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The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

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From singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, a lyrical, sweeping novel about a young boy's coming-of-age during the last days of the lumberjacks. In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests br From singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, a lyrical, sweeping novel about a young boy's coming-of-age during the last days of the lumberjacks. In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests brewing with ancient magic, and Weldon’s struggle as a boy to keep his father’s inherited timber claim, the Lost Lot, from the ravenous clutches of Linden Laughlin. Ever since young Weldon stepped foot in the deep Cordelia woods as a child, he dreamed of joining the rowdy ranks of his ancestors in their epic axe-swinging adventures. Local legend says their family line boasts some of the greatest lumberjacks to ever roam the American West, but at the beginning of the twentieth century, the jacks are dying out, and it’s up to Weldon to defend his family legacy. Braided with haunting saloon tunes and just the right dose of magic, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is a novel bursting with heart, humor and an utterly transporting adventure that is sure to sweep you away into the beauty of the tall snowy mountain timber.  


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From singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, a lyrical, sweeping novel about a young boy's coming-of-age during the last days of the lumberjacks. In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests br From singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, a lyrical, sweeping novel about a young boy's coming-of-age during the last days of the lumberjacks. In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests brewing with ancient magic, and Weldon’s struggle as a boy to keep his father’s inherited timber claim, the Lost Lot, from the ravenous clutches of Linden Laughlin. Ever since young Weldon stepped foot in the deep Cordelia woods as a child, he dreamed of joining the rowdy ranks of his ancestors in their epic axe-swinging adventures. Local legend says their family line boasts some of the greatest lumberjacks to ever roam the American West, but at the beginning of the twentieth century, the jacks are dying out, and it’s up to Weldon to defend his family legacy. Braided with haunting saloon tunes and just the right dose of magic, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is a novel bursting with heart, humor and an utterly transporting adventure that is sure to sweep you away into the beauty of the tall snowy mountain timber.  

