Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Great Santini: A Novel Paperback – March 26, 2002
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.”—Houston Chronicle
“Robust and vivid . . . full of feeling.”—Newsday
“Tender, raucous, often hilarious.”—Booklist
“A fine, funny, brawling book.”—The National Observer
“Stinging authenticity . . . a book that won’t quit.”—The Atlanta Journal
“[Pat] Conroy has captured a different slice of America in this funny, dramatic novel.”—Richmond News-Leader
“Conroy takes aim at our darkest emotions, lets the arrow fly and hits the bull’s-eye almost every time.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I'd hate to just say, "You can see where 'The Lords of Discipline' came from" because this novel is too good to just be summed up as forever standing in the shadow of Conroy's most famous book. That is true, however. This isn't, I feel, quite so good a book as "The Lords of Discipline", but it's darned close. It is a simple matter for me to understand how, four years after "The Great Santini", a book whose very name is legend followed. Such novels as that don't happen overnight. It took time for Conroy to get to that point. Perhaps the best way I could sum up how Conroy writes in this book, the overall flow and feel of it, would be to liken it and Conroy's next book to a batch of cookies. Sure, this one is maybe a little burnt here, maybe a little burnt there. But it's a real good cookie nonetheless. A cookie that happens to be sitting in the middle of an on-and-off bar fight.
Anyway, the book's namesake is the boisterous, charismatic and flawed LTC "Bull" Meecham, head of a household not run, but commanded, by the self-proclaimed greatest fighter pilot of all time. A warrior without a war, Meecham runs his family as he runs his Marine fighter squadron, demanding much of his children, his wife, and his pilots.
He is, by the end of the book, easy to love and hate at the same time. The Meecham children certainly take such an attitude towards Bull, wanting him to be their father while he insists on spending more of his time being their commander.
Ben Meecham, who, like Will McLean, is no doubt a character based to a fair degree on Conroy himself, is the main character of the book, and his relationship with Bull, mostly bad but sometimes good, is the center of much of the book since, in addition to being the main character, Ben is also the oldest. Like some of Conroy's other books, this one has basketball featured prominently. Ben Meecham has a great love for that game, as surely does Conroy.
Anyone who's grown up in a military family will surely identify with the way of life that the Meechams live. Their lives have been dominated from the very beginning by their father's career, and as often as not this leaves them with little love for the Corps to which Bull is so fully dedicated.
I don't want to to into telling the entire plot, but the book, and its namesake, go a long way through its 440 pages. When you meet Bull Meecham, after crashing a Navy captain's dinner, he is cheerfully running turtles over on the highway at night as his family moves yet again. When he leaves us, and his family, you will likely still hate him, but you'll miss him, too. Bull is both deeply caring and horribly cruel, a magnificent man and a glaringly flawed one.
This particular edition of "The Great Santini" is 440 pages long, paperback, published in December 1987 by Bantam Books. I particularly like this version of it, since the artwork and cover text is much the same as one edition of "The Lords of Discipline". The illustrations make little sense before you read the book. By the time you have finished, you'll know what all of them mean. Never fails, and it's a characteristic I've found unique to Conroy novels. So many others have illustrations, sure, but no other author has managed to find cover art quite like this. It tells a story, all by itself.
This is not a story that covers over the impact of evil or even ignorant behavior of any character with religious platitudes. Instead we perceive all too clearly the pain caused when deep-felt love is seriously wounded by those very people we love and whom we expect to love us.
I do think it told part of the story of our culture..
I read this book because i recently encounterd a family where threats of dad on son violence were commonly expressed in mixed company. I didn't get it. But, I guess that is a parenting style that is out there. Makes for a complicated relationship. Good book developing that aspect.
Most recent customer reviews
Love the referances to growing up Catholic.