The Son

Meyer, Philipp

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Son
Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, this is a novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Spring, 1849. Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men, which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is. But when disease, starvation, and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe, Eli finds himself alone. Neither white nor Indian, civilized nor fully wild, he must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong, a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny. Comanche Indian captive Eli McCullough must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong--a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.

Publisher: New York, New York :, Ecco Press, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2013]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 0062120395
Branch Call Number: FICTION MEYER 2013
Characteristics: viii, 561 pages :,genealogical table ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

An epic of the American West and a multigenerational saga of power, blood, land, and oil that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family, from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the to the oil booms of the 20th century. NPR pick.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Mar 16, 2015
  • axeman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. Big family saga type story. You don't have to be a reader of westerns to enjoy this book. Good historical fiction.

May 26, 2014
  • tavkaa rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This epic Western was really good. it was difficult in the beginning, I kept referring to the lineage chart at the front of the book, and then realized that one of the characters went by another name in the book. Near the end, i just read one characters chapters at a time because the chapters are designed to tell the story from three different characters at different times in history. It confirmed my suspicions about how land was acquired. As I finished it, I realized it was a love story, each character was in love with something, but only one found true love.

Jan 15, 2014
  • JCLGreggW rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Philipp Meyer's THE SON quickly proves why it was on so many best of 2013 lists. A post-modern multi-generational saga, the novel spans multiple generations of the McCullough family, including the patriarch Eli, the first child born in the state after admittance, who was kidnapped as a young teen, his family slaughtered, and spent several years as a member of the Comanche tribe. He later returns, joins the Texas Rangers and then the Confederate Army, where he makes his fortune and begins the McCullough dynasty. If Eli's story is the driving force of the novel, his son, Peter, is the heart: we learn through letters that Peter is the character who accepts the burden of the ruthless way his father mastered the land, and pays for the sins the family accumulates along with its riches. we also meet Peter's granddaughter Jeannie, who has much in common with Eli but is made to feel out of place running an oil company among several other business interests in the Texas boy's club. Breathtaking, lyrical, brutal, and raw, Philipp Meyer writes an American story for the ages, with enough to please almost everyone.

Also, if you're a fan of audiobooks, check out the audio version, as the reading is profoundly excellent.

Dec 14, 2013

This system needs to link all formats to all comments for a complete review. Will Patton is the reader of excellence.

Nov 24, 2013
  • jazpur rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Texas.The giant state.Land. Cattle. Oil.Comanches. Mexicans.How the West was won and at what cost all round. I found the McCullough/Garcia saga told by the various family members down the generations but in no chronological order, fascinating.Excellently written, totally amoral and horrific in parts, beautiful in others.A memorable read but not for the faint-hearted.

Nov 24, 2013

Fascinating and hard to put down for a couple hundred pages - but then the jump cutting among generations starts to feel like a failure of organization. I could be wrong. I have yet to figure out how the Son became the Colonel.

Aug 17, 2013
  • Trevin123 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Interesting book but very slow. Found it got better near the end. It's not a book I would normally read, but it had a lot of great reviews. Would be a good read for those interested in history and westerns.

Aug 15, 2013
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This excellent book starts in 1836 in Texas when the west was the new frontier. It covers the stories of Eli McCulloughs, his son Peter and his great grandaughter Jeanne in alternating chapters.It is the struggle of the blood, sweat and tears (and there was plenty of all 3) that went into settling the state of Texas. The hostility between the Commanche and the Whites, the injustices done to the Mexicans and the development of the oil industry are all key factors in this story. Be warned it is a little brutal in places but don't let that stop you from picking up this l book. It will be one of my favourites this year.

Aug 15, 2013

I have not read a Western since Owen Wister's The Virginian and I do not enjoy violence. Even so, this book has made a real impression on me, and I want to reread it. I think it may be the great American novel.

Jul 19, 2013
  • bookster1 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

I do not understand why this book has gotten rave reviews! I read Lonesome Dove years ago and loved it. This was a badly done imitation, with Dallas and The Big Valley tossed into the mix. There was no reason to care about the characters or to worry about what would happen to them. This is from someone who worried about the pigs on the cattle drive in Lonesome Dove.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at MCL