30 review for The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    "Memory has a way of growing things, of improving them. The hardships get harder, the good times get better and the whole damn arc of a life takes on a mystic glow that only memory can give it." "...when you get as old as me...people want to hear your whole life story...life back then...when you live to be ninety-nine years you pretty much got the living part down...". Weldon Applegate was born into a family of lumberjacks of meteoric reputation. Tom Applegate, Weldon's daddy, had promised Weldon "Memory has a way of growing things, of improving them. The hardships get harder, the good times get better and the whole damn arc of a life takes on a mystic glow that only memory can give it." "...when you get as old as me...people want to hear your whole life story...life back then...when you live to be ninety-nine years you pretty much got the living part down...". Weldon Applegate was born into a family of lumberjacks of meteoric reputation. Tom Applegate, Weldon's daddy, had promised Weldon's mama that he would no longer brave the dangers of a jack's life. Tom had "conquered his true nature and found safe harbor...the steady sureties of settled life." Now a widower, Tom ran a general store with his thirteen year old son, Weldon in the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho. Tom had inherited "the most lumberjackingest place on the face of the Earth...The Lost Lot...a murderous, glorious ground with the biggest white pines there ever were...". Sohvia the Witch's prognostications advised against it, however, Tom threw caution to the wind, partnered up with Linden Laughlin [the best jack that had ever lived] and hired a team of jacks who were promised double pay to take down trees in the mountainous area, an area subject to avalanches and brutal winter storms. Upon Tom Applegate's death, thirteen year old Weldon acquired the Lost Lot and his granddaddy's ax. "The woods are no place for a wee bairn" according to Linden Laughlin. "Maybe Linden wasn't a man at all but...a kind of forest spirit...he was seven feet tall and had three rows of teeth...as a woods boss he could strike fear and respect...lead...jacks up any mountain with the knowledge that the timber would get taken out..." Linden called Weldon "cub". With granddaddy's ax in hand, Weldon made the ten mile trek to the Lost Lot. "There was a time before I'd ever seen the ornery side of myself. All that changed-that long ago December night...I would be transformed into a lumberjack." "...even at my age of ninety nine years...knowledge of [Joe Mouffreau's] essential wretchedness has come to shape my belief that our mortal enemies can keep us alive...[Joe] lying, foolish, condescending, big talking...convinced his daddy to start a 'fancy new way' just to log the holy hell out of the St. Anne." The town of Cordy was now empty, silent, with no jacks stopping by...no laughing...no cussing. "The jacks are dying out. Their time has come. The World has been coming for a long, long time." With humor, magic and a dose of profanity, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter weaves a tale of lumberjacking in the American West at the beginning of the twentieth century. Weldon's pluck and stick-to-itiveness to uphold his family tradition created a fun-filled adventurous read. I absolutely loved it! Thank you HARLEQUIN/Hanover Square Press and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook…read by the author, Josh Ritter ….6 hours and 52 minutes A great glorious lumberjack father/son titillation-audio-rapture…. …rowdy adventures… historical family-story during the 1980’s —through the eyes of Applegate himself at age 99. “99 years is 99 years…life comes to ‘you’ …special delivery” …. When Weldon was 13, his father Tom inherited the Lost Lot. Tom who had been working in his general store ends up taking off with the jacks-crew. After Tom was killed by a falling timber, young Audiobook…read by the author, Josh Ritter ….6 hours and 52 minutes A great glorious lumberjack father/son titillation-audio-rapture…. …rowdy adventures… historical family-story during the 1980’s —through the eyes of Applegate himself at age 99. “99 years is 99 years…life comes to ‘you’ …special delivery” …. When Weldon was 13, his father Tom inherited the Lost Lot. Tom who had been working in his general store ends up taking off with the jacks-crew. After Tom was killed by a falling timber, young Weldon takes over as owner. The crazy chaos begins… We’re taken on a journey - meet ‘the witch’ (with her wise words and sounds), a cast of colorful characters and folklore type stories’ are told. At some point you’d swear music was working it’s way into your ears…. Ha…. you wouldn’t be wrong! Singer songwriter, Josh Ritter, included a few musical surprises — With magic, enchantment, humor, gritty adventures, poetic-profanity sentences, and heart….this book is an old fashion-legend-tale. I liked it - appreciated it - it held my attention-but a little too testosterone-driven for me in parts. 🎶 “Some Somewhere” 🎶…. by Josh Ritter is included with the audiobook. (sweet!) 3.7 rating up.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    For all that this book moves, and I mean fast, it also draws back the curtains on moments and places in time where the world just stands still. The settings are sometimes built up stone by stone til you feel you are right there and can see your breath in the cold. Other times it’s like you’re walking into the movie theatre after the show’s begun and you’re trying to catch up - things can get that far out in front of you! But, this is a story that circles back time and again - a looping spirograp For all that this book moves, and I mean fast, it also draws back the curtains on moments and places in time where the world just stands still. The settings are sometimes built up stone by stone til you feel you are right there and can see your breath in the cold. Other times it’s like you’re walking into the movie theatre after the show’s begun and you’re trying to catch up - things can get that far out in front of you! But, this is a story that circles back time and again - a looping spirograph of a story with plenty of kinetic energy built up. Some of the upswings will remain on your mind and some of the downstrokes will linger in the way loss always does. It’s a helluva a read - there are tale tales, odes to times’ past and a heaping of bigscreen action shots that reminded me of Tim McCanlies’ Secondhand Lions and the Coen Brothers’ Big Fish. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I feel like I say this with every review: this book won’t be for everyone. But if you like folklore and tall tales about lumberjacks, this book is for you! Josh Ritter has a poet’s soul.

  5. 5 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    This was a charming, nostalgic coming of age story about a father and son and their family connection to one of the last pieces of land not taken over by a large logging magnate. Told from the perspective of 99 year old Weldon Applegate reminiscing about his life and adventures growing up in the tiny timber town of Cordelia Idaho. Equally funny and heartwarming and narrated by the author, I really enjoyed this romping yarn of a story. The audiobook also includes a bonus song written and performe This was a charming, nostalgic coming of age story about a father and son and their family connection to one of the last pieces of land not taken over by a large logging magnate. Told from the perspective of 99 year old Weldon Applegate reminiscing about his life and adventures growing up in the tiny timber town of Cordelia Idaho. Equally funny and heartwarming and narrated by the author, I really enjoyed this romping yarn of a story. The audiobook also includes a bonus song written and performed by the author! I highly recommend listening to this moving family story for full effect. For fans of Damnation spring or Greenwood. Much thanks to Libro.fm for my ALC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denver Public Library

