in young Ben, and give him the love and mentoring he could never get from the Colonel. They teach him the importance of standing up for what he believes and to be his own man. When one of Ben's friends is threatened, Ben defies his dad and goes to his aid. In doing so, he becomes more of a man than his father will ever be.

The Great Santini is a fabulous story, and nobody writes with as much passion and beauty as Pat Conroy. Conroy takes us through the emotional gamut from belly laughs to tears and back again.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Marine March 31, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was an excellent book. I found this book personally very interesting, because I grew up in a Marine Family also. Many of Mr. Conroys general descriptions of Marine life were dead on. For example, Mr Conroys description of Col. Meecham loading his family in the car leaving for a new duty station before the sun comes up, reminded me so much of many of the moves we made, incredible but yet so true, it made me laugh. Col Meecham was an extreme character, but many of his phrases and philosophies were familiar to me through some of the people I met growing up Marine. Not only that, his descriptions of Beaufort South Carolina, were also excellent. It put you right back there. You could almost smell the southern sea air and the swamps as you read. The book not only confronted the issues of a family trying to meet the impossibly high standards of thier Marine father, it also confronted the issue of racism in the south. There were many complicated emotional issues in the book. A lot of them do not get resolved, but it was the kind of book that makes you think for a while after you have finished it. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful reading October 5, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was Pat Conroy's first novel and I believe this is his only book written in the third person.
His writing is beautiful, and in my opinion, has grown even more so in the last 25 + years since he wrote this. I respect him because he has not flooded the market with his books like so many other best-selling authors.
This is the story of the Meecham family: Bull, the father, a Marine jet-fighter pilot who refers to himself as "the great Santini"-- as in "The great Santini has spoken"--he is the *law* in the family; Lillian, the mother, a Southern belle who tries to soften her husband's pronouncements and shield her four children from his sometimes-violent wrath; Ben, their son, who is a senior in high school and has a love/hate relationship with Bull; Mary Anne, one year younger than Ben, smart-mouthed and unattractive; and the youngest children, Matt and Karen.
I thought the characters were well-drawn and fully fleshed-out. By the end of this book, I felt that I really *knew* them well. The exploration of the father/son, father/children relationship was masterfully done.
The locale was not as important to this novel as it was in his other books, especially "Beach Music" and "The Prince of Tides". In this respect, the book could have taken place any where...whereas in the aforementioned books, the locales were almost characters in themselves.
All in all, an outstanding book, one that made me sad and happy, made me laugh and cry.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conroy's First Novel...and a Legend Begins... April 11, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a wonderful novel. Published in 1976 when Conroy was 30, The Great Santini marked the debut of a talented writer and born storyteller.

To those who are well acquainted with Conroy, this novel (like all his others) is autobiographical in content. This is the story of Lt. Col. Bull Meecham, United States Marine Corps fighter pilot and his family. Meecham runs his family like a squadron. His word is law and he is the ultimate authority. Any family who dare dissents from Bull's view will suffer his wrath. The novel is, at the core, a family story. Bull, his lovely wife Lillian and their four children, Ben the oldest, Mary Ann, Karen and young Matt. Ben feels all the pressure as the Colonel pushes his son to be the best and will not tolerate any backtalk.

The story moves along at a fine pace and the characters are fully developed whether they are the main characters or supporting ones.

It is interesting to note that it is Conroy's only novel that was written in the third person, and, unlike other first novels, it does not suffer from the standard problems that usually go with debuts.

The one thing that impresses me the most is that Conroy's Marine Corps scenes ring with absolute authority. A difficult achievment for a writer who didn't serve in the Corps. No doubt he had witnessed much Marine Corps activity when going to bases in the company of his father (Col. Don Conroy, USMC Ret. dec.).

Pick this book up if you can. It's a genuine slice of life book that both entertains and enlarges your view of the world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pat Conroy's Best!
Great read - this was my life growing up as a military brat. I've read this book several times and never get tired of it.
Published 1 day ago by M. Brewer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
I like Pat Conroys style of writing and will read anything he writes. This one had a lot more vulgarity than others.
Published 2 days ago by wilda lemon
4.0 out of 5 stars I could read Conroy forever!
Always finely crafted and entertaining... This one may be a little bit over the top with descriptions but I always enjoy Conroy!
Published 4 days ago by Marcie Gilman
5.0 out of 5 stars Too much repugnant language
Pat Conroy is an incredible writer with a beautiful command of English; however, some of the language was so repugnant that is made reading unpleasant.
Published 6 days ago by Margaret M. Stewart
3.0 out of 5 stars The Great Santini
I love Conroy's writing style and story telling but did not enjoy this story. I guess he had to purge some memories of his own father but we did not have to share them .
Published 9 days ago by Robert A. Puccinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I really enjoyed Conroy's characters and descriptive writing style. I thought it was a good as The Prince of Tides and I will definitely read some of his other works.
Published 9 days ago by Jon
3.0 out of 5 stars good
i like some of conroy's other stories better. this one is solid and the characters are written so well, that you probably know some like them.
Published 9 days ago by sdben
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful novel, if you are a Pat Conroy's fan.
Read many years ago, but wanted to refresh my memory before reading Pat Conroy's newest novel, The Death of Santini. Would definitlely recommend reading both.
Published 11 days ago by Mike Bennefield
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to recommend
As with all of Conroy's books, this was a page turner. It should be of interest to teens on up. Might be somewhat hard to plow through if one was from an abusive home, but worth... Read more
Published 12 days ago by carolyn bond
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing as is typical of Pat Conroy.
I saw Bull as such a one-dimensional bully. I hope he is no longer a stereotypical military man. Pat Conroy's characters are usually more developed and thus interesting.
Published 16 days ago by Mary Lou Jambor
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More About the Author

Pat Conroy is the author of eight previous books: The Boo, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, and The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina. Photo copyright: David G. Spielman

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