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Slaughter
     

Slaughter

by Elmer Kelton
 

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In the 1870s, buffalo hunters moved onto the High Plains of Texas. The Plains Indians watched hunters slaughter the animals that gave them shelter and clothing, food and weapons. The battles at and near the ruins of a trading fort, Adobe Walls, became symbolic of the struggles between hunters and the Comanche.

In this aptly titled novel, Texas novelist Elmer

Overview


In the 1870s, buffalo hunters moved onto the High Plains of Texas. The Plains Indians watched hunters slaughter the animals that gave them shelter and clothing, food and weapons. The battles at and near the ruins of a trading fort, Adobe Walls, became symbolic of the struggles between hunters and the Comanche.

In this aptly titled novel, Texas novelist Elmer Kelton shows his uncanny ability to present both sides of a clash between cultures. With a firm grasp of Comanche life, Kelton presents The People as very human and very threatened. Equally clear is the picture of Anglos found on the high plains in those days—Jeff Layne, a Confederate veteran and now a fugitive; Nigel Smithwick, an English “second son” and gambler, Arletta, the lone woman among these men (one woman was at Adobe Walls).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The title of this absorbing new novel by the author of Honor at Daybreak refers to the extermination of the buffalo, which once roamed the American prairies in herds so vast that they covered miles of territory like carpets. The creature's days are numbered as the book opens, with the Civil War ended and the country again focused on Manifest Destiny. Thrown from a train in Kansas by irate victims of his prowess with cards, English gambler Nigel Smithwick is saved from death in the desert by former Confederate soldier Jeff Layne. The pair team up as buffalo hunters, and inevitably they clash with the Comanche Indians, whose traditional way of life is threatened by white hunters's mass killing. Kelton deftly handles both sides of the conflict, displaying a more-than-passing knowledge of Native American culture and eloquently capturing the post-Civil War tension between erstwhile northerners and southerners now making new lives in the West. Well written and fast-paced, this powerful, moving novel proceeds inexorably toward the extinction of the great herds and of the indigenous peoples' way of life. It will attract readers who enjoyed the epic sweep of such grand western sagas as Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove and Harry Combs's Brules. ( Nov. )
Wes Lukowsky
The author, an oft-honored veteran of the western genre, has produced a tale of epic proportions. Set on the Great Plains shortly after the end of the Civil War, the story focuses on the intertwining lives of a half dozen characters. Among them are Jeff Layne, a bitter, middle-aged Confederate veteran; Crow Feather, a proud Comanche warrior; Sully, a recently freed slave; and Arletta Browder, a displaced easterner who takes over her dead father's buffalo-hunting business. It is buffalo that throw them all together, the whites hoping to slaughter the great beasts for profit, the Indians hoping to preserve a way of life that requires the buffalo's survival. Unfortunately, Kelton's reach exceeds his grasp: he intends his novel to be "Lonesome Dove", but he ends up with a long episode of "Gunsmoke." Still, there's nothing wrong with "Gunsmoke." This is an intelligent, well-written novel that, while overly ambitious, will please western fans and may even reach an audience outside the genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875653716
Publisher:
Texas Christian University Press
Publication date:
09/05/2008
Series:
Texas Tradition Series , #40
Pages:
374
Sales rank:
1,342,134
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author


Elmer Kelton was voted All-Time Greatest Western Author by Western Writers of America, Inc. He has received seven Spur Awards for fiction from WWA, including one for Slaughter, four Western Heritage (Wrangler) Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum, and lifetime achievement awards from WWA, the western American Literature Association, and the Texas Institute of Letters. A former agricultural journalist, he is the author of about fifty novels. He and his wife, Ann, live in San Angelo.

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