    Lovers of tall tales, this is the book for you! Weldon Applegate, now a crotchety 99 years old, recounts his life and work and escapades in and around the tiny town of Cordelia, Idaho. The Applegate family had a notoriety in town for being the best lumberjacks around, but now the work is being done differently. Back in Weldon's day, jacking was full of danger and excitement and big money, but when it came to logging the Lost Lot, his inheritance from his father, things got personal. You see, Joe Lovers of tall tales, this is the book for you! Weldon Applegate, now a crotchety 99 years old, recounts his life and work and escapades in and around the tiny town of Cordelia, Idaho. The Applegate family had a notoriety in town for being the best lumberjacks around, but now the work is being done differently. Back in Weldon's day, jacking was full of danger and excitement and big money, but when it came to logging the Lost Lot, his inheritance from his father, things got personal. You see, Joe Mouffreau was put on this earth just to torture Weldon, who being small in stature, was just the right person for Joe to pick on. And Joe wants the Lost Lot, where trees grow bigger than anywhere else and the slopes are so steep they grow sideways just to get a grip. Author Josh Ritter, known for his songwriting skills, laces this novel with lyricism. When Weldon muses about Joe and his own demise, he says "Still, there comes a time with mortal enemies when you have to have it out with them. It may not be a time or place of your own choosing, but in order to outlive somebody, one of you has to die." For fans of Leif Enger's title Virgil Wander, or Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: June 1, 2021 Publication date: September 7, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle.! I requested and recei Date reviewed/posted: June 1, 2021 Publication date: September 7, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave ( #fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. Plus it is hot as all heck and nothing is more appealing than sitting in front of a fan with a kindle.! I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. A lyrical, sweeping novel about a young boy's coming-of-age during the last days of the lumberjacks. In the tiny timber town of Cordelia, Idaho, everyone has heard tales of the Applegates. Local legend says their family line boasts some of the greatest lumberjacks to ever roam the American West, and from the moment young Weldon stepped foot in the deep Cordelia woods as a child, he dreamed of joining the rowdy ranks of his ancestors in their epic axe-swinging adventures. But at the beginning of the twentieth century, times are changing fast, and the jacks are dying out. On his deathbed nearly a century later, Weldon Applegate recounts his life in all its glory, filled with tall tales writ large with murder, mayhem, avalanches and bootlegging. It’s the story of dark pine forests brewing with ancient magic, and Weldon’s struggle as a boy to keep his father’s inherited timber claim, the Lost Lot, from the ravenous clutches of Linden Laughlin. Braided with haunting saloon tunes and just the right dose of magic, The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is a novel bursting with heart, humour and an utterly transporting adventure that is sure to sweep you away into the beauty of the tall snowy mountain timber. This book made me smile and laugh and fall in love with the characters. There are so many divergent lives and people in this book but they all knit together well and make an amazing read. I was initially attracted to the book by its cover as there are beavers gnawing away at the trees along the river where we walk - they are quickly knocking them down and prove the adage BUSY AS A BEAVER. Luckily, I liked the book as much as its cover. I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames a few yards away from the beavers! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🦢 🦢 🦢 🦢 🦢  (they, too, live down by the beavers, who do not have an emoji!)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Netgalley TW: home invasion, implied rape, self mutilation, threats to family members, violence with an axe, gun violence 2.8 The child of a lumberjack promised not to return to his trade, and a want to be lumberjack himself, Weldon Applegate lives in a precarious world. Now on his death bed, he tells the story of the plot no one could cut down, revenge, and growing into a man. I will start this by saying I'm 100% not the target demographic for this book. I was reeled in b I received an ARC from Netgalley TW: home invasion, implied rape, self mutilation, threats to family members, violence with an axe, gun violence 2.8 The child of a lumberjack promised not to return to his trade, and a want to be lumberjack himself, Weldon Applegate lives in a precarious world. Now on his death bed, he tells the story of the plot no one could cut down, revenge, and growing into a man. I will start this by saying I'm 100% not the target demographic for this book. I was reeled in by the Southern vibe, the promise of murder and bootlegging and epic lumberjacks- but this story was just not exciting enough for me. I think maybe if I was was a fan of peacocking Westerns and mustache twirling villains, or if I was the type who could picture myself in Weldon's shoes, I would have enjoyed this. But I am none of those things. I did still find it interesting. There's enough going on that you're going to find something in it to be interested in- I just didn't find it compelling. For whatever reason I just couldn't pay attention. Maybe it was in the pacing- and the jumping back and forth in time certainly didn't help- but regardless I found it hard to keep reading without just letting my eyes slide off the page. But in the moments I was paying attention, there were some more exciting ideas and interesting threats, just not enough for me to fully care. Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed the whole thing more as a movie. There is an atmospheric quality in the way this whole thing is set up, and I might have found something more to hook me if I wasn't being dragged around by Weldon and was able to fully appreciate what was being shown to me with less bias. Though I have to contradict myself a bit, by saying my favorite thing about this book was actually the way it was written. I didn't enjoy reading the story itself per se, but I did enjoy reading it. I like the way Ritter writes, the style is easy to read and lyrical in a rusty kind of way. With the quality of the main story, and my disinterest in Weldon's life as an older man, there really just wasn't anything for me personally to connect to in this book. I can see other's enjoying it, but I couldn't get interested.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Leah M

