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Bless the Beasts and Children

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Enriched with detailed notes and commentary, Glendon Swarthout’s classic tale of adolescent "misfits" at a boy’s camp on a mission to save themselves. The neglected attendees of the Box Canyon Boys Camp find their lives turned around by Cotton, who, in a hot-wired pickup, challenges them to join efforts to save a herd of buffalo and rediscover themselves in the process. Tur Enriched with detailed notes and commentary, Glendon Swarthout’s classic tale of adolescent "misfits" at a boy’s camp on a mission to save themselves. The neglected attendees of the Box Canyon Boys Camp find their lives turned around by Cotton, who, in a hot-wired pickup, challenges them to join efforts to save a herd of buffalo and rediscover themselves in the process. Turned into a motion picture by director Stanley Kramer in 1972 with a well-known music soundtrack (theme for The Young and the Restless soap opera on CBS) and the Carpenters' Oscar nominated theme song.


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Enriched with detailed notes and commentary, Glendon Swarthout’s classic tale of adolescent "misfits" at a boy’s camp on a mission to save themselves. The neglected attendees of the Box Canyon Boys Camp find their lives turned around by Cotton, who, in a hot-wired pickup, challenges them to join efforts to save a herd of buffalo and rediscover themselves in the process. Tur Enriched with detailed notes and commentary, Glendon Swarthout’s classic tale of adolescent "misfits" at a boy’s camp on a mission to save themselves. The neglected attendees of the Box Canyon Boys Camp find their lives turned around by Cotton, who, in a hot-wired pickup, challenges them to join efforts to save a herd of buffalo and rediscover themselves in the process. Turned into a motion picture by director Stanley Kramer in 1972 with a well-known music soundtrack (theme for The Young and the Restless soap opera on CBS) and the Carpenters' Oscar nominated theme song.

30 review for Bless the Beasts and Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    There is some gay-ish stuff that happens in this book, and it made everyone in my seventh grade class giggle about it. The copy I was given to read from the school had a penis drawn on the page where the gay stuff happens, and then some more penises on the inside covers. I don't remember much else about the book, except that I hated reading it but yet somehow survived yet another painful experience of literature in the hands of teachers without any desire to ever read again sapped from me. There is some gay-ish stuff that happens in this book, and it made everyone in my seventh grade class giggle about it. The copy I was given to read from the school had a penis drawn on the page where the gay stuff happens, and then some more penises on the inside covers. I don't remember much else about the book, except that I hated reading it but yet somehow survived yet another painful experience of literature in the hands of teachers without any desire to ever read again sapped from me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Gatling

    My daughter recently shared with me a news story about a troop of baboons where all the alpha males died, and the non-alpha males had to take over. The result was that the baboons were all nicer to each other, and everyone was happier. Box Canyon boys camp is sort of like a school for alpha males. Boys are trained to be strong, aggressive, physically competent. But what would happen if the losers got a chance to show their stuff? In most cases, probably nothing, as they have a tendency to fall a My daughter recently shared with me a news story about a troop of baboons where all the alpha males died, and the non-alpha males had to take over. The result was that the baboons were all nicer to each other, and everyone was happier. Box Canyon boys camp is sort of like a school for alpha males. Boys are trained to be strong, aggressive, physically competent. But what would happen if the losers got a chance to show their stuff? In most cases, probably nothing, as they have a tendency to fall apart under pressure. But in this story they have a leader named Cotton who encourages them to stick together, break the rules, follow their heart. The boys steal a truck and sneak off in the dead of night to set free the buffalo who are going to be slaughtered in the morning. Of course they succeed. At a price. Watching the boys rise to the challenge was a pleasure, if a somewhat predictable one. A surprising pleasure was the author's occasional flights of lyricism. His descriptions of the land, and of the buffalo huffing and stomping and taking hay from the boys' hands, sparkle with a glory-of-Eden beauty. I was moved by this description of Cotton trying to move a stuck truck: "He was seized. He had fine frenzies. His motor control stuck, he scattershot his aggression at gods too indifferent to defeat, and his refusal to face the hard facts of night and day and weak and strong and life and death and gravity bordered on the psychotic. He was redheaded." Mr Swarthout writes about all his losers like he really cares about them. Because he does. And because he does, we can, too, although they aren't really all that easy to love. The baboon analogy may not be all that apt because, although these boys are at the bottom of the pecking order, they are not a kinder, gentler breed. They are mostly self-absorbed in their respective neuroses (for example, clinging to a pillow, and sleeping underneath the bed), and lash out at each other as often as at their actual oppressors (for example, killing the cabin-mates' pet animals). They irritate. But in the end, because they have known rejection, they find in themselves compassion for the buffalo, and under Cotton's leadership they find the strength to do something about it. One of the greatest things about this book is that Mr Swarthout, with the power of his pen, was able to accomplish permanently what the boys set out to do. His story awoke a public outcry about the shooting of the captive buffalo, and the practice was discontinued.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vishy

