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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting but Devastating Tale of Pride and Family
'The Son' is the second book by Philipp Meyer. It follows the equally compelling American Rust which was released in 2010 here in the UK.

Whilst his first book deals with the Urban Decay of post-industrial America, 'The Son' take a much more grandiose approach to the Texan plains. As soon as you see the mocked up family tree at the start you get a feel for what...
Published 12 months ago by Adam Finn

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and harrowing, but...........
I enjoyed “American Rust” very much and looked forward to Philipp Meyer’s follow-up.

“The Son” is an ambitious novel and must have involved a great deal of meticulous historical research. It is, I suppose, a western saga – I can’t think of a more suitable term. The action is centred in Texas and covers a more or less...
Published 4 months ago by Bluecashmere.


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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting but Devastating Tale of Pride and Family, 22 July 2013
By 
Adam Finn (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Son (Kindle Edition)
'The Son' is the second book by Philipp Meyer. It follows the equally compelling American Rust which was released in 2010 here in the UK.

Whilst his first book deals with the Urban Decay of post-industrial America, 'The Son' take a much more grandiose approach to the Texan plains. As soon as you see the mocked up family tree at the start you get a feel for what you are in for (which I have posted in the pictures at the top of this product page - I felt it useful to refer to, so i printed this out to stop me looking back on the Kindle).

'The Son' follows the McCulloughs across culture, time and space. Whilst it may be seen as a historical novel this book mostly excels as an anthropological masterclass.

There is a concern at the beginning that you are in for a real history lesson and I did find myself often 'googling' certain terms as I am not that well versed in American history or the South-Western geographical nuances. However eventually I was relieved to see that this detail tends to ease as the book progresses and gives way to character enhancement and plot.

There is no mercy in these plains. The book is gripping, enthralling and heart-breaking at times. Often it becomes so encapsulating that you become intensely immersed in the stunning barren scenery. By the end I felt so familiar with Commanche culture that, once this epic unfortunately came to an end, my tube rides in to work felt just as alien as the first few chapters of this novel!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough! A truly rewarding read.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AT LAST, 31 July 2013
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Son (Kindle Edition)
At last a possible successor to the great Texan author Larry McMurtry. Yes this epic story, up there with Lonesome Dove, spanning 170 years in the lives of the McCullough clan as they kill, cheat and steal their way to the top of Texan wealth is that good.
Back about 1850 young Eli McCullough witnesses the rape, defilement and slaughter of his mother, sister and brother at the hands of the Comanche people before being taken as their slave. He survives and learns their ways and skills becoming a respected member of the tribe. He grows to love his new "parents" and fellow braves. After some disastrous raids and hard winters with food and ammunition almost gone he agrees to be sold back to the whites thus allowing his particular band of the Comanche nation to survive for a little longer. Still only sixteen he finds it hard to settle into "civilized" life and becomes a problem to those who try to help him. The answer for him is The Texas Rangers where the survival rate is about 50% for each tour of duty. By a stroke of good fortune he comes into substantial funds and sets about making a name for himself and of course an even greater fortune.
We follow Eli and his descendants to the present time against the background of Texan history covering the Indian, Civil and Mexican wars, the rise and fall of the cattle empires and the emergence of the biggest money maker of all: the oil industry.
Intermingled with real events and characters from American history and painstakingly researched this is a remarkable and totally believable work. Although over 800 pages long, it is a page turner with literally never a dull moment.
I have read Mr. Meyer's previous work American Rust and enjoyed it [see my review], but this goes way beyond that in scale, entertainment and pure enjoyment. "The Son" epitomizes reading for pleasure.
Why this does not feature in the best selling charts, I do not know for that is where it belongs. I keenly await Philipp Meyer's next novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and harrowing, but..........., 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Son (Hardcover)
I enjoyed “American Rust” very much and looked forward to Philipp Meyer’s follow-up.

“The Son” is an ambitious novel and must have involved a great deal of meticulous historical research. It is, I suppose, a western saga – I can’t think of a more suitable term. The action is centred in Texas and covers a more or less two hundred year period focused on the history of The McCullough family. Meyer presents his story through a trio of narrators: Eli, aka Tiehteti, as he becomes adopted by the Comanches, Peter via his diaries and Jeanne Anne, who goes under the shortened form of Jeannie. It is through these three very different personalities that Meyer traces the McCullough dynasty’s fortunes from virtual share croppers to oil barons.

