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Lawless: A Novel Based on a True Story Paperback – September 11, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Matt Bondurant calls this a work of fiction based on fact from his family's legend - thereby giving the reader a glimpse into the Bondurant family tree. The time frame are the years just before prohibition has been extinguished, and the moonshine business is in full swing in Franklin County with the Bondurant brothers thick in it.Read more ›
Although the material that Bondurant has to work with reflects a fascinating period in America's history, I found his presentation of it somewhat dry (no pun intended!) and often confusing. He chooses to use a straightforward prose style that minimizes punctuation; for example, quotation marks are eliminated altogether and commas nearly so. This style can be intrusive even in the best writers' hands (Cormac McCarthy comes to mind). There is, after all, good reason why punctuation was standardized to begin with: Remember your primary teachers telling you that it is meant to help the reader? It's true, for this reader at least.
Also, the novel jumps around in time, from 1918 to 1934 to 1928 to 1929 and again to 1934, back to 1919 then to 1930, and so on. To a limited extent, this approach helps pique the reader's interest, as when, for instance, we meet two of the Bondurants' competitors in the hospital, appallingly mutilated, while in the reader's mind the Bondurants are still just simple farming folk. Because the timeframe moves so frequently and randomly, though, the reader finds himself often disoriented and struggling to piece together the story.Read more ›
They had carved a nice living as moonshiners in Franklin County, Virginia, but that is not even half of the story. Each played a role in the criminal success story due to very unique personalities; Jack was always angling to strike it rich through a big score, Howard was a haunted veteran of World War I who enjoyed drinking the hard stuff as much as marketing it and Forrest was a tough as they came - he had a deep neck scar to prove it - once walking nearly 12 miles in the snow to receive medical assistance for a slit throat.
But when the trio refuses to pay "security" money to police, it leads to an even more wild ride in the turf wars where only the strongest could survive to fight another day, where the battles during the waning years of the Great Depression included shootings, knifings, beatings, shakedowns and brutal types of revenge that were fates worse than death for men.
Author Matt Bondurant chronicles these turbulent times of his grandfather and two granduncles in this novel that is based on the true story of their lives and the ripping apart of the veil that covered the lawlessness through a 1935 conspiracy trial which took down many players, but found journalist Sherwood Anderson chasing the shadows of the brothers to get to the heart of the story while attempting to break the county code of silence found within this vicious game.
Through dialogue and gripping scenes that are not for the faint of heart, Matt Bondurant brings to life an era where big city gangsters may have captured the national headlines, but these rural areas packed a gangland cruelty that was especially brutal. And that Matt Bondurant is talking about family makes this story even more compelling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought the movie for my wife & we both enjoyed it, bought the book for all the information that they couldn't put in the movie. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brian Dowell
A tad confusing when the author switched narrators, but nothing that I would complain about. Superb writing.Published 4 months ago by Frida Doppelganger
I love historical fiction. Matt Bondurant takes a family legend and fleshes it out, weaving fascinating characters such as Maggie, the waitress, the Bondurant brothers, and corrupt... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Morris E. Graham
I loved this book. Fantastic story told by a relative. I read it in one night because I couldn't put it down.Published 5 months ago by Richard D. New
Great read. Easy to pick back up and not feel lost if you must put it down for awhile. An excellent look into the world of prohibition era VA.Published 5 months ago by David Craun
An interesting historic slice of life, written with a mesmerizing and compelling style.Published 5 months ago by Julie DeStefano