    Years back I was collecting classics, especially the lesser known ones, and that is how I discovered 'Bless the Beasts and Children' by Glendon Swarthout. I have wanted to read it for a long time, but somehow never got around to it. Recently, when one of my friends got the French translation of the book by the publisher Gallmeister, I was quite excited, because I didn't know anyone else who had this book or who had read it, and I was surprised that there was a new French translation. We talked a Years back I was collecting classics, especially the lesser known ones, and that is how I discovered 'Bless the Beasts and Children' by Glendon Swarthout. I have wanted to read it for a long time, but somehow never got around to it. Recently, when one of my friends got the French translation of the book by the publisher Gallmeister, I was quite excited, because I didn't know anyone else who had this book or who had read it, and I was surprised that there was a new French translation. We talked about this book and decided to do a readalong. Six boys ranging in age from twelve to sixteen, are there is a summer camp. They are here, because some of their parents feel that they are problematic children and they feel that this camp will help them. In the case of others, the parents have problems themselves and want their children out of their way. In the camp, children align naturally together as groups, and these six boys are left out because they are misfits. They get together as a group, but they struggle in most of the activities in the camp, coming last in most competitions. One day when their counsellor takes them out forward a drive, these six boys see something. And that experience leaves a profound impact in their heart. And they decide to do something about it. And what happens next is amazing. They take up an impossible project and we start cheering for them. Whether they succeed or not, you'll know in the last page of the book. I loved 'Bless the Beasts and Children'. The first half was a bit slow-paced as we get to know about the six main characters, and how they are struggling at camp, and we learn their backstories. We also wonder why they are doing something strange, and we want to know what is happening. When the surprise is revealed halfway through the book, the story kicks to another gear and the pages start flying. I loved all the six characters, especially, John Cotton, who is like their leader, and William Lally, the youngest member of the group who is twelve years old (or Lally 2, as he is called, because his elder brother, who is also part of the six, is Lally 1). The ending of the story is magnificent, gives goosebumps, but is also heartbreaking. What about the 'beasts' in the title? Yes, of course, there are beasts in the story. Each of them is six feet tall, nine feet long and weighs more than 2000 pounds. One description in the book goes like this : "...and suddenly, with a rumble and roar, something the size of a dinosaur came at them and a hot breath slapped their faces and they tumbled backward..." So what exactly are these beasts? What do they have to do with the story? What is the relationship between them and our six characters? Why are our six getting into trouble and trying to poke the bear, or rather poke the beast here? Well, I can't tell you more. It will take away the pleasure of the book, if you decide to read it. One thing I'll say is this. This book depicts how big things, magnificent things can be achieved even by people who are regarded as misfits, if they keep at it and defy their detractors and fight against obstacles. The second thing I'll say is this. This book also depicts the vast amount of harm humans have done to wildlife and the environment. It is hard to believe that as a group, humans are capable of so much cruelty, and it is harder to believe that normal people are part of this. It makes us think and it makes us sad. I will leave you with some of my favourite lines from the book. "In that place the wind prevailed. There was always sound. The throat of the canyon was hoarse with wind. It heaved through pines and passed and was collected by the cliffs. There was a phenomenon of pines in such a place. When wind died in a box canyon and in its wake the air was still and taut, the trees were not. The passing trembled in them, and a sough of loss. They grieved. They seemed to mourn a memory of wind." "It was that last, impotent hour between darkness and dawn, when men buy truth and sell illusions." Have you read 'Bless the Beasts and Children'? What do you think about it?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Why haven't I ever read this book before? I had heard of it, but didn't realize that it was such a good and thought provoking book. This probably is a book that should be read by more of us. The story centers around a group of emotionally disturbed boys away at a summer camp in the 1960s near Prescott, Arizona, where it is promised that if you "send us a boy - we'll send you a cowboy." Now take that statement along with these quirky and emotionally damaged boys whose wealthy parents have dumped t Why haven't I ever read this book before? I had heard of it, but didn't realize that it was such a good and thought provoking book. This probably is a book that should be read by more of us. The story centers around a group of emotionally disturbed boys away at a summer camp in the 1960s near Prescott, Arizona, where it is promised that if you "send us a boy - we'll send you a cowboy." Now take that statement along with these quirky and emotionally damaged boys whose wealthy parents have dumped them at this camp and you can see that there is a story to tell. Now, add in a buffalo hunt where the hunters are presented the buffalo right up close and personal within a very easy shot, and the story gets even more thought provoking. The book speaks on many social issues of the time, as it was written during the Vietnam War. One that struck me was the author's writing about the buffalo killings that were actually happening. The 1960s were the beginning of the environmental and animal rights movements and his story created an outcry. The fact that the boys were so distraught over the killing of the buffalo tied into the struggle in their own lives. As you read this book you will see the transformation of these boys during their mission.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wing