    Rounded up to 3.5 stars. Thank you to libro.fm for providing me with an ALC of this audiobook. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily. CONTENT WARNING: profanity, death of a parent, violence, implied rape (off-page), self-mutilation, gun violence This book is narrated by the author, who I feel did a great job with it. I loved that he incorporated his own music into the story, especially the catchy rendition of Some Somewhere. I’ll definitely be singing this song to myself for the next few day Rounded up to 3.5 stars. Thank you to libro.fm for providing me with an ALC of this audiobook. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily. CONTENT WARNING: profanity, death of a parent, violence, implied rape (off-page), self-mutilation, gun violence This book is narrated by the author, who I feel did a great job with it. I loved that he incorporated his own music into the story, especially the catchy rendition of Some Somewhere. I’ll definitely be singing this song to myself for the next few days. While I liked Weldon’s character from the start, I struggled to connect with him and the story in the beginning. Things moved a little slowly. The chapters would bounce between Weldon’s early teen years and him as a 99 year-old, but I often found it difficult to differentiate when they switched abruptly. However, at around halfway through the story, I became a lot more invested in what was going on. Things started happening more quickly and I was curious to see how everything played out. There was one character who was just a horrible human being, and I think a big part of me kept listening just to see them get what was coming to them. Once the action started, it kept me very interested. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, but I definitely wanted to keep listening. The writing itself was lyrical, and the author had a great voice that was well-suited for narrating. I enjoyed the author’s style, especially as I got further into the story. This story brought the last days of the lumberjacks to vivid life, painting a vivid picture of what this difficult, spare, physically demanding, and dangerous lifestyle was like. This is a story I won’t soon forget.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jan Dale

    A sweepingly told tall-tale. The most charming, foul-mouthed, heartfilled yarn I've read in ages. The lumberjack novel you need in your life right now! A sweepingly told tall-tale. The most charming, foul-mouthed, heartfilled yarn I've read in ages. The lumberjack novel you need in your life right now!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    A very fine, quick read. One thing I like about Josh Ritter’s music is the story songs, so obviously he does a good job with a lot more room to play. He also does an excellent job narrating the audiobook, which comes with a new song.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Knut André Dale

    A mythical, wonderous and gloriously profane joyride of a novel. Josh Ritter takes us back to the last days of the old-time lumberjacks with a vigor that is both endearing and exhilarating.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I just finish reading "The Glorious Goddamn of it All" by Josh Ritter. Set in the times of lumberjacks and adventure in the old settler times, this book captures a time in history where people survived on instinct and reputation, and had to fight for everything they were given. There were no rules in place, so people had to use their wits to make the best life possible. In this book, the main character wants to be a lumberjack against the wishes of his father and sets off to claim what is his and I just finish reading "The Glorious Goddamn of it All" by Josh Ritter. Set in the times of lumberjacks and adventure in the old settler times, this book captures a time in history where people survived on instinct and reputation, and had to fight for everything they were given. There were no rules in place, so people had to use their wits to make the best life possible. In this book, the main character wants to be a lumberjack against the wishes of his father and sets off to claim what is his and profit from an wild plot of land where claiming the trees could make him a fortune but could also lead to his death. The story follows his life and although the language is rough, it is properly used because it sets a tone for the reality of the time in which it is set. The author, Josh Ritter, does an exccellent job of using descriptive words that portray the emotion and harsh reality of the time, and the reader is transported back to that era in part because of the imagery created through the auhor's words. This book is heartwarming because the reader wants the boy to succeed, and make his life better, and the journey, although filled with sadness, is a journey worth taking with this book. Although not my normal choice of genre, I decided to take a chance with this book and was not disappointed. I loved the characters and felt engaged in what was happening in the story. Thank you to Net Galley for giving me an advance copy of this book to enjoy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    (I read an ARC of this novel provided free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Netgalley!) Oh my gosh this was such a fun read. It's about how the modern world finally caught up to the world of tall tales and legends. Weldon Applegate is 99 and telling the story of his life. His father, Tom, was a lumberjack who promised his wife that he'd stay safe and never jack again. After his wife dies, he and Weldon move to Cordelia, Idaho, a town full of lumberjacks and near the Lost Lot, (I read an ARC of this novel provided free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Netgalley!) Oh my gosh this was such a fun read. It's about how the modern world finally caught up to the world of tall tales and legends. Weldon Applegate is 99 and telling the story of his life. His father, Tom, was a lumberjack who promised his wife that he'd stay safe and never jack again. After his wife dies, he and Weldon move to Cordelia, Idaho, a town full of lumberjacks and near the Lost Lot, a cursed tract of land owned by Tom. Tom works in the town general store but finds himself making a deal with a larger-than-life lumberjack-of-legend, Linden Laughlin, who turns out to be a devil in disguise. Weldon tells us the whole story in tall-tale style from those times through when technology and industry take over. It's a super exciting and well-written. Definitely a fun read. This the first book by Josh Ritter I've read, but it won't be my last.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shellie Zeigler

