Learn more Download now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Pre-order now Shop now Learn more



on 24 July 2017
I read this in 2014. It's one of the few books I've really enjoyed (along with A Brief History of Seven Killings and Swing Time). I'm a fussy experienced reader and I feel there is so much hype about now. I've bought many books on the strength of rave reviews - and regretted it. Some have been really terrible. Some books have been OK but they haven't filled me with admiration. But this was of a high quality, really well-written, shocking in places and worth ten other books in recent bestseller lists. I was slightly disappointed with a weakish ending but it didn't detract from the pleasure gained in reading the rest. What is the author doing now? I've been looking out for something new from him. Does anybody know?
4 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 28 May 2017
This is the first book I have read by this author. I found it difficult to get into the story, as chapters continuously went back & forth with different characters and centuries, making it quite annoying as I frequently had to keep looking at the family tree to see who was who!! Generally it was a story that did not flow easily for me.
I don't think I will rush to read another of his books.
4 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 9 May 2018
It's not Lonesome Dove, but it is an epic story of Texan history. Great story telling which at times, I found " unputdownable" , fortunately it was part of my holiday reading, so I devoured it in large lumps.
The action was quite brutal at times but always readable and never gratuitous. The flaw was that in telling the history from the viewpoint of 3 protagonists, the story suffered from one characters part being so much more interesting than the other two and at times my interest flagged when the story teller changed.
But all in all, a very good read.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 20 September 2017
A frustrating book in many ways as the novel is told through a series of characters moving back and forth in time - which I found ultimately unsatisfying. I think the story would have been better as a chronological sequence - even if the denouement (which was certainly not "closure") had been revealed at the start. Extremely violent, and a very enlightening description of the culture and behaviours of Native Indians. None of the cultures (American, Mexican, Native Indian) is spared and human behaviour at its very worst described in graphic detail. A good book but I think it could have been great (I'm thinking of Lonesome Dove).
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 September 2013
This saga covering five generations of the McCullough family portrays the creation of the state of Texas as an example of a central theme of history - survival of the fittest as a succession of invaders seize and exploit the land for themselves, often destroying the landscape in the process. In this case, "the dry rocky place it is today" was once a green land of deep black soil, trees, tall grass, "even the steepest hillsides overrun with wildflowers".

The viewpoint switches on a three chapter cycle: Colonel Eli McCullough, tough and vengeful, even psychopathic, made acquisitive by harsh experience, who survives capture by the Comanche Indians as a teenager to become head of a major cattle and oil dynasty; his granddaughter Jeanne Anne, a "chip off the old block" who carries on his work; his son Peter, sensitive and introspective, so dismissed as weak, his whole life blighted by the guilt of the family's casual massacre of an old Mexican family, rivals for land. Ironically Ulises Garcia, a descendant of both families, may prove a worthier inheritor of the Colonel's wealth than his pampered great-great-grandchildren who have lost their fighting spirit. Running three main threads in parallel may confuse the reader, and for me it detracted from the dramatic tension of some key events, but it helps to remind one continually of the connections between the characters, the causes and effects of their actions.

Although at times it may seem little more than a swashbuckling western or prequel to a Dallas-type soap, this is raised above the average by the depth of Meyer's research. Too often, chunks of this are planted in the middle of the drama, but some passages are fascinating, such as the detailed description of how Indians made ingenious use of every part of a buffalo, leaving only the heart within the rib-cage to show the gods they were not greedy, or the chilling account of exactly how a teenage white boy turned native would set about preserving his first scalp.

The well-knotted ending enhanced my opinion of the story after some lengthy periods of frustration in which I wished Meyer had worked a little harder on his dialogue and character development - inevitably thin at times with so many players, and that he had been more ruthless in leaving out some minor scenes to leave more space for "showing" rather than the "telling" which is often too dominant. These shortcomings, such as the corny Hollywood-style of communication adopted by Eli's Comanche companions around 1850, place this book closer to airport blockbuster than literary fiction. I'm sure it will sell very well, it is impressive but not in the same league as Cormac McCarthy with his mindblowing prose.

This will inspire many to revisit the history of the development of the west, but in the meantime a glossary of e.g. Mexican terms used and of some historical characters mentioned would have been useful.
3 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 2 August 2017
Great book. I watched the hopeless TV series but became intrigued. Yes, the scriptwriters have, once again, sanitised the original script into a more readily digestible TV format. Changed everything around and altered the key events, also redefined many of the characters, etc. If I was the author Philip Meyer I would be very angry. However, the book is far more entertaining and makes much more sense. Especially the story involving the life of young McCullough growing up with the Comanche Indians'.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 6 July 2016
A vivid, engaging and gritty story told over many generations. The chopping and changing between characters every chapter may frustrate some but I thought it worked well. There are 3 main protagonists. Part of the story is an unromantic hardnosed version of how the west was one. Homesteaders and cowboys are not portrayed as romantic heroes but as opportunists who basically arrived and drove the Mexicans out, the Mexicans in turn had violently thrown out the Native Indians, there's little room for sentimentality, land is seized down the barrel of a gun.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 16 May 2017
Bought it due to the series. Compelling but you feel the ending should be better. The series is a touch better but well the book is good reading but let's you down at the end .
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 29 August 2014
Heard about this book thanks to Radio 2's Simon Mayo Show monthly Book Club Slot - sounded very interested even at that, had great reviews. Coupla months passed, decided to go to Texas on holiday myself, so thought it an idea to pick this up then on Kindle. WOW!!!! Honestly, SUPERB!!!! (Very) Basically, a gripping tale of the story of Texas, through the experiences (hardcore stuff some of them - underplaying this here folks) of three generations of the same family - from late 1890's, early 1900's to the present day - each told in an alternate differing style (narrative/diary/tale), BUT each as compelling as the last/next. Whizzed through it, but still stays with me in sheer power months later - FANTASTIC writing, and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Good Job Mr Meyer - will read your other works. THANKS.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 21 May 2016
A great book following a family in the American frontier over a century. It focuses on three main characters and while all three stories are excellent ,the lead one is about a young boy captured by the Comanches and brought up as one of their own. The way it describes how the Indians survive on the plain , how they hunt , how their family structures work and how they view the coming of the White Man is absolutely fascinating.
One of the best books i have ever read.
|0Comment|Report abuse