    Like many teachers, I have taught "Bless the Beasts" to full classes, mostly sophomores. Now I recommend it to individual juniors and seniors. It is a complicated plot for a young reader with individual flashbacks of each character. Consequently, Swarthout's text moves in and out of time and place and serves to analyze the psychological problems that surface in fearful and loving expressions. The audio my be the answer to accessing this style by teen readers, but then they would not be reading, Like many teachers, I have taught "Bless the Beasts" to full classes, mostly sophomores. Now I recommend it to individual juniors and seniors. It is a complicated plot for a young reader with individual flashbacks of each character. Consequently, Swarthout's text moves in and out of time and place and serves to analyze the psychological problems that surface in fearful and loving expressions. The audio my be the answer to accessing this style by teen readers, but then they would not be reading, would they? Possibly a read with the tape, but even then the time involved might be too long. I hope that the compelling story of a group of "rejects" at a cowboy camp unifying to rescue condemned bison is heroic enough to keep any reader captivated. How much I use audio this year will depend on response by students. Last year, a foreign exchange student combined her American Lit readings with audio, and I am sure a few of her classmates followed suit. Whatever works.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liam Kincaid

    I've read this book many times over the years, and all the rest of Glendon Swarthout's works. I recommend them heartily. The writing is excellent, the characters are alive, and the stories are poignant. But beware, because Swarthout's works will make your heart hurt, make your soul bleed. It's painful, but it's the good kind of painful. I've read this book many times over the years, and all the rest of Glendon Swarthout's works. I recommend them heartily. The writing is excellent, the characters are alive, and the stories are poignant. But beware, because Swarthout's works will make your heart hurt, make your soul bleed. It's painful, but it's the good kind of painful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Miles Swarthout