    Audio: If you want a book that compels you to quote many magnificent lines to your family and friends, read this book. If you want a book that makes you forget about time and space, read this book. I wish I could read this book for the first time, but I know I'll be reading this book again. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. DO NOT PASS THIS BOOK UP!! Thank you so much to the publisher Hanover Square Press for an ARC of this book and to Libro.FM for an ALC of this book. If you do read the Audio: If you want a book that compels you to quote many magnificent lines to your family and friends, read this book. If you want a book that makes you forget about time and space, read this book. I wish I could read this book for the first time, but I know I'll be reading this book again. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. DO NOT PASS THIS BOOK UP!! Thank you so much to the publisher Hanover Square Press for an ARC of this book and to Libro.FM for an ALC of this book. If you do read the audiobook, stay around and listen to the author sing THE SONG that you can never get out of your head.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    OMG! I loved this! Now to buy tickets to hear Josh sing in the cemetery?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Ok, I'll admit I sometimes have quirky taste... this novel hit my quirky sweet spot. Weldon is the son of a lumberjack. His father was pressured to quit the dangerous lifestyle but kept hold of his land, a piece of land that is treacherous but beautiful. After years of denying his inner desires, he returns to the plot and is tragically killed. Weldon is a young, scrawny teen but is determined to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers and become a 'jack' despite its danger and the pressure fr Ok, I'll admit I sometimes have quirky taste... this novel hit my quirky sweet spot. Weldon is the son of a lumberjack. His father was pressured to quit the dangerous lifestyle but kept hold of his land, a piece of land that is treacherous but beautiful. After years of denying his inner desires, he returns to the plot and is tragically killed. Weldon is a young, scrawny teen but is determined to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers and become a 'jack' despite its danger and the pressure from other illustrious lumberjacks to sell his cursed plot. The story is told by Weldon on his deathbed and it has the flavor of a tall tale in the vein of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill. The life of a lumberjack is tough and dangerous but we learn that they are not just threatened by the conditions of nature but by their own egos and desire to outdo one another. There are many scenes of brutality: man against man, man against nature, man against woman and man against child. That said, the story is a coming of age tale of a young man fighting all the odds to try to rise above his circumstances and the threats of the world around him. He's a child with big dreams and a desire for glory. And goddamn if he's not got the work ethic and cajones to make it happen. I totally don't think this book will be for everyone but if you love a sense of adventure, a story about the glories of nature or a coming of age tale, this one just may spark your interest. I listened to it on audio and it's read by the author Josh Ritter, he does a fabulous job! Thanks to Libro.fm for a copy. All opinions above are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Seldon

    I read this book because Josh Ritter is my favorite singer-songwriter and I support pretty much all of his artistic endeavors. That said, if he didn’t write it, I would never have read this lyrical novel about a 99-year old man recounting his very colorful coming of age story as a the son of a wannabe lumberjack in Idaho in the 1930s. All of that said I still enjoyed the story and thought Ritter did a great job of taking full advantage of an unreliable narrator. Weldon Applegate, the main charac I read this book because Josh Ritter is my favorite singer-songwriter and I support pretty much all of his artistic endeavors. That said, if he didn’t write it, I would never have read this lyrical novel about a 99-year old man recounting his very colorful coming of age story as a the son of a wannabe lumberjack in Idaho in the 1930s. All of that said I still enjoyed the story and thought Ritter did a great job of taking full advantage of an unreliable narrator. Weldon Applegate, the main character, has a strong point of view, does not bother himself with the nuisance of facts although he would certainly never tarnish his credibility and integrity by fabricating or exaggerating, and does not give a fuck about what other people think about him, so he was really fun. If there are any other Josh Ritter stans out there, people with a connection to Idaho, are interested in the lore of lumberjacks, or love tales told by wily raconteurs, I would recommend this book. If that’s not you, then you’re not missing out.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Crunden

    I loved Bright’s Passage but I had no idea Josh Ritter was writing another book. I cannot wait for this!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Carson (Mason)

    Great story with illuminating historical significance. Fun and somehow lighthearted, even though it’s all about death.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I didn't connect with the story or characters at all. I had bigs hopes for this one. Maybe I will read it again sometime, but at this point it was just ok. I didn't connect with the story or characters at all. I had bigs hopes for this one. Maybe I will read it again sometime, but at this point it was just ok.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    An epic tale that's not for the faint of heart. Pretty damn funny too. An epic tale that's not for the faint of heart. Pretty damn funny too.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cheriee Weichel

    Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this adult novel. It was released September 7, 2021 by Hanover Square Press. At the turn of the century, from the late 1800’s on, my grandfather logged his way across the United States and north into Canada. He owned his own company and my grandmother cooked for the crew. My mother was the last of their 17 children. All my uncles were lumberjacks. Many of their male children were jacks. My father married my mother and joined their ranks. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this adult novel. It was released September 7, 2021 by Hanover Square Press. At the turn of the century, from the late 1800’s on, my grandfather logged his way across the United States and north into Canada. He owned his own company and my grandmother cooked for the crew. My mother was the last of their 17 children. All my uncles were lumberjacks. Many of their male children were jacks. My father married my mother and joined their ranks. They were tough, untamed men with hearts as big as the forests they decimated. I tell you this because I want you to know that when I tell you how authentic the voice in this novel by singer/songwriter Josh Ritter is, I know what I’m talking about. From his hospital bed, the mythic Weldon Applegate moves back and forth in time narrating the two interwoven threads of his life. One is the story of his youth and coming of age. His father, Tom, was a lumberjack who gave up logging for his mother. Upon his mother’s death, thirteen year old Weldon and his father moved to operate a store in the small timber town of Cordelia, Idaho. Tom had inherited the Lost Lot, a treacherous timber claim on a mountain just outside the town. They hadn't been there long when the legendary Linden Laughlin showed up and connived his way into their lives. Tom was seduced into breaking his vow to his wife and headed out logging the Lost Lot with Laughlin. He died on the mountain soon afterwards. The magnitude of Laughlin’s evil becomes obvious when, in an attempt at stealing Weldon's inheritance, he terrorizes Weldon and Sohvia, the Witch woman who lived with them. Once Weldon realizes he can’t sell the Lost Lot, he returns to Cordelia, gathers supplies and courage, and heads up the mountain to work with the crew. In the story of his later years Weldon talks about his more recent mortal enemy, Joe Mouffreau, son of the original mill owner. Joe is a greedy braggart about 15 years younger than Weldon. “A lot of people had to perish to keep Joe’s war stories fresh, but it was a sacrifice that he was willing to make.” If the two of them are enemies in life, they represent conflict on a much larger scale. Theirs is difference in world views. It's the difference between integrity and deceit. It's the difference between generosity and greed. It's the difference between preserving the natural world and destroying it. Weldon, after working the mountain in his thirteenth year, never felled another tree on his land. He ended up giving it to a Nature Preservers group. In contrast, Joe clearcut the mountain he inherited from his father. Ritter’s beautifully crafted words transport the reader into an enchanted forest and logging town right smack in the middle of this coming of age tale. Along with Weldon, they get to figure out just what it means to be a hero. I wish I had Ritter's way with words to tell you how brilliant this books is. Weldon is as authentic a character as any I have ever read. He could well have been any of my relatives. Reading his story brought them back to me in all their rough hewn glory.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Patrick Boyer

    [3.5 Stars, Rounded Down] "Finally, we came around a bend in the road and he threw his arms wide as if to encompass the great, glorious, goddamn of it all. I'd never seen it with my own eyes, but I knew it like I knew the moon." I am a huge fan of Josh Ritter's songwriting, so (despite not yet reading Bright's Passage) this was a must-read 2021 release the moment I saw the announcement on his Facebook page. Josh Ritter's The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is a coming-of-age story, yes. But it [3.5 Stars, Rounded Down] "Finally, we came around a bend in the road and he threw his arms wide as if to encompass the great, glorious, goddamn of it all. I'd never seen it with my own eyes, but I knew it like I knew the moon." I am a huge fan of Josh Ritter's songwriting, so (despite not yet reading Bright's Passage) this was a must-read 2021 release the moment I saw the announcement on his Facebook page. Josh Ritter's The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is a coming-of-age story, yes. But it's much broader than that, as well. It's a story about changing times and mortal enemies. It's a story about resolve and spite and curses and the unreliable nature of stories. It's a coming-of-age tall-tale about becoming your own man in a time when everything around you was changing as quickly and completely as everything within. The framing device doesn't always work. It often makes for awkward transitions between chapters, and while it ends with rich reflection and a wonderful dose of the aforementioned spite, it does occasionally hurt the overall story by so often knocking the reader out of it. However, Ritter's lyrical prose, effortless world-building and the manner in which he embraces the embellishment of stories makes this an effective exploration of memory, changing times, spiteful revenge and everything that makes for an enjoyably conceivable if highly unlikely tall-tale. 7/10

