Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Philipp Meyer

By Lynn Willoughby

The Son ~ Philipp Meyer

This book was a recommendation and is a good read if you like historical fiction. It deals with three generations of the McCullough family with chapters alternating so that each of the story tellers speaks in the first person. It begins in Texas in the 1800s when the Comanches are raiding and kidnapping, and Eli McCullough is taken and raised as the son of the chief.
Like today, when children go missing, it is very difficult for Eli to ever assimilate back into white society. In fact, I am not sure he ever does.
His son, Pete  is in charge of the Texas ranch during the early 1900s. Although the ranch owns two hundred sections and thousands of head of cattle, Pete would rather read than manage the vaqueros or mend fences.
Finally, there is Jeannie McCullough who is the family matriarch when oil becomes the only game in town for Texas.
There is a lot of history here including war – against the Indians, the Civil War, the war against Mexico, WWII and the war against the middle east, so you can see the scope of time covered. It is graphic – when the author is describing an Indian raid or scenic rides through beautiful countryside. And it is heart breaking when Meyer describes how ambition and power lead to the sacrifice of family, love, children and honour.
One particularly interesting part, for me, was the war between America and Mexico for the land we now call Texas. Arturo Garcia is living on his family land which had been granted to his family directly from the kind of Spain. The family had beaten back the Anglos. “Though Texas had briefly been open to the Anglos, the borders had been closed since 1830, and yet they continued to illegally sneak into the state and take advantage of the free land, free services, loose laws.” (kind of ironic in today’s world!!)
And as Eli says, …”the Austins and Houstons were all content to remain citizens of Mexico so long as they could keep their land.”
Are you interested in reading this yet??

Who Knew?

Texas was annexed and became a state on December 29, 1845. Native Americans’ ancestors had been there for more than 10,000 years. During the period from 1519-1848 all or parts of Texas were claimed by five countries: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the United States of America.

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