    Bless the Beasts & Children became far and away Glendon Swarthout's biggest bestseller, never out-of-print from the day it was published in 1970, and one of the first animal rights stories ever written. The novel was a selection of the Literary Guild, the Doubleday Book Club, as well as a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. It has been published in foreign languages all over the world, even in Romania, 25 years later! Beasts has sold over 3 million paperbacks in the United States alone, and this lat Bless the Beasts & Children became far and away Glendon Swarthout's biggest bestseller, never out-of-print from the day it was published in 1970, and one of the first animal rights stories ever written. The novel was a selection of the Literary Guild, the Doubleday Book Club, as well as a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. It has been published in foreign languages all over the world, even in Romania, 25 years later! Beasts has sold over 3 million paperbacks in the United States alone, and this latest Pocket Books 25th anniversary edition with a special Introduction by Miles Swarthout (me), continues to be used in high school and college literature classes across the country. The novel was nominated by Doubleday as its Pulitzer Prize candidate in Fiction in 1970. The film version by Stanley Kramer in 1972 was not nearly as successful, but did contain some famous film theme music and can still be seen on television reruns. Based upon his only son's adventures in high school and as a summer camper and counselor at a private boys' ranch camp in Prescott, Arizona, Bless the Beasts & Children tells a tragicomic tale of a group of disturbed teenaged boys from over-privileged families who are "warehoused" by the inattentive parents at a summer session at an Arizona boys camp in hopes that their lazy, urban kids will be toughened-up in this camp's rigorous cowboy program. While on a field trip with the militaristic counselor, Wheaties, the boys seen an annual buffalo "hunt" sponsored by the Arizona Fish and Game, in which their counselor has drawn a permit. Sickened by the slaughter of these great beasts while trapped in big pens by these "sportsmen," the youths resolve to save the next day's allotment. Riding from their camp that night on their horses, the boys steal a pickup truck in Prescott and head on up to Flagstaff on their mission-of-mercy. Complications arise, but these problem boys band together and manage to free these national symbols, but only after strenuous effort and at great cost. Glendon Swarthout's more positive response To William Golding's famous novel, Lord of the Flies, and Golding's thesis that all men are basically beastial, stands as one of the first contemporary bestsellers to take up the cause of animal rights. It remains to this day one of the few controversial novels which ever resulted in some political change and social good -- The Arizona legislature mandated changing the regulation of their annual buffalo hunt to more humane practices due to the student and animal rights activists protests resulting from this film and novel. Glendon's theme that even a group of misfit youths, if banded together in common cause, were capable of a great, heroic deed, still resonates strongly with American teenagers and their teachers, and this classic novel is still mandatory reading in many English literature classes across the country today. More information about the writing Swarthouts and descriptions of all their adult novels and YA novellas, plus movie trailers of the 9 films made from their stories as well as screenplays (original and adaptations), are posted on their literary website -- www.glendonswarthout.com Its Book Reviews were sensational -- "Bless the Beasts & Children is alternately hilarious and scalding, pathetic and poignant. But it is never maudlin; its heroes' buffoonery never overshadows the cruelty that has shaped their lives. They, like the buffalo they set out to free, come face to face with their own freedom. But the price, the price...." Jim Hampton, the National Observer "This is Mr. Swarthout's best novel since They Came To Cordura, an exciting mission-pursuit story with an engrossing cast of characters." Publisher's Weekly "Swarthout's thematic concerns--the American Dream, the subduing of a continent and its inhabitants, sacrifice and brotherly love--are integral to the narrative. 'Powerful' is a tired word to use on a novel, but how else is there to describe a book that leaves you limp? The best I could do after staring at the last page for several minutes was a respectful 'wow'." Catherine Petroski, the Austin, Texas Statesman "It's a novel that no reader, once hooked, can put down. It is both tragically sad and funny, both nostalgic and frighteningly contemporary. And it tells us something about our times that too many are trying to overlook. You shouldn't miss this one." Nard Jones, Seattle-Post Intelligencer "Well-written, almost poetically sparse, author Swarthout's 9th book adds to his prestige the acclaim that he handles the characters of runaway kids every bit as easily as he maneuvered rebellious soldiers in They Came To Cordura. the Los Angeles Times Calendar "Glendon Swarthout's latest work is a superb example of the kind of novel that evolves when a writer's craft is equal to the grandeur of his theme. Bless the Beasts & Children is a compassionate book, a true book, a book of the heart; it is also a compelling drama that grabs you with a grip that can't be pried loose...With this novel, Glendon Swarthout has added something fine and important to the literature of our age." Novelist Brian Garfield, the Saturday Review of Literature "Bless the Beasts & Children is a beautiful novel. It is tightly written, with a singleness of purpose that sets up a tension relived only when the final page is finished. Even then the boys, their motivation, and the culmination of their actions will long remain with the reader--to haunt him and to remind him how traumatic reaching for adulthood really is." Shirley Sievers, South Bend, Indiana Tribune "This is one of the rare books whose impact will far exceed its size. A brief synopsis of the plot cannot prepare the reader for the emotional involvement he will encounter...Truly an excellent novel." Nancy Chalfant, Sunday News & Leader, Springfield, Missouri "Make no mistake--this book, despite its placid surface story, is really a tale of horror and cruelty, of honor and compassion, of savagery and serenity. In short, it is a brilliant statement of the human condition...a book which uses litotes--the sort of understatement which only a gifted novelist can use effectively-- to tell us things about ourselves which we may not wish to know." Edwin McDowell, the Arizona Republic "The initial pages of Bless the Beasts & Children are as dramatic and absorbing as anything this reviewer has read in a long, long time and the intensity of mood is sustained and heightened throughout the novel. Like all good fiction Bless the Beasts can be read on more than one level. It is at a minimum, a rattling good action story, which is quite an accomplishment for a novel which has for its main characters six adolescent boys at a summer camp. On a deeper level it is a record of the triumph of the human spirit over the vulgarity, sham, and cruelty of our time." Elliott R. Horton Morgantown West Virginia Dominion Post "The completion of their mission is heroic in the grand Swarthout manner--and also in his manner, the ending leaves a king-size lump in the reader's throat over the irony that bludgeons idealistic innocence." Pat Hanna, Rocky Mountain News, Denver "Mr. Swarthout has written a parable of our time which on another level is a splendid and very funny adventure story. He says that in spite of all, the human spirit will prevail...Bless the Beasts & Children is a sort of Lord of the Flies with hope. It will make your day a little better and you won't soon forget it." L.T. Hammond, Jr., Asheboro, North Carolina Courier Tribune "Swarthout's tale is so funny, and heartbreaking, that the ugly vulgarity of our times which has thrown these beasts and children together is almost forgotten. The passage from adolescence to maturity has been a favorite theme for such writers as Salinger, Conroy, James Kirkwood, and William Bradford. But none of them has written of it with such warmth and joy and understanding. You will not soon forget the Bedwetters or the magnificent beasts--the buffalo--which share their adventure." Robert Armstrong, Minneapolis Tribune "Bless the Beasts & Children might have been self-conscious. Instead it is a wonderful book in which a provocative subject is handled with wit and compassion." Thelma Altshuler, Miami Herald "A powerful, absorbing, tenderly written novel, a knowing comment on today's world, Bless the Beasts & Children is an unforgettable experience." Louise Rogers, Greenville, Mississippi Delta Democrat-Times "Glendon Swarthout has written a strangely moving little story of six boys who set out on a mission of violence to avenge what they felt was unbearable cruelty....The author interrupts the swift and violent record of the boys' deeds to insert vignettes of their lives. The result is strangely compelling." Fannie Butcher, Chicago Tribune "When you read the book be prepared to laugh and cry. I cried more than I laughed. This outstanding novel will surely find a place on library shelves of school libraries as well as those of all who are concerned with the young people who become dropouts, runaways and lost segments of society. In addition, it is fast-moving and easy to read. The students will line up to read it." Sioux Falls, Texas Argus-Leader "This is Swarthout at his finest. He has told a tale about children without the triteness or cuteness that usually accompanies tales about children. These are real kids; products of an affluent American culture that furnishes children transistor radios and color televisions to ward off loneliness. It is a compactly told story, dreadful in its implications, yet filled with tender, bittersweet moments as six lonely little kids struggle to find themselves and, at the same time, to affirm, ritualistically, the goodness of God." Frederic Kelly, New Haven, Connecticut Register

