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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stone cold classic, 7 Jan 2001
By 
derek.si@virgin.net (Eastbourne, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Woe to Live on (Paperback)
It's hard to overstate just how impressive this book is. It's take on the American Civil War takes place far from the set piece battles of Gettysburgh and Antietam, in the farms and hamlets of Missouri and Kansas. There the war takes a very different shape; a low intensity, murderous cycle of ambush and reprisal carried out by neighbour against neighbour and family against family. A kind of 19th century Bosnia.
The protagonists of Woodrell's book are a group of confederate bushwhackers, barely out of their teens but hunted down by Union militias in a deadly guerilla war acted out among the the backwoods and ruined homesteads they once called home. While never shirking from the shocking violence and pillage wrecked by these youthful marauders, Woodrell still harbours a deep seated empathy for his young gunmen, whose patriotic notions of southern honour and gallantry are cruelly and rapidly disabused. Some lose themselves in homicidal hatred of the Yankees, others seek oblivion in rivers of rotgut whiskey, while the narrator Jake Roedell clings on for dear life to the loyalties of friendship in a world where all other certainty is ripped asunder.
Given the seriousness of the subject matter, you may be forgiven for thinking that this might be a depressing, if not downright harrowing read. However that would be to underestimate Woodrell's whiplash writing skills. Part dread morality tale, part breathless adventure, this book is stunningly well written. Not content with simply setting his book in the civil war era, it's distinctive first person narritive is also a stylistic homage to the writing of that period carrying all the energy, bravado and earthiness of the litreature that flowered in America at that time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommendable!, 22 Jan 2005
By 
H. O'Sullivan (Co. Kerry, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ride with the Devil (Paperback)
I'm not really into reading westerns and bought the book after having seen the film which I loved. The first page plunges the reader right into the midst of action and I found it hard to put the book down until I reached the end which was much too soon and leaves this reader dearly wanting to know what will become of the main characters. The language the novel is written in is refreshing and oh so suitable to the tale Wodrell has to tell. One can literally hear the characters speak and the expressions and grammar used, the dialogue being crisp and natural, make this book a true joy to read. This is one to take off the shelf again and again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly, highly recommended, 5 Aug 2002
This review is from: Woe to Live on (Paperback)
This book is a landmark in literature. The writing is so concise yet conveys so much. Woodrell has to be one of the best novelists around. His command and use of the English language is both unique yet completely accessible. Despite writing on a subject which can often be difficult, as a reader, to plough through, Woodrell supplies a fantastic story which never falls short of the mark & I could barely put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 13 Mar 2013
By 
Maureen A. Jeffs "lyrical lady" (Gt. Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woe to Live on (Paperback)
Daniel Woodrell is a brilliant writer, one of the best. If you haven't read one of his books do try one
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just plain brilliant, 16 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Woe to Live on (Paperback)
I was very impressed with this book; I was familiar with the story (filmed recently as Ride with the Devil)but this book is just superb. The language used is very evocative. The story revolves around Jake Roedel, a 17 yr old member of a band of southern 'bushwhacker' guerillas. The book is unflinching in its depiction of the harsh, murderous nature of the war and the brutalising effect it has on the participants.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a writer!, 4 Nov 2013
By 
David Toresen (Milton Keynes, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woe to Live on (Paperback)
One of my favourite authors. Woodrell has a wonderful way with both dialogue, and descriptive writing.
Not a "jolly" read, but an engrossing one. It completely changed my romantic view of U.S.history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best writers in the world, 23 Feb 2013
By 
Maureen A. Jeffs "lyrical lady" (Gt. Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Woe to Live on (Paperback)
Great swift service which I would definitely use again.
Daniel Woodrell is a wonderful writer who perfectly captures and brings to life people and places. I cannot recommend him, or these suppliers, highly enough.
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Woe to Live on
Woe to Live on by Daniel Woodrell (Paperback - 26 Sep 1994)
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