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The Kentucky Cycle (Drama, Plume) Paperback – June 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Drama, Plume
  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1St Edition edition (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452269679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452269675
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,835,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Using two family histories, The Kentucky Cycle charts the tragic sequence of events that show the American heritage of greed and violence. Good impulses in individuals are overrun by bad ones, until the earth itself is destroyed. Success is always corrupted by selfishness--the craving for power and wealth. Indians, Irish immigrants and black slaves contend with these cravings, and are ultimately overpowered by more powerful earlier settlers of the U.S. It's a heart-breaking and realistic set of plays, reminiscent of How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewelwyn, who wrote of Welsh coal miners.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Lipman on May 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Kentucky Cycle" is simply put, a blaze of theatrical energy. Mr. Schenkkan has written a masterful piece of descriptive literature that leads the reader on a journey where each protagonist is forced into devastating behavior and choices, only so they could ultimately survive. And survive they do, and ultimately live lives filled with ambition, loss, love, and ultimately, redemption.
Indeed following the lives of two warring clans, as well as the battle for land taken from its rightful owners, The Kentucky Cycle weaves cross-cultural lore in and out of its words, beautifully and sometimes painfully mingling the beliefs and truths of differing societies. Easily of the most haunting of moments is the segment which introduces to the reader the character of Morning Star, captured early on in this story. She is a free-spirited Native American woman, essentially taken hostage by one of the Rowen men, maybe looking for a wife, or maybe just a conquest. But her ploy and her grace are so beautifully drawn out in her dealings with her new husband and later on with her only surviving child. I say "her only surviving child" due to the fact that her husband only desired male children, and made good on the threat that he would kill any daughters born to him. This girl child does ultimately survive, as the triumphant ending of this masterpiece attests to, but the crushing blow to Star's spirit when her daughter is initially taken from her is easily one of the most wrenching portions of the entire work.
As an actress, I would dearly love to be involved in a production of this play. As an audience, I would be equally mesmerized. For the earlier reasons, it has some of the most evocative, stunning audition material I have ever read. As an audience member, the spectacle of The Kentucky Cycle leaves me absolutely speechless.
I highly recommend this piece, both as a stunning read as well as ideas for future productions of same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mogulmeister on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've seen a production of this play, and the only word to describe it is "masterpiece"--and an extraordinary one at that. In my opinion, this is *THE* great American play. The Kentucky Cycle is an incredibly ambitious play that doesn't reveal its cards too quickly. Stay with it and be patient, and the payoff will be immense. I think some of the other reviewers here have missed the whole point of the play--while this is nominally about Kentucky, it's ambitions are far bigger, and Kentucky is nothing but a metaphor for America. This is an "alternative" telling of the story of the United States' domestic history, and it's a brutal story without the heroics and glorious themes that popular history teaches us. There is a lot of truth that Schenkkan explores and puts forward that gets whitewashed over in the conventional historical narrative. We overlook this truth not because it's not true, but rather because it's uncomfortable. This is provoking, challenging, and very powerful stuff. Anyone who crosses the path of this play and does not read it (or even better, see it) is cheating themselves out of a great, transcendent experience. If Robert Schenkkan ever sees this--thank you for creating something so magnificent. The Kentucky Cycle deserves every last bit of praise it has received--and then some.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joelle R. Lennard on April 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
and continued to fall out more and more with each read proceeding. The script was virtually worthless after the first 12 hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Student Guy on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
This play is wonderfully beautiful (not to mention action-packed, bloody, and thrilling). There are so many symbols repeatedly used throughout and a ton of different cycles represented in abstract and literal ways. It's a stunning look at American history. Also, the music 'beat' punctuation of this play is quite interesting. The intricacy and connectivity between the different parts are really surprising and astounding.

My favorite part is the ending. A total explosion.

I have never read anything like this play before. I really want to see it in person.
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