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cindra

    Found a falling-apart copy of this book in a box of mementos from the 1970s as I was doing post-hoiiday reorganization. This was an amazing story; one of the most poignant books I have ever read. Read it in the span of a few hours, and it brought back so many memories that I nearly overdosed on nostalgia. Sigh.......

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Brown

    This book is adventurous and shows how if you stick together you can accomplish anything. They escaped because they were looked at as the kids that couldn't do much. When they really could do a lot more then expected. This book is adventurous and shows how if you stick together you can accomplish anything. They escaped because they were looked at as the kids that couldn't do much. When they really could do a lot more then expected.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    I was forced to read this for school, but it was pretty good, actually. I enjoyed the overall story and the messages it conveyed, even though the writing felt a bit stilted and awkward to me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Sample

    Such a great book I remembered reading this book in high school English class. For years I remembered and occasionally sang the 'Home on the range' twist. I just recently decided to read it again. Such a great read. Finished in a day, I couldn't put it down. As captivating now as it was then. Such a great book I remembered reading this book in high school English class. For years I remembered and occasionally sang the 'Home on the range' twist. I just recently decided to read it again. Such a great read. Finished in a day, I couldn't put it down. As captivating now as it was then.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This book was recommended to me by so many people so I couldn't wait to dive in. A few chapters in though I found myself not really into the story. I tried three different times to read the full book and I just couldn't do it. I felt like the story was moving a little too slow and before long I had lost interest. This book was recommended to me by so many people so I couldn't wait to dive in. A few chapters in though I found myself not really into the story. I tried three different times to read the full book and I just couldn't do it. I felt like the story was moving a little too slow and before long I had lost interest.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gail Amendt

    Every now and then I read books that I read in school, mostly to see if my impressions have changed with maturity. This book was read to my class by an idealistic rookie teacher when I was in Grade 8...almost 40 years ago. I remembered that it involved emotionally disturbed kids at a summer camp, but the rescue of the buffalo from slaughter had long ago disappeared from my memory. It was an ok story, and I get why it is used in schools as there is a lot of food for thought in this book, but real Every now and then I read books that I read in school, mostly to see if my impressions have changed with maturity. This book was read to my class by an idealistic rookie teacher when I was in Grade 8...almost 40 years ago. I remembered that it involved emotionally disturbed kids at a summer camp, but the rescue of the buffalo from slaughter had long ago disappeared from my memory. It was an ok story, and I get why it is used in schools as there is a lot of food for thought in this book, but really I was underwhelmed. I can say that Grade 8 was much too young for this book, but that same teacher also read us Lord Of The Flies, and we were definitely not ready for that either. And I also think she made an error in judgement in reading this to a bunch of farm kids who were very well versed in where their meat comes from and how it gets from hoof to table. The shock value in the buffalo slaughter was rather lost on us. It was fairly well written, and paints an interesting picture of life in the late 1960's, and also shows how far we have come in understanding child psychology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan

