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The Searchers Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2000

43 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425134814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425134818
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,726,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Paul McGrath on October 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is yet another in the long line of great tales about the American west. Like the best of them, it is historically accurate, richly detailed, and intensely readable.

The tale begins, as so many of them do, with a violent encounter between the savage Comanche Indians and an outnumbered plains family in West Texas. The entire family is killed, except for the youngest daughter, who is kidnapped. The plot has to do with the two men who decide they are going to get her back. One, the brother of the murdered man, is motivated by a white-hot hatred for these Comanches, and the other, the family's 17 year-old stepchild, is motivated by his love for his ten-year old captured sister. It is a journey which takes them them through the trackless wastes of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, and lasts for six years.

Like so many great novels, the beauty of this one is in the small things. Mart, for example, the stepchild, continues his relentless search because of a memory he has of the child. On the day she was lost, she came to him and asked him to help her with a calendar she was trying to create. He gruffly shooed her away. This memory torments him and compels him to continue his quest. The brother-in-law, Amos, we learn, also had a long-standing and unspoken love for his brother's wife. So this quest, this almost unendurable quest, is begun on the most simple, honest, human terms.

The novel is also about the women who populated this wilderness. For most it is a life of daily drudgery, but rewarded with the realization that they have truly created something out of nothing. Life for a young woman, with a young woman's desires and needs, is painted artistically as well.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By klp on May 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Much has been said about the movie "The Searchers" by John Ford, and more recently "The Missing" staring Tommy Lee Jones, but few seem to recall that both movies are based on the novel by Alan LeMay, which paints a truly mesmerizing portrait of Texas frontier life and is full of fascinating facts along with what I would call shared history- anecdotal episodes to which innumerable descendants of these frontier families can personally relate. This nearly forgotten gem should become a cherished member of everyone's bookshelf who reveres the original movie starring John Wayne and Natalie Wood, though it already brings up to a thousand dollars and more among the lst edition collectors subculture. For those who hated the movie, LeMays' novel provides a much more even-handed account of the White/Indian conflict of that period. For instance Chief Scar, far from the stereotypical embodiment of savage evil, is in the novel an innovative general who consistently outwits his White conterparts, and his eventual demise provides a uniquely ironic insight into the Nataive American tragedy. Ford's movie, with all its power and grandeur, deals at times in buffoonery and caricature (most notably the episode with Pauly's Indian wife), and also departs significantly- no doubt due to the exigencies of John Wayne's star power- from the book's ending. Indeed, the novel's bittersweet ending in and of itself serves as a fitting metaphor of the frontier experience. LeMay's novel truly captures the vastness and loneliness of the Texas plains as well as the often bitter price paid by those with the incredible courage to settle there. Whether you like western novels or not, The Searchers is a must read and remains, in my opinion, one of the greatest novels of the American experience.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on December 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
These people had a kind of courage that may be the finest gift of man: the courage of those who simply keep on, and on, doing the next thing ... -Alan Le May (on the Texicans)
It's muy chic in these days of political correctness to bemoan our ancestors' horrible misguided behavior in regards to the American Indians. In Leftist hindsight, the Indians have been converted into pastoral New Age environmentalists, facing off against a militaristic, technological behemoth. The novel The Searchers, basis for the great John Ford/John Wayne movie (The Searchers--1956), offers a necessary antidote to such fuzzy headed platitudinous twaddle.
The story begins in 1868 Texas; neglected by the military during the Civil War and now subject to the naive Quaker administration of Indian affairs, white settlements are being rolled back by persistent murderous Comanche raids. Living at the very edge of civilization are Henry and Martha Edwards and their children, Lucy, Debbie, Ben and Hunter. The couple are assisted by the young man , Martin Pauley, who they virtually adopted when Comanches slaughtered his family, and by Henry's brother Amos, a quiet, taciturn man who seems to be irresistibly drawn back to the ranch time and again. But then one day Marty and Amos are lured away from the ranch when a Comanche party steals a herd of cattle. They pursue them for quite a distance before realizing that they have been tricked. By the time they arrive back at the Edwards ranch, it is in ruins, the parents and the boys are dead and scalped and the girls are missing. As every movie viewer knows, what ensues is a years long quest by Martin and Amos (Ethan in the movie) as they search for the girls.
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