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Rebel Powers Paperback – August 23, 1994

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this flawlessly composed novel from the author of Violence , a Virginia bookstore owner recounts the dissolution of his family in the late 1960s.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The 1960s were a turbulent time in our history, and that turbulence, effectively captured in Bausch's sixth novel (after Mr. Field's Daughter , LJ 5/15/89), reflects the emotional chaos in the lives of his characters. Thomas Boudreaux, a divorced man in his early forties, seems to live a quiet, contented life as a bookstore owner in the coastal village of Asquahawk, Virginia. Yet he is haunted by the desire to understand the events that occurred in 1967, when, as a 17-year-old boy, his parents' marriage unraveled. Thomas uses a journal to help him piece together that humiliating and painful time, when his father, a career Air Force man and former POW, was caught stealing a government-issue typewriter and found guilty of writing bad checks. His mother, Connie, attempts to keep the family together by moving to Wyoming, where Thomas's father is imprisoned. Her decision, however, only magnifies the emotional suffering of each family member. Bausch's lyrical writing style makes for captivating reading.
- Marlene McCormack Lee, Drain Branch Lib., Roseburg, Ore.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 23, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679752536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679752530
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,675,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This sensitive story about an adolescent's surprising, unfolding discovery of his father's motivation in a semmingly sordid past will leave the patient reader with one of the last quarter century's more moving-insight experiences. Clearly written, observant, fully believable, a must for Americans interested in truth..
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Format: Hardcover
It was not the best of times but it was very nearly the worst of times. It was 1968: the year of assasinations, urban riots, and the war in Vietnam. It was also a presidential election year. Lyndon Johnson, partially because of the deep divisions in the country had decided to pull out of his race for reelection. Robert Kennedy, along with Senator Eugene McCarthy before him, had entered the Democratic Party primaries to compete for the Democratic party nomination. Robert Kennedy had just been shot to death after having won the California Democratic Party primary.

These incidents form the backdrop of this wonderful and sensitively written character study of a family about to be torn asunder. Daniel Boudreaux, the head of this family, was about to be released from Wilson Creek Prison where he was incarcerated for theft of a typewriter. Daniel was a highly decorated Air Force sergeant who had previously served time as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam conflict. Connie, Daniel's wife and mother of their two children, Thomas and Lisa, has been having recurring thoughts of leaving Daniel. Author Richard Bausch designs an accurate portrayal of comparing the chaotic situations of 1968 America with the crisis within this family.

Thomas, 17 years old when the novel starts, keeps a diary of the relationships within this family. Thomas's love-hate relationship with 9 year old sister, Lisa, appears to be right on target. He is both very protective of her while their sibling rivalry is also quite apparent. I felt very badly for Daniel, who endeavors to adjust to life on the outside, but fails miserably. Most interesting is Connie's relationship with Penny, a young woman that the family meets on their train trip to Wyoming.
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Format: Paperback
Richard Bausch's REBEL POWERS is novel that builds slowly but surely with a tense family dynamic which seizes you early on and will keep you reading late into the night. Or at least that was how it affected me. The Boudreauxs are an Air Force family who fall on hard times, father Daniel, a decorated 20-year veteran who returned from an ordeal as a POW in Vietnam deeply changed. Feeling his wife's affections slipping away, he makes some bad decisions, writes some bad checks, and ends up with a dishonorable discharge and is sent off to hard labor in a federal prison in remote north east Wyoming. And no, these are not spoilers. You learn all this very early in the book. The story is set in the late sixties against the backdrop of war protests, riots and the RFK and MLK assassinations. Daniel's family follow him all the way across the country from Virginia to settle in a boarding house in Wilson's Creek, Wyoming, and await his release. On the train they meet the mysterious and beautiful Penny, who will figure deeply into the further dissolution this unlucky family. Seventeen year-old Thomas falls under the spell of this young woman, who is flawed both physically and psychically. The plot thickens and quickens at a pace that is nothing less than perfect. Thomas, who is the narrator of the tale, telling it decades later, is forced to grow up quickly, making for a most unique coming-of-age story.

This is a hell of a good book. It brought to mind another more recent novel about a military family in the Vietnam era, Tim Farrington's wonderful Lizzie's War: A Novel (Plus). But Bausch's book is its own kind of animal.
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