    At first, I was thinking that this is another typical boy scout stories. But behind that facade, the story is much more complex than I initially estimated. It tells about important issues in American society originated in the 60s and 70s decades of 20th century, some of them continuing even to present day. As greatly pointed out by Glendon, when a society has issues, the children are the most vulnerable. And there is no wonder if that society sees abnormal behavior in their children. That is the At first, I was thinking that this is another typical boy scout stories. But behind that facade, the story is much more complex than I initially estimated. It tells about important issues in American society originated in the 60s and 70s decades of 20th century, some of them continuing even to present day. As greatly pointed out by Glendon, when a society has issues, the children are the most vulnerable. And there is no wonder if that society sees abnormal behavior in their children. That is the main message of the novel, slightly generalized to the respective US society. But as everything is now global, US exported also their life style to other countries, thus these are no longer just American issues. I liked it a lot, so I'll give it a 5 for premise. Regarding the form, I greatly liked the way flash-backs are incorporated. Inside normal flowing story, you suddenly see some text starting to be written in italic. These are the flash-backs which are a lot, but they complement the story very well as it started in the middle of it, without a proper introduction. Then I liked also the fact that it fits so well the constraints of the genre. It is a slim novel, with simple narrative, making it clear when flash back is used. Overall I believe I found another gifted writer, so I'll give it a 5 for form. In terms of originality, coming of age stories are found in world literature as often as mushrooms after rain. But this one stands apart by the fact that the protagonists are not normal average kids, they are emotionally disturbed by the society or their families and are also not the regular winners Americans simply love and all aspire to be. Frankly they are not also geeks, but simply not bright at any sportive of physical challenge. Due to this interesting choice not too often found in such novels, I will give it a 4 for the level of originality. On the characters, I believe these kids are one of the best lead characters from almost any coming of age novel I have read so far. They are so real that if I met some of them on the street I would not be surprised. This tells all about how good they are, so I will give it a 5 for characters. Regarding the complexity and difficulty, the novel is deliberately constructed to be easy to read. This does not imply that it is at the same time simple. Due to the message that implies many other untold things about the American society, I believe it is quite complex. So I will rate it with a 3 for complexity and difficulty. In terms of credibility, if we compare it with Hollywood mainstream this is much more down to Earth. It can easily happened and if I would read such a story in a newspaper (of course journalism will stick just to the facts), I would believe it. This is why my rating for credibility is 5. The last criteria is edition. Despite having some minor glitches, my ebook was surprisingly well edited. Regarding translation, I think it was a good one, as I did not felt the translator hand at all. It reads as if it was originally written in Romanian. This is why I will give it a 4. To summarize, a great novel that exceeded my expectations. I think I will recommend it to my kid when he will grow up, as I believe it is one of the best coming of age novels I've read ever. All in all, my final rating for it is 4.43, which I will round it to 4 on Goodreads system. +--------------------------+-----------------+ | Criteria | Rating | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Premise | 5 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Form | 5 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Originality | 4 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Characters | 5 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Difficulty/Complexity | 3 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Credibility | 5 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Edition | 4 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ |Total | 4.43 | +--------------------------+-----------------+ For more details on how I rated and reviewed this novel, please read these guidelines.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hatuxka

    This was assigned reading in high school, I remember liking it and then seeing the movie which came out later in the 70s. But I recall nothing about the plot. I get the impression that many here read it for class in high school. Here's what I do recall though about the movie made of the book, starring Billy Mummy, the freckle-faced kid from the TV series "Lost in Space": my sister and all her early teen friends at the time who saw the movie were in love with him This was assigned reading in high school, I remember liking it and then seeing the movie which came out later in the 70s. But I recall nothing about the plot. I get the impression that many here read it for class in high school. Here's what I do recall though about the movie made of the book, starring Billy Mummy, the freckle-faced kid from the TV series "Lost in Space": my sister and all her early teen friends at the time who saw the movie were in love with him

  16. 5 out of 5

    Juneko Robinson

    As an 11-year old kid, this book really touched something in me, though I loved the movie much more. I don't know how it would stand up to contemporary preadolescents, though. Might seem a bit dated now. As an 11-year old kid, this book really touched something in me, though I loved the movie much more. I don't know how it would stand up to contemporary preadolescents, though. Might seem a bit dated now.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I loved!! this book. Glendon Swarthout is an author I love and this book is indeed another masterpiece. I remember hearing about the movie made from this book when I was a kid. I definitely need to see it. On to one of his earlier works to see how that is...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    I remember being emotionally impacted by this book. It really haunted me. I’ve always loved kids and animals and underdogs, and this book was about them. Great story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    One of the most impactful books of my teenage years! It was great to give it another read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Turner

