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The Conquest of Canaan Paperback – July 30, 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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About the Author

Booth Tarkington is the author of Magnificent Ambersons. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Boomer Books (July 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434100502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434100504
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,737,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The Conquest of Canaan", originally published in Harper's Magazine between June and December of 1905 is yet another story set in a small town in Indiana, and it bears many similarities to his first novel, "The Gentleman from Indiana", and "The Two Vanrevels". In all cases, the hero is an exceptional person who takes on the less scrupulous people. In his first novel, everyone in the town of Platville respected the hero John Harkness, and his enemies were the White Caps (a thinly veiled parody of the Klan). In "The Two Vanrevels", the hero is John Vanrevel, who is once again respected by almost the entire town, but his significant enemy is the rich and powerful Mr. Carewe. In this novel, the hero, Joe Louden is the hero of the misfortunate, but spurned by the "respectable" members of the town of Canaan, led by Judge Pike. To this hero, Tarkington adds his heroine, Ariel Tabor, who similarly is not regarded as a good person by the important members of the town.

In both cases, the characters have to leave town and then return to gain their respectability. Joe does this by putting himself through law school, though when he returns he is still looked down upon, and as he usually represents the lower classes and destitute, his reputation does not immediately improve. Ariel goes to Europe with her father after inheriting money, and when she returns she has gained respect by dressing and speaking correctly. In addition, she wins over Joe, who always overlooked Ariel in their childhood, instead he was in love with his neighbor Mamie Pike, the daughter of the judge. As with the others in the town, Joe is entranced by the returning Ariel, and he realizes his mistake when he was younger.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from 1905. Booth Tarkington does a great job of setting up Joe Loudon as an outcast in the small town of Canaan, Indiana. The town culture is dominated by Judge Pike. Booth has a giant crush on the judge's daughter Mamie while his childhood friend Ariel Tabor watches. During a night at a party at the Pike's where Joe is not invited, he sneaks under the front porch and looks up through the cracks to get a glimpse of Mamie. His discovery and beating launch his escape from Canaan. He returns after seven years (think I recall that # correctly) as a lawyer who sets up shop in Canaan. Joe's clients are the down-and-out poor people who hang out at Beaver Beach, a notorious hotbed of sin and corruption. His friend Ariel's father was a poor painter. However, he came into a substantial sum of money upon the death of a relative and Ariel leaves for Paris, France with her father soon after Joe's departure. After his return, Ariel shows up in Cannan, transformed from the awkward girl whose unstylish clothes didn't quite fit into a beautiful young woman replete with the latest Paris fashions. Joe's step-brother Eugene marries Mamie, which sends Joe on a drinking binge. Despairing and hung over, he encounters the new Ariel, who he at first does not recognize. She has always loved Joe and continues to do so. There is a murder at Beaver Beach with Happy Fear and his wife Claudine in a love triangle. Joe sets to defend Happy, despite the local paper owned by Judge Pike setting the town against him. Events spiral toward a great conclusion where the good guys win and the bad guys get their just deserts. The book held my interest and kept me wanting to read another chapter to see what would happen next. Dust off a copy if you can find one. The book is a great treat. Enjoy!
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By A Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A tale about a social pariah, Joe Louden, who as a young man is maligned and much talked about in the small midwestern town of Canaan. Leader of the talkers is Judge Pike, the richest and most powerful man in the city. Joe, even though he is poor, turns to reading books and studying law in his spare time. He eventually leaves town and gets himself through law school. He begins to practice law and only handles the scoundrels of the town because Pike and the rest of the town scolds anyone who should use his services. With the help of a woman, he wins the respect of Canaan and is able to usurp Pike's power.
I thought this book was fairly dry. There were some interesting parts, but overall, I found it hard to get into. I suspect, Tarkington's early works were not as polished and his older ones.
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