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The Son Audio CD – Audiobook, May 28, 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 1,451 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Audiobook, May 28, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: In 1859, Eli McCullough, the 13-year-old son of Texas pioneers, is captured in a brutal Comanche raid on his family's homestead. First taken as a slave along with his less intrepid brother, Eli assimilates himself into Comanche culture, learning their arts of riding, hunting, and total warfare. When the tribe succumbs to waves of disease and settlers, Eli's only option is a return to Texas, where his acquired thirsts for freedom and self-determination set a course for his family's inexorable rise through the industries of cattle and oil. The Son is Philipp Meyer's epic tale of more than 150 years of money, family, and power, told through the memories of three unforgettable narrators: Eli, now 100 and known simply as "the Colonel"; Eli's son Peter, called "the great disappointment" for his failure to meet the family’s vision of itself; and Eli's great-granddaughter Jeanne Anne, who struggles to maintain the McCullough empire in the economic frontier of modern Texas. The book is long but never dull—Meyer's gift (and obsession) for historical detail and vernacular is revelatory, and the distinct voices of his fully fleshed-and-blooded characters drive the story. And let there be blood: some readers will flinch at Meyer's blunt (and often mesmerizing) portrayal of violence in mid-19th century Texas, but it’s never gratuitous. His first novel, 2009's American Rust, drew praise for its stark and original characterization of post-industrial America, but Meyer has outdone himself with The Son, as ambitious a book as any you’ll read this year--or any year. Early reviewers call it a masterpiece, and while it's easy to dismiss so many raves as hyperbole, The Son is an extraordinary achievement. --Jon Foro --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Inside Meyer’s massive Texas saga is perhaps the best Indian captive story ever written: in 1849, 13-year-old Eli McCullough is abducted by Comanches after they’ve raped his mother and sister. Eli adapts. He learns the language and how to hunt and raid, and by age 16, he’s a fierce warrior. In the process, the reader is treated to a fascinating portrait of the Comanches, including a Melville-like cataloging of all they did with the buffalo. Eventually, young Eli returns to the white world, but after an affair with a judge’s wife worthy of Little Big Man, he’s forced into the Texas Rangers. Later still, he fights for the South and steals a fortune from the North. He returns to South Texas to found an unimaginably large ranch, which he adds to by trumping up a massacre of a distinguished Mexican family, the Garcias. No scion measures up to Eli, unless it’s Jeanne, his great-granddaughter, who ruthlessly presides over her oil and gas well into the twenty-first century. And, in a different way, Peter, Eli’s son, as softhearted as his father was ruthless, makes his mark. He alone laments the massacre of the Garcias, but he’s an indifferent rancher, and his love affair with the only surviving Garcia threatens to disembowel the McCullough empire. If you want to build a place like Texas, Meyer seems to say, only ruthlessness will suffice. In his many pages, Meyer takes time to be critical of Edna Ferber, but his tale is best compared to Giant. Lonesome Dove also come to mind, as well as the novels of Douglas C. Jones, Alan LeMay, and Benjamin Capps. --John Mort --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Philipp Meyer
There Will Be Blood
"The point is that despite all that bloodshed, here we all are, still breathing, still falling in love and having children, still living our lives." Read the Amazon interview with author Philipp Meyer on Omnivoracious.com, the Amazon Books blog.

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: HarperAu (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062280953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062280954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 5.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is nothing small about the state of Texas nor is there anything small about this epic masterpiece of a novel, which will surely catapult Philipp Meyer into the ranks of the finest American novelists.

What he has accomplished is sheer magic: he has turned the American dream on its ear and revealed it for what it really is: "soil to sand, fertile to barren, fruit to thorns." The most astounding thing is, you don't know how good it really is until you close the last page and step back and absorb what you have just experienced.

There are three key characters in this book: Colonel Eli McCullough, kidnapped by the Comanche tribe at an early age and forced to navigate the shaky ground between his life as a white settler and his life as a respected adoptee-turned-Comanche warrior...his son, Peter, the moral compass of the story who resorts to self-hatred after the massacre of his Mexican neighbors...and Peter's granddaughter Jeanne, a savvy oil woman who has profited mightily from the land.

In ways, the three represent a wholeness of the Texas story: the id, the ego, and the superego of history. Philipp Meyer weaves back and forth among their stories and each one is compelling in its own way. Eli's is sheer adrenalin, a boy-man who is only slightly bothered by the constraints of society or conscience. Jeanne is a girl-woman with a head for the family business in a time and place where women are considered secondary to men.

And Peter, ah, Peter. He is "The Son", the diarist who sees the moral shadings, who realizes that not all life is a matter of economics, that the strong should not be encouraged while the weak perish, and that we do have choices in our actions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Son" fits the definitions of both epic for its scale and great American novel for its story. It is the story of the McCullough family, from around 1836 to 2012 told primarily from the perspectives of three family members. Eli McCullough, also referred to as "The Colonel", is the son of an Irish immigrant. The story begins with him as a child, near Fredericksburg, Texas, and follows him to his 100th birthday. Peter McCullough is Eli's son. Much of his story is told during the period of World War I. Jeanne McCullough is Peter's granddaughter. Her story is told from around 1936 to 2012.

More than just the story of a single family, "The Son" is a story of Texas. We see settlement and conflict between white settlers and the Commanche and then the Mexicans. We see the establishment of Statehood and the secession of the Civil War. We see the ups and downs of cattle ranching and oil.

The narrative is structured by rotating through the three POVs (points of view) - a chapter from Eli's perspective, a chapter from Peter's perspective, a chapter from Jeanne's perspective and then back to Eli, and so on. All three characters have engaging stories to tell. Eli's is the most exciting, dealing with events such as his capture by Commanche, serving as a Texas Ranger, fighting in the Civil War, and establishing his ranch. Peter's is the most intellectually engaging and as he struggles with the ethics and morality of his family and the other white settlers with regards to their treatment of Mexican neighbors. Jeanne's story is the most emotional as she struggles with establishing her place in both the ranching and oil businesses, in times where women didn't have a place in either.

Because Eli lives to be 100, he has roles in both Peter's and Jeanne's stories.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Son is positioned as an epic multigenerational saga of Texas and the settlement of the American West that follows the rise of one family from the Comanche raids of the mid-19th century to the border wars of the early 20th century to the oil and mineral booms of the modern era.

Meyer tackles a breadth of territory in this work and while The Son has many interesting "moments," it for me was more work than pleasure to get through. As such, while The Son is not a bad book, it is not one I would recommend highly. The basic reasons for this are as follows:

...Meyer, in trying to demonstrate the extensive research he did in preparing for this book, provides much too much detail for my taste. I found that rather than help to move the story along at an acceptable pace, the overabundance of detail tends to bog down the pace of the book;
...Meyer may have "bitten off more than he could chew" in covering such a breadth of time involving so many characters, in that you need a scorecard to keep track of who's who and what's what. This heavily contributed to my feeling that the book lacked a central theme and an engrossing plot; and, finally
...Meyer's writing style, in which he constantly jumps back and forth between one time period to another and between one character to another, made for a very disjointed and convoluted read. As a result, I rarely got to feel that I knew the characters deeply enough to care a lot about what happens to them.

As a consequence of the above reasons, while I'm not sorry I read The Son, I felt that I had to work too hard to force myself to finish it.
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