    Better then ever A book for everyone. Loved the DVD always wanted to read the book. Glad it was reissued and I got to live their lives again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gi

    I recalled liking this book back when I was a teen... so I read it again. Yep, still think it's great! I recalled liking this book back when I was a teen... so I read it again. Yep, still think it's great!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mandi Hintz

    Have you ever felt unwanted and unloved by everyone in your life? In a book by Glendon Swarthout, Bless the Beasts & Children, a little red haired boy named John Cotton experiences that in his life. He grew up with a mother who was more concerned with money, and finding the next rich husband, and he was pushed to the side, spawning feelings of loneliness, emptiness and anger. But at the age of 15, Cotton was sent by his mother to the Box Canyon Boys Camp in Arizona, and there he found the first Have you ever felt unwanted and unloved by everyone in your life? In a book by Glendon Swarthout, Bless the Beasts & Children, a little red haired boy named John Cotton experiences that in his life. He grew up with a mother who was more concerned with money, and finding the next rich husband, and he was pushed to the side, spawning feelings of loneliness, emptiness and anger. But at the age of 15, Cotton was sent by his mother to the Box Canyon Boys Camp in Arizona, and there he found the first real family he had ever really known by bunking with a group of what the other boys called a group of misfits, or dings. Because their cabin was considered the weakest, they were known as the Bedwetters. There Cotton also learned that he was a natural leader, and he grew in so many ways. Cotton’s whole cabin is bullied, pushed around, and just plain abused, not only by the other campers, but by the counselors too. I think because of the pain they went through, they had great empathy for others, including animals. When they heard that about 100 miles away, there would be a slaughter of fenced in buffalo, the boys felt determined to help the buffalo no matter what. Do the boys make it to the buffalo? Do they save them? You’ll have to read Bless the Beasts & Children to find out! The book Bless the Beasts & Children is a book that a lot of people can relate to, because it uses a character that is going through something we all have gone through at one time or another in our lives. The tone of the book is a little sad and dark, but I think that is what pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading to see if things change for Cotton. I think this is a good book, and worth the time to read it. I would give it a three out of five stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andy Davidson

    Sublime, triumphant, heartbreaking. Found my copy in a Goodwill. Further cements Glendon Swarthout alongside Charles Portis as one of my favorite writers--as if THE SHOOTIST and THE HOMESMAN had not already done that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wil

    Misfits unite and find glimpses of leadership, passion and purpose within themselves. But not without consequence. My students seemed to enjoy this. I would read again with future students. The readers supplement at the end provides an extensive narrative of the historical context this book was written in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Raphael

    I think this was a really good book. I rate this a 5 star because it was very descriptive and was related the things in a modern day. My favorite part of this book is when they became the bedwetters. I The thing I didn't like was the ending because it was not sad. But that is my 5 star rating. I think this was a really good book. I rate this a 5 star because it was very descriptive and was related the things in a modern day. My favorite part of this book is when they became the bedwetters. I The thing I didn't like was the ending because it was not sad. But that is my 5 star rating.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    It was good. and i enjoyed it one thing why suicide at the end

  27. 4 out of 5

    Libraryassistant

    I rcall being moved and angry...I was 12.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gale