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie Failla Earhart

    The protagonist of songwriter Josh Ritter’s second novel is ninety-nine-year-old Weldon Applegate, lying on his deathbed in a hospital. Tubes are coming out of his arms, and he is on oxygen. He seems to this reader to be passing in and out of consciousness. When he is out of it, Weldon returns to the forests of Cordelia, Idaho, almost a century earlier; back to a time when he was a child and the Applegates were considered the best lumberjacks in the industry. When his head is clear, he recounts a The protagonist of songwriter Josh Ritter’s second novel is ninety-nine-year-old Weldon Applegate, lying on his deathbed in a hospital. Tubes are coming out of his arms, and he is on oxygen. He seems to this reader to be passing in and out of consciousness. When he is out of it, Weldon returns to the forests of Cordelia, Idaho, almost a century earlier; back to a time when he was a child and the Applegates were considered the best lumberjacks in the industry. When his head is clear, he recounts a life of murder, mayhem, avalanches, bootlegging and all sorts of axe-swinging adventures. Weldon’s father, Tom, was a lumberjack who promised his wife that he'd stay safe and never jack again. After his wife dies, he and Weldon move to Cordelia, a town full of lumberjacks and near the Lost Lot, a cursed tract of land that Tom owns. Tom works in the town general store but finds himself making a deal with a larger-than-life lumberjack-of-legend, Linden Laughlin, who turns out to be a devil in disguise. Weldon tells us the whole story in tall-tale style from those times through when technology and industry take over. The story structure follows Weldon’s mental state, moving from one adventure to another without any division. I found this hard to follow. The language is rough, but realistic for the time period. It didn’t bother me, but I just didn’t like the story. For me, the action moved a snail’s pace, but I think it was me and not the story. I wasn’t as drawn in as I had hoped to be, but I will admit to learning a lot about lumberjacking. Therefore, “The Great Glorious Goddam of It All” receives 2 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joelle Egan

    Josh Ritter took a hiatus from his lucrative career as a singer/songwriter to try his hand as a novelist. Readers will rejoice in this diversion when The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is released this Fall. Charming, illuminating and tender, Ritter has crafted a layered novel that clearly benefits from his talents. The descriptions of Cordelia, a Lumberjack town circa the Prohibition Era, are richly described and immersive. The plot is told in a way that hearkens back to the bards singing the Josh Ritter took a hiatus from his lucrative career as a singer/songwriter to try his hand as a novelist. Readers will rejoice in this diversion when The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is released this Fall. Charming, illuminating and tender, Ritter has crafted a layered novel that clearly benefits from his talents. The descriptions of Cordelia, a Lumberjack town circa the Prohibition Era, are richly described and immersive. The plot is told in a way that hearkens back to the bards singing their odes of ancient adventures. Even the dialogue recalls the fabler who stretches truth at will. This is a yarn spun by Weldon Applegate, who we follow over the course of his life from his teen years up to his deathbed. At 14, Weldon suddenly becomes an orphan and now must fight enemies of Herculean strength to protect his inheritance. He unwaveringly strives to fulfill his family’s destiny by logging their land, even though it has been haunted and labeled as cursed. Others in Cordelia try to take advantage of Weldon’s inferior age and size with extortion and threats, but they underestimate young Weldon’s determination and cunning. Ritter’s novel is simultaneously laudatory to this subculture and unrelenting in its graphic depictions of its violence and punishing environment. Weldon’s initiation demonstrates the stark realities of those times and evokes a sense of nostalgia for a lost art. The The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All is not your typical bildungsroman-it is a tall tale in itself, a reflection of changing times as the old stories attempt to preserve themselves in modern times. Thanks to the author and Hanover Square Press for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Having read and loved "Bright's Passage" by Josh Ritter, which is serious and excellent historical fiction, "The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All" took me off guard. But once i was in, it was a wild and crazy, emotional and moving, ride from start to finish. It is about lumbering (ie. lumberjacks and very large trees in the Northwest region of the US) in the early 1900's. The tale is narrated by ninety-something year old Weldon Applegate recollecting his memories of when he was a 13 year old boy Having read and loved "Bright's Passage" by Josh Ritter, which is serious and excellent historical fiction, "The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All" took me off guard. But once i was in, it was a wild and crazy, emotional and moving, ride from start to finish. It is about lumbering (ie. lumberjacks and very large trees in the Northwest region of the US) in the early 1900's. The tale is narrated by ninety-something year old Weldon Applegate recollecting his memories of when he was a 13 year old boy, coming of age in the company of lumberjacks. The story frequently switches the time line, back and forth between 13 y.o. Weldon, an older Weldon, and "present day" ninety-something Weldon. Bringing in the viewpoints of a 13 y.o. boy makes the story larger than life, with some events and characters taking on supernatural status. Even after finishing the story, i'm left wondering what literally happened, and what happened in the mind of the teen Weldon. The wild and outrageous story line reminds me of some of the more famous Vonnegut stories ("Slaughterhouse Five" and "Cat's Cradle"), as well as Heller's "Catch-22". This is a great read that i'm probably going to re-read just so i pick up what i may have missed in the first go around. Another great, albeit different book from Josh Ritter!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey

