Penrod Schofield is the epitome of a precocious twelve-year-old: crafty in his dealings developing a business and mischievous in his interactions at the local grammar school. He is neither a rascal nor a paragon of virtue, but rather an ordinary boy growing up in a rural early-nineteenth-century Indiana town. In these comic sketches by Booth Tarkington, it is up to Penrod, along with his dog, Duke, and friends Sam, Herman, and Verman, to rescue themselves from countless scrapes and humiliations—usually of the adults’ making.
Penrod is deliriously effective in its evocation both of an earlier era and of the unfettered joy of being a young man in a world of bikes, cap guns, and cranky authority figures. Tarkington’s heartwarming story highlights the naiveté of youth—and the hypocrisy of adulthood.
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One of the most popular American authors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Pulitzer Prize winner Booth Tarkington was acclaimed for his novels set in small Midwestern towns. Penrod tells of a boy growing up in Indianapolis at the turn of the twentieth century. His friends and his dog accompany him on his many jaunts, from the stage as “the Child Sir Lancelot,” to the playground, to school. They make names for themselves as “bad boys” who always have the most fun. Nearly a century after it was first published to incredible popularity and acclaim, Penrod remains wildly funny and entertaining to adults and children alike.
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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize when it was first published in 1918, The Magnificent Ambersons chronicles the changing fortunes of three generations of an American dynasty. The protagonist of Booth Tarkington's great historical drama is George Amberson Minafer, the spoiled and arrogant grandson of the founder of the family's magnificence. Eclipsed by a new breed of developers, financiers, and manufacturers, this pampered scion begins his gradual descent from the midwestern aristocracy to the working class.
Today The Magnificent Ambersons is best known through the 1942 Orson Welles movie, but as the critic Stanley Kauffmann noted, "It is high time that [the novel] appear again, to stand outside the force of Welles's genius, confident in its own right."
"The Magnificent Ambersons is perhaps Tarkington's best novel," judged Van Wyck Brooks. "[It is] a typical story of an American family and town--the great family that locally ruled the roost and vanished virtually in a day as the town spread and darkened into a city. This novel no doubt was a permanent page in the social history of the United States, so admirably conceived and written was the tale of the Ambersons, their house, their fate and the growth of the community in which they were submerged in the end."
At once an exciting chronicle of a family's rise to fortune and its tortured downfall, it is also a fascinating portrait of the forces that shaped American society.
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Beasley's Christmas Party
The Beautiful Lady
The Conquest of Canaan
The Gentleman From Indiana
The Gibson Upright
The Guest of Quesnay
Harlequin and Columbine
His Own People
In the Arena
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Man from Home
Penrod and Sam
The Two Vanrevels
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize after it was first published in 1918, Tarkington's powerful social commentary traces America's economic growth through the declining fortunes of three generations of the successful and socially prominent Amberson family. Set in a fictional Midwestern town during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries--the epic story follows the Ambersons' downward spiraling fortunes during a period of rapid industrialization and socio-economic change in America.
George Amberson Minafer, the arrogant heir to the family's wealth, illustrates the corrupting influence of greed and materialism at a time when the swiftly turning wheels of industry and commerce are overtaking old ways. Definitions of ambition, success, and loyalty are also changing. Almost overnight the prestige of the Ambersons irreversibly changes as well. An exciting chronicle of one family's accumulation of wealth and subsequent downfall, the book also paints a fascinating portrait of the forces that shaped modern American society.
The Magnificent Ambersons is mainly told from George's point of view, with all of the nostalgic and romantic trappings of his family's fading legacy. There are two tragically interwoven love stories which frankly can get melodramatic at parts, but anyone with an interest in this period in history and quality literature will enjoy this well-wrought tale. Though the city described in the novel is made up, it was based on Indianapolis and the neighborhood in which Tarkington lived, Woodruff Place.