“Simple, unadorned, the prose flows fluidly and rhythmically, power emerging from its simplicity, striking you with the impact of a bullet… Strongly recommended.”
“I have to put in a plea to everyone not to consign Conrad Richter's books to the dustbin of history. His trilogy, the Awakening Land, which concludes with The Town (the 1951 Pulitzer winner), is a wonderful combination of history and folklore. The books tell the story of the Ohio frontier, a story I rather doubt most high school students now know, given that--to them--"the frontier" is the Wild West of the movies. When you read these dark and atmospheric novels about one woman's family (also the story of one place's history), you absorb the feeling of that early frontier life. I credit these novels with sparking a life-long interest in the Ohio frontier and the early Westward movement. They should live! (Thanks to Ohio University Press for keeping them in print.) ”
Jean Ross, Potomac Community Library, Virginia, Shelf Awareness
In the final novel of Richter’s Awakening Land trilogy, Sayward Wheeler completes her mission and lives to see the transition of her family and her friends, American pioneers, from the ways of wilderness to the ways of civilization. The Town, for which Richter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951, is a much bigger book in every way than its predecessors; it is itself a rich contribution to literature and with the other novels comprises a great American epic.
Conrad Richter was born in Pennsylvania. His family on his mother’s side was identified with the early American scene, and from boyhood on he was saturated with tales and the color of Eastern pioneer days. In 1928 he and his family moved to New Mexico, where his heart and mind were soon captured by the Southwest. The Sea of Grass and The Trees were awarded the gold medal of the Societies of Libraries of New York University in 1942. More info →
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The story of the American mining frontier can be traced in the ghost towns — from the camps of California's forty-niners to the twentieth-century ruins in the Nevada desert. They mark an epoch of high adventure, of quick wealth and quicker poverty, of gambling and gun-slinging and hell-raising.
Conrad Richter's trilogy of novels The Trees (1940), The Fields (1946), and The Town, (1950) traces the transformation of Ohio from wilderness to farmland to the site of modern industrial civilization, all in the lifetime of one character. The trilogy earned Richter immediate acclaim as a historical novelist. The Town won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1951, and The Trees was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection soon after it was published.
Toward the close of the eighteenth century, the land west of the Alleghenies and north of the Ohio River was an unbroken sea of trees. Beneath them the forest trails were dark, silent, and lonely, brightened only by a few lost beams of sunlight. Here, in the first novel of Conrad Richter's Awakening Land trilogy, the Lucketts, a wild, woods-faring family, lived their roaming life, pushing ever westward as the frontier advanced and as new settlements threatened their isolation.