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This Stubborn Soil: A Frontier Boyhood Hardcover – October, 1986


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Pr; Reprint edition (October 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941130193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941130196
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Published 20 years ago and long out of print, this memoir is classic Americana that deserves renewed attention. It is a story of poverty and a family's struggle to stay together; of a youth's efforts to get an education. Pin Hook, in rural East Texas, was home to the Owens famiy. It was an isolated, unproductive farming community where everybody was dirt-poor and many were illiterate; where schooling took a back seat to working in the fields, and travel was by horse and wagon. The author came of age in the first quarter of this century, in a family of women who had lost most of their men; his only male relatives were brothers, an uncle and a cousin. This is a timeless portrait of growing up in America warm, funny, sadand when young William passes his college entrance examination, the reader is as elated as he is. (October
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The New Yorker

The author's prose, like his people, is plain, sturdy, and admirable. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
11
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1
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See all 12 customer reviews
This book will stay with me forever.
P. Smith
For one, I loved the vivid evocation of Morris's childhood world; I couldn't help but be reminded of my grandmothers' similar tales.
Oddsfish
If you are interested in Texas history and like to read chronicles or are a serious student of great writers, this is a must!
Deaconess

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I believe William A. Owens is all too often overlooked as one of Americas greatest authors and this book just proves my point. It is a great piece of work and an inspiration to all that read it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1996
Format: Hardcover
I first read This Stubborn Soil 8 years ago and I can still
recall images conjured up by this books beautiful writing.
I consider this book to be a classic. It is written in a
simple, straight forward manner which fits the story
perfectly. The characters are vivid and you can almost
feel the dust blowing and the rain drenching you. The
hardships endured by Mr. Owens family and the story
of his success are truly inspirational. I recommend this
book to anyone who wants to feel real emotions being
brought out by a piece of literature. When I read it I cried
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By WILLIAM H FULLER on January 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
THIS STUBBORN SOIL is a history book. No, one will not find the annals of nations set down here, nor even accounts of great wars or of vast economic movements. In these pages lie the images of poverty, illiteracy, sickness, premature death, fear, and bigotry that characterized the life of early 20th-century families enduring the ravages of both flood and drought in rough wood shacks with mud-and-straw chimneys and in poor, sandy fields where they tried to eke out an existence with a little livestock and with what few crops they could grow.

These were families for whom school was not nearly as important as having an extra hand in the field with a hoe or a cotton sack, families whose entertainment consisted of singing around an organ or a piano, the presence of which stood in stark contrast to the rest of the house, which never saw an electric light or a telephone wire. These were families that watched over their sick and watched them die either because there was no money to pay a doctor to come or because the nearest doctor was self-taught through mail-order books.

This is also the story of one boy who grew up in such an environment, who quit school many times because the choice came down to feeding the mind or feeding the body, who very nearly succumbed to the lure of wandering or of "riding the rods" as a hobo, and who was taught early on to denigrate Blacks and to hold Catholics in suspicion. In religion, he was exposed to holy rollers and tent revivals and pulpit-pounding evangelists. In school, when he went, he had teachers who had themselves barely finished an elementary education or, at the most, high school.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My one line summary says it all. I am sure I was there. I anticipate each chapter anxiously waiting to see what funny, tragic desperate event is next and admiring the author for the practical and inventive mechanisms he has in place to keep his education going. I would like to know more about him in his later life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Smith on January 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Absolutely amazing - the story and the writing. This book will stay with me forever. My copy is becoming old and tattered - I lend it to everyone I can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Bazzett on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is, quite simply, a wonderful and plainly told story of a hardscrabble childhood and youth in east Texas and a glimpse of a bygone era. It's too bad we couldn't make it required reading for today's youth. William A. Owens was a credit to his generation. Loved this book, and will read his next memoir, A Season of Weathering, soon. - Tim Bazzett, author of the Reed City Boy trilogy
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