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Bless the Beasts and Children [Hardcover]

Glendon Fred Swarthout
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1971
Boys attending an Arizona camp decide to save a herd of buffalo.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Glendon Swarthout wrote sixteen novels, many of which were bestsellers and were made into films, among them Seventh Cavalry, They Came to Cordura, Where the Boys Are, Bless the Beasts & Children, and A Christmas to Remember. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and won a number of other awards, including the Western Writers Award for Lifetime Achievement. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Bane of Students Everywhere. June 17 2003
By Cambel
Back in the 60's when student leaders had as one of their standard chants "Don't Trust Anybody Over 30", they were specifically refereing to English teachers who, trying to relive their glory days assign insipid, heavy handed books like this that beat readers over the head with symbolism to make up for basic lack of plot or any entertainment value. The assigning of this book to students, rather than achieving the teachers of goal of trying to instill a 60's mindset in their studetns will more probably result in loathing for that teacher and in the English language as a whole for producing words that could be put together in so unappealing a form as this story.
The book is typical, misfits and bedwetters, go to camp, get picked on, see Buffalo slaughtered, sneak out, try to let them go, then of course since the author wants to make SURE that we understand the viewpoint that Group A is bad and Group B is good, has one of the children shot while trying to free the buffalo. Yeah, thats worth skipping class for.
Buy this book if you want to become a misfit bedwetting animal activist.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Awkward But Still Surprisingly Relevant Nov. 6 2002
The 1960s and 1970s produced numerous "socially relevant" novels. One of the most popular of these was Glendon Swarthout's BLESS THE BEASTS AND THE CHILDREN, a novel that raised a number of issues re social status quos, its impact on children, and its impact on the enviroment. Few novels of this type have survived the passing years unscathed, and this one is no exception--but sadly, and particularly in light of such recent events as the Columbine shootings, the novel still has a surprising degree of relevance even today.
The story concerns a group of misfit boys who have been dumped into a summer camp by largely unconcerned parents and who find themselves ostracized and reviled by both camp instructors and the other boys. Constantly berrated and harrassed, they are designated "The Bedwetters" and are relegated to the fringe of camp activities. During a field trip, the boys are taken to see a corralled herd of buffalo--and are horrified when the buffalo are slaughtered before them. They resolve to escape the camp overnight, return to the corral, and free the remaining buffalo before they too can be killed. As the story of their trip unfolds, the novel flashes back to revel the background of each of boy and describes how they evolved into the personalities they have become--and in a real sense, the adventure they undertake ultimately validates the worth of each, as the differences that the status quo perceives as weakness actually becomes the strengths that motivate and aid them on their journey. But their determination to free the buffalo will come at a terrific price, a higher price than any of them can imagine.
As literature per se, the novel has several weaknesses.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The End of Innocence... April 30 2002
By A Customer
Like a Separate Peace and Lord of the Flies, Bless the Beasts and Children is a story of growing up and human nature. The complexities of each character: John Cotton, Teft, Goodenow, Shrecker, Lally I and Lally II, are shown in flashbacks of their lives. Cotton, a scowling, tough fifteen-year-old boy who leads the "Bedwetters" through the taunts of the other tribes in the camp, adopts the other boys into his cabin and tries to teach them how to survive. Teft, the supercool car thief, fourteen, hotwires cars to solve the transportation problem that the boys face when running away. Goodenow is the mama's boy, the crybaby, the wimp. Shrecker is desperate to impress his father and recieves only his father's abuse and contempt. Lally I is a psychotic fourteen year old boy who is obsessively jealous of his younger and more innocent brother, Lally II, who makes friends with special people called Ooms who live in his parents sauna. These boys ARE the Bedwetters, the losers, the freaks at the boy's camp they are staying at. After seeing the slaughter of buffalos one day, Lally II runs away from camp and leads the boys on the adventure of their lives, which ultimately ends with the boys' rediscovery of themselves and the heroic death of Cotton, driving over the canyon edge in a blaze of glory and defiance towards the people who tried to subdue him in like the buffalo. This book is funny, touching, and very, very sad. It is not nearly as frightening as Lord of the Flies, nor as truly character descriptive as A Separate Peace-- the book makes it clear you are to form your own opinions of the boys-- but like Ralph and Phineas, Bless the Beasts & Children offers a bit of the golden boy in the tough as hell John Cotton and the metaphorical Lally II. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars This was a good book. Dec 2 2001
By Marcea
I chose to read Bless the Beasts and Children as a novel in my English II class. I chose this book not knowing what I was going to be reading. After I began to read the introduction I knew I would enjoy this story.
The way Glendon Swarthout chose his words for each individual character made it seem like they were appropriate for the characters age. He didn't seem to put himself in the characters, it seemed realistic. I enjoyed the way Swarthout put flashbacks, a little more detail and thoughts in italics. I thought that was new.
The book didn't seem boring to me at all. I know how some books the tempo of the book goes up and down, up and down, but this book seemed to keep its rhythm. The way the kids worked together in the worst of times and how Cotton took the lead when the "bedwetters" were uneasy, was a great thing to see throughout the entire book. There were many lessons that you could learn from the "bedwetters". I really enjoyed this book and I would definately read it again.
This book is good for teenagers. I felt a connection to the characters becuase they were around my age and the things they did would seem like some of the things I would do if I was in that situation in that enviorment.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bless the Beasts and Children review
I chose to read Bless the Beasts and Children as a novel in my English II class. I chose this book not knowing what I was going to be reading. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2001 by Marcea
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but the Author is a little patronizing....
I'm sick of the whining about the flashbacks. They are put in italics, for crying out loud! Is that so difficult to comprehend? Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2001 by Chris Hughes
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is pretty interesting.
I read this book for a class at my high school, and as soon as I read the introduction, I knew it would be interesting and a good book to read. Read more
Published on March 15 2001 by BJ Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Bless the Beasts & Children: One of the Best Books Ever
"Bless the Beasts and Children" is a very good book. It is very well written. As soon as you read the well-constructed introduction as well as the first page, you'll be... Read more
Published on March 10 2001 by Lakielya Dunlap
5.0 out of 5 stars A real life expierence
This book was amazing. I believe it is extremely helpful for teens discovering themselves, where they fit in in the world, and how their own past has effected them. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars Could it get any more boring
I read the book in English class and it was very pointless. I did not like the plot of the story or the setting. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2000 by "24machete"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book For Young Adults
Swarthout's prose is unconventional, but effective in telling the story of several teenage boys who have difficulty adjusting when they are removed from their dysfunctional home... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2000 by Kelley Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Something For Everyone
To really enjoy this book I think you have to be in the right mindset-for people expecting a childish adventure or mature pyschological interpretation, disappointment is all... Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2000 by Avid Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars i read it in english class
this book was obviously written by the author to be so full of trippy flashbacks and obscure references that everyone would assume that it was "deep" and not try to... Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2000 by leotta brown
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