Detailed view for the Book: Bless the Beasts & Children


Bless the Beasts & Children



Coming of Age
Young Adult


Review Author
Glendon Fred Swarthout - Bless the Beasts and Children 7 {unrated} teege2006


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# Date Publisher Binding Cover
1 1970-00-00 Doubleday  

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Bless the Beasts & Children became far and away Glendon Swarthout"s biggest bestseller, never out-of-print from the day it was published in 1970, and is probably his masterpiece. It has been published in foreign languages all over the world, even in Romania, twenty-five years later! Bless the Beasts & Children has sold well over 2 million paperbacks in the United States alone. The novel was nominated by Doubleday as its Pulitzer Prize candidate in fiction in 1970. The film by Stanley Kramer in 1972 was not nearly as successful, but did contain some famous film music. Based upon his only son"s adventures in high school and as a summer camper and counselor at a private boys" ranch camp in Prescott, Arizona, Bless the Beasts & Children tells a tragicomic tale of a group of disturbed teenaged boys from over-privileged families who are "warehoused" by their inattentive parents at a summer session at an Arizona boys camp in hopes that their lazy, urban kids will be toughened-up in this camp"s rigorous, cowboy program. While on a field trip with their militaristic counselor, Wheaties, the boys see an annual buffalo "hunt" sponsored by the Arizona Fish and Game Department, in which their counselor has drawn a permit. Sickened by the slaughter of these great beasts while trapped in big pens by these "sportsmen," the youths resolve to save the next days" allotment. Riding from their camp later that day on their horses, the boys steal a pickup in Prescott and head on up to Flagstaff on their mission-of-mercy. Complications arise, but these problem boys band together and manage to free these national symbols, but only after strenuous effort and at great cost. Glendon Swarthout"s more positive response to William Golding"s classic novel, Lord of the Flies, and Golding"s thesis that all men are basically beasts, stands as one of the first contemporary bestsellers to take up the cause of animal rights. It remains to this day one of the few controversial novels which ever resulted in some political change and social good -- the Arizona legislature mandated changing the regulation of their annual buffalo hunt to more humane practices due to the student protests resulting from this book and film. Glendon"s theme that even a group of misfit youths, if banded together in common cause, were capable of a great, heroic deed, still resonates strongly with American teenagers and their teachers, and this classic novel is still mandatory reading in many English literature classrooms across the country today. cc

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