The novel is no less than a history of Texas, and in many respects of America - from the Civil War, the shifting status of the Texas/Mexico border, the power and subsequent decline of the indigenous Indian population, to the discovery and exploitation of oil and the enormous wealth thereby generated. Beneath the larger political events, but strongly linked to them are the personal lives and fortunes of the three principals in particular, but a number of other important and sharply defined characters. And almost a character in itself is the climate: the scorching heat and droughts that made cattle droving the inevitable preferred option over crops.

The novel begins with a savage act of violence and violence is never far from the surface of the narrative. The scenes that dwell on the niceties of Comanche torture are stomach-churning, all the more for the matter of fact tone of Eli’s account – an ambiguous witness to mind-numbing atrocities. However, violence is by no means the prerogative of the tribes. Nor is it always simply physical.

There is much to admire in this weighty novel, yet somehow at the same time I found it curiously unsatisfying in some ways. It deserves I believe to be judged by the best in the field, and for me that means the likes of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” and his Border Trilogy and Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove”, three of the great contributions to the American novel, let alone the western novel and the Texas connection. There seems to me to be something “heavy” here (the weight of research?) and the characters and events never quite lift off into that exhilerating mythic quality that sets McCarthy and McMurtry apart. It will be interesting to discover in which direction Meyer goes next.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And the Rest of the Family!, 9 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Son (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book and intend to read more Philipp Meyers. Using the device of family history it sweeps though a fair chunk of American history (most of the 1800s and 1900s) taking into account the Indians (a many and varied people) and the rest (also a many and varied people) but all anchored to the experience of one family, the McCulloughs. Eli has first hand experience as a child of family massacre by Indians and then goes on to live with the tribe and earn a respected place in their lives. Later in his very long life he rejoins his own 'kind' and the lives of his descendants are woven into the story.
There are 72 chapters! The chapters are narrated by different members of the family so that they all have chance to give their point of view about events and other people. In this way, Meyer gives great depth to the story.
I am very fond of books about the histories of America and have also enjoyed Cormack McCarthy's books (e.g. The Border Trilogy) and Larry McMurtry's (e.g. Lonesome Dove) to name two of very different styles. I would say that Meyer's style falls somewhere between the uncompromising poetry of McCarthy and the jolly good yarn of McMurtry, though I should not like to have to pinpoint its exact position! Meyer has, I think, more interest in plotting than McCarthy (whose stories are often lists of episodes, like Odysseys, connected only by the central character). Meyer reveals how characters and events affect one another, back and forth. Meyer, like McMurtry, is happy to take on female characters.
It is quite an undertaking to tackle 72 chapters and I would recommend it to many of my friends - maybe, but not exclusively, the men. Worth it though in my view.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 16 Jun 2014
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One of the best books I have ever read. Moving, sweeping account. Learnt so much and will remain in the memory for a long time to come. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old west yarn, 3 Jun 2014
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Interesting form. The stories intertwined. A new look at the fables of the West. A good,disturbing western. Worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best!!, 2 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Son (Hardcover)
As one other commentator has already stated, this is not the type of book I normally read. By that I mean about the US or 'Cowboys and Indians'. However, it has blown me away. I am almost at the end of it, and am dreading it; what do I read then? How to follow this glorious piece of writing? It has amazed me how over time, I came to love each of the characters/stories in turn. Eli's horrific experience as a child gripped me; Jeannie's story encapsulated many feelings women experience throughout our lives; Peter's story is equally as gripping as Eli's but is a 'slow burner'. I pray he finds some peace at the end of the book. This book tells the story of what and how America became IMO, the frightening 'thing' it is today. I want to write 'super-power' but that does not describe it as it really is. It is a country founded on murder, mayhem, theft, greed and lies; this story explains it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New, 2 Jun 2014
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Gidders (Warrington, England) - See all my reviews
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Interesting new author to me, so would definitely look into reading his other material, this had enough material for another book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fact and Fiction add an exciting view to the growth of America, 24 May 2014
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An allegory which reveals so much of how modern day society still steals without thought for the consequences. This book makes you stop and think. One to read and re-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true American epic, 18 May 2014
This review is from: The Son (Hardcover)
This is the tale of three generations of one family in Texas, starting in the 1800s. It's a huge, sweeping epic of a novel, taking in Native Americans, the settling of the West, race relations, feminism, the oil rush, money and capitalism, love, lust, bravery, cowardice, companionship, the brutality of humanity, identity, family, loyalty and who deserves it, the battle for power, sex, horses, coming of age, and forgiveness (and the lack of it) to name just a few. The writing is spare and elegant, and the whole book is a feat of sweeping history. It's one of those books that'll be described as a Great American Novel which is wholly deserved. Well worth the time investment.
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The Son
The Son by Philipp Meyer (Hardcover - 27 Feb 2014)
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