    CAMP LOSERS AND MISFITS COME OF AGE It is the last week of summer at Box Canyon Boys camp in Arizona, wehre the losers and misfits have naturally sorted themselves in the Bedwetters's Cabin-a scornful nickname for the "tribe" lowest on the social totem pole. Cotton, their self-appointed leader, is determined to whip his unhappy recruits into shape before they are released back to their dysfunctional homes. After all, the camp brochure promised to send their boys home as Men by late August. This u CAMP LOSERS AND MISFITS COME OF AGE It is the last week of summer at Box Canyon Boys camp in Arizona, wehre the losers and misfits have naturally sorted themselves in the Bedwetters's Cabin-a scornful nickname for the "tribe" lowest on the social totem pole. Cotton, their self-appointed leader, is determined to whip his unhappy recruits into shape before they are released back to their dysfunctional homes. After all, the camp brochure promised to send their boys home as Men by late August. This unlikely band of loners and whiny-babies gradually becomes galvanized into a cohesive unit with one overriding passion: to free a small herd of buffalo which has been captured for legalized "harvest." Each year the Fish and Game Department invites amateurs (with misguided dreams of the recreating the old West) to experience a safe buffalo shoot. Can a gang of kids foil the grisly program and strike a blow for the freedom of this once mighty symbol of rugged American independence? Swarthout's style includes frequent flashbacks into the summer and even the pre-summer-indicated by paragraphs in italics-which provide background information into the motivation and familial frustration of each member of the shamed tribe. Gritty and brutally realistic the author depicts the difficult path to maturity as these boys reluctantly bond, only to disintegrate over trifles. Struggling with personal quirks and forced to face adult crises in their last-ditch effort to accomplish something truly marvelous, the Bedwetters rise above their own petty differences, ultimately graduating to warrior status by following their forbidden dream quest. If they can just free the buffalo before camp is over--despite great personal cost and inevitable legal repercussions. Savoring the thrill of defiance for a higher goal, they strive to morph into less selfish youths, determined to overcome their diverse private issues. A gripping tale of survival on several levels, this book will hook readers who cherish the freedom of the plains. (April 4, 2012. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    This is a novel that was originally published in 1970, and it is considered a modern day classic along the lines of the Lord of the Flies. This novel, however, is much more uplifting than the Lord of the Flies. It features a group of misfit boys - ages of 12 to 15 - that are sent (or dumped) at a boys summer camp in Arizona where they are supposed to be turned into men. Instead they are picked on until they band together as a group. One day they are returning from an outing, and they see the ann This is a novel that was originally published in 1970, and it is considered a modern day classic along the lines of the Lord of the Flies. This novel, however, is much more uplifting than the Lord of the Flies. It features a group of misfit boys - ages of 12 to 15 - that are sent (or dumped) at a boys summer camp in Arizona where they are supposed to be turned into men. Instead they are picked on until they band together as a group. One day they are returning from an outing, and they see the annual buffalo "hunt" in which buffalo are horribly killed. The boys are traumatized by this viewing, and they decide to break out of the camp that night to free the other buffaloes that are supposed to be slaughtered the next day. During the adventures of the night, they become stronger as a group and individually - pushing each other to keep going when they hit obstacles. It is a relatively short story (about 150 pages) that is well written and despite the different time period, keeps your interest and engages you. The only thing I thought was weird about this addition were the footnotes that were used to explain words, phrases, etc that I felt are pretty common (for example, the word skivs which is short for skivvies or underwear or the phrase "champed at the bit.") But it seems like this book is meant for teenaged readers and is often taught in schools so perhaps that is why these words and phrases are footnoted (but really did they need to footnote Green Bay Packers?) But that is a minor issue. The book, when it was published, helped to bring attention to the killing of buffaloes and helped to inspire conservation movements so it is also often compared to Silent Spring too. I won this copy in one of the Goodreads giveaways.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Oriyah Nitkin

    This is one of the books that was assigned to us in Junior High English class. Until now I have been thinking it was seventh grade, but now I realize it was quite possibly in eighth, as I had the same wonderful English teacher (Mrs. Helene Fechter) both years. But I digress. Or maybe not. After we read the book, we watched the movie, which I really enjoyed, and watched numerous times over the years since then. As a picked-on kid, I kind of felt an affinity for the misfits in the book (or movie, a This is one of the books that was assigned to us in Junior High English class. Until now I have been thinking it was seventh grade, but now I realize it was quite possibly in eighth, as I had the same wonderful English teacher (Mrs. Helene Fechter) both years. But I digress. Or maybe not. After we read the book, we watched the movie, which I really enjoyed, and watched numerous times over the years since then. As a picked-on kid, I kind of felt an affinity for the misfits in the book (or movie, as it were) and, having relevance to my own experiences, I felt it was a keeper. But over the years, or maybe even right away, the movie overshadowed my memory of the book. So when I recently finally obtained another copy of Swarthout's novel, I was (foolishly) surprised at all the discrepancies that I hadn't remembered. Perhaps due to it's familiarity, this is one of those few times when the movie was an improvement on the book. But I'm still mad at the director for changing details (um, HELLO! Cotton's hair is supposed to be RED!) The book was a fine, touching, incredibly heartbreaking story, mostly well written with a few bits that were just...unclear. My reading comprehension is great. Was I confused because I was skimming out of boredom of a slow-moving scene? Or did the author actually just not clarify? You be the judge. A classic, and one worth reading. But also - see the movie! (I can't believe I just said that, now I feel like an unintellectual lowlife. And yet...)

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