    The GGG of it All was not the book I was expecting it to be and I flipping LOVED it! Josh Ritter really has a gift for story weaving. The story, stars Weldon Applegate (the best turn of the century name ever) as he recounts his life for the reader while he's on what maybe his death bed. Weldon's recounting of the early 20th Century and the dying trade of lumber jacking is both amazing and incredibly sad. Weldon really captures the way of life during that time and how it could all come crashing d The GGG of it All was not the book I was expecting it to be and I flipping LOVED it! Josh Ritter really has a gift for story weaving. The story, stars Weldon Applegate (the best turn of the century name ever) as he recounts his life for the reader while he's on what maybe his death bed. Weldon's recounting of the early 20th Century and the dying trade of lumber jacking is both amazing and incredibly sad. Weldon really captures the way of life during that time and how it could all come crashing down as "progress" continues to move forward. What I absolutely LOVED more than anything is the sense of magic we get from Weldon as he tells his tales. Parts, he admits, might have been because he was a young man, but mostly both Weldon and the reader are never REALLY sure if there was magic at work or if it was all in how Weldon's perspective was at the time. That's what really made this book feel so genuine to me, the slightly over the top details and humor throughout gave me the feeling it was my own grandfather narrating the novel and not the mind of Josh Ritter. Awesome book! ** Side note, any violence written in the novel is done very well and Weldon's changing understanding of what is happening/ what happened is noted throughout.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike W

    Very entertaining quick read. Gives a glimpse of what lumberjacking must have been like "back in the day" before power tools. John Ritter is a very talented writer, of course. For example: "Memory has a way of growing things, of improving them. The hardships get harder, the good times get better and the whole damn arc of life takes on a mystic glow that only memory can give it.....There are things that get stuck in our heads that for some reason don't improve or grow out of all proportion. Nothing Very entertaining quick read. Gives a glimpse of what lumberjacking must have been like "back in the day" before power tools. John Ritter is a very talented writer, of course. For example: "Memory has a way of growing things, of improving them. The hardships get harder, the good times get better and the whole damn arc of life takes on a mystic glow that only memory can give it.....There are things that get stuck in our heads that for some reason don't improve or grow out of all proportion. Nothing sticks to these memories, nothing accrues to them. Maybe the first time you saw your lover's face is one. Maybe the night you caught the winning touchdown is another, or the cold afternoon you buried your father. You can't figure out just why, but they remain crystal clear when everything else in life is clouding over, turning to long shadows and receding into the mist of f#$king unreality and tall tale." Then later in the book, the main character Weldon, as an old man, reflects back on one of his favorite memories: "When memories that good slip through your fingers, then what really is the point of staying alive? Me, I remember every sweet thing about that moment in time. And it was sweet, all of it."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    For as much as I love Josh Ritter’s music, I disliked this book. I wonder if I listened to it as an audiobook narrated by Josh himself if I might have liked it more. One thing I like about his music is that many of his songs tell a story. This book did seem to have many lyrical qualities but I just never connected with the story. Weldon Applegate is a 99 year old man who tells us the story of his life, mostly about his time around age 13 during Prohibition when he lived among the lumberjacks. His For as much as I love Josh Ritter’s music, I disliked this book. I wonder if I listened to it as an audiobook narrated by Josh himself if I might have liked it more. One thing I like about his music is that many of his songs tell a story. This book did seem to have many lyrical qualities but I just never connected with the story. Weldon Applegate is a 99 year old man who tells us the story of his life, mostly about his time around age 13 during Prohibition when he lived among the lumberjacks. His dad owned the Lost Lot. It was a very steep piece of property that no one seemed to be able to log. Some tried, many died, including Weldon’s dad. After he died, Weldon contemplated selling the land but he didn’t want Linden Laughlin, who was a lumberjack of mythical qualities but who he felt was responsible for his dad’s death, to have it. So Weldon chose to stay on and log the land with the lumberjacks. Throughout Weldon’s life he also has a rivalry with Joe Mouffreau, a neighbor. These stories get woven in with the lumberjack stories. It took me forever to finish the book even though it was quite short. The last third moved along and was more interesting to me than the rest. I think some people will like the book, it has almost a 4 star average, but I just didn’t.

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