Sand Pebbles

( 10 )

Overview

This now-classic novel by Richard McKenna enjoyed great critical acclaim and commercial success when it was first published in 1962. The winner of the coveted Harper Prize, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for seven months and was made into a popular motion picture that continues to be shown on television today.

Set in China on the eve of revolution, the book tells the story of an old U.S. Navy gunboat, the San Pablo, and her dedicated crew of "Sand Pebbles" on ...

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The Sand Pebbles

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Overview

This now-classic novel by Richard McKenna enjoyed great critical acclaim and commercial success when it was first published in 1962. The winner of the coveted Harper Prize, it was on the New York Times bestseller list for seven months and was made into a popular motion picture that continues to be shown on television today.

Set in China on the eve of revolution, the book tells the story of an old U.S. Navy gunboat, the San Pablo, and her dedicated crew of "Sand Pebbles" on patrol in the far reaches of the Yangtze River to show the flag and protect American missionaries and businessmen from bandits. The plot revolves around a newcomer to the boat, machinist's mate Jake Holman, a maverick and loner who dramatically alters the lives of the crew and the people they have come to save. A faithful engine-room coolie and a pretty young missionary help Holman gain an appreciation of China and its people and discover a world of humanity and promise he has never known. It is a story of old loyalties versus new values, of violence and tenderness, tragedy and humor, and it engages the reader from the first line to the last. This new paperback edition includes in informative introduction by Robert Shenk, written for the Naval Institute's Classics of Naval Literature edition in 1984.

About the Author:
Richard McKenna enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1931 and served in the Far East for ten years, including two on a Yangtze River gunboat. The Sand Pebbles was his first novel, an accomplishment he had not duplicated at the time of his death in 1964.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060129101
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1963

Meet the Author

Richard McKenna was born in Idaho in 1913. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1931 to help support his mother and younger brothers and spent over twenty years in the Navy, serving for a while in China on a gunboat that patrolled the Yangtze River. He drew on his personal experiences for his book The Sand Pebbles.

After retiring from service, McKenna attended the University of North Carolina on the G.I. Bill and, after settling in Chapel Hill, he began publishing science fiction stories but it wasn't until after publication of The Sand Pebbles in 1962 that McKenna's work really began to take root. The novel won the Harper's Award in 1963 and spent 28 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It was also serialized in The Saturday Evening Post and was later adapted into a film of the same name.

McKenna died suddenly of a heart attack in 1964 at the age of only fifty-one. He was working on his second novel at the time. He was posthumously awarded the Nebula award for his outstanding work in the genre of science fiction.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003

    you can't beat reading this classic!

    running out of reading material as I go from paper bound to MS Reader on IPAQ (why would you read ANYTHING else?) I downloaded this classic for spare change vs 20 bucks. Man, what a book! The vivid scenery of China pre WWII, the misfortunes of lifes turns and tragedy of Shakespear proportions. Read or reread - you won't regret it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2000

    One of the best novels I have ever read.

    excellent character development, interesting historical context, solid drama. I would put this on a par with anything in print, and I'm a very picky reader.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2000

    Loved it.

    Any reader who enjoyed James Clavel or Mitchner will enjoy this novel. It offers an excellent historical picture of china in the 30's, along with complex characters and an interesting plot.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Tremendous book

    --- and movie

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    A classic. It does for the prewar navy what From Here to Eternit

    A classic. It does for the prewar navy what From Here to Eternity did for the prewar army. Jake Holman and Pruitt are brothers under the skin.The movie The Sand Pebbles is a classic, too.Steve McQueen was Jake Holman. He should have had the Best Actor award.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    Classic movies

    Read the book many years ago & watched the movie so many times shows character counts.the soundtrack is outstanding
    & that steve mcqueen should have won the oscar.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

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