Customer Reviews (7)
Easily one of my favorite books
I love any book about dogs and have read pretty much anything I could find. I grew up reading the Terhune "Lad" series, Lassie, etc. and later I got involved in the Project Gutenberg project and started looking for dog books that were in the public domain that could be included, including some early Terhune books, Beautiful Joe, Greyfriars Bobby, etc. That's how I cam across Bob, Son of Battle. I was put off at first by the English dialect that it is written in, but soon became engrossed in what I soon realized was not so much a dog story, as one about a man and the failed relationship with his son. It is one of the best books I've read that explores the complexity of personality and how there is good and bad in all of us, but how easily things can unbalance to the wrong side. How difficult it can be sometimes for parents and children to communicate well. There are scenes in this book that really stay with you for the emotional impact they have. Anyone that loves great literature will enjoy this book, it is a real treasure that stands up the test of time as well as anything else I've read.
Fascinating character study
Bob, Son of Battle is an old-fashioned tale, very enjoyable on a literal level, that rises to nearly epic proportions when examined as a character study. A story of shepherds and their dogs in northern England in the late nineteenth century, this book paints a fine portrait of faithful, skillful Bob and his gentle master, James Moore, but where the author truly shines is in his portrayal of Moore's and Bob's antagonists, the crotchety Adam M'Adam and his evil-tempered Red Wull. A book worth reading for its portrait of a century-old culture; of sheepdogs, their work, and the thrilling annual quest for the Dale Cup; and of a pitiful old man who is more complex than he at first seems.
I didn't enjoy it one bit but I might in the future so I'm keeping it. It didn't make much sence and it hardly had anything to do with dogs.
more than a tale of man and dog
I've read all of the usual classic dog stories, ie, Lassie Come Home,Call of the Wild (a personal favorite), White Fang and most of the Albert Payson Terhune books (Lad, A Dog etc). As you may surmise, dogs have been a close part of mylife (for over 60 years). I saw the movie (Thunder in the Valley) based on this book, Bob, Son of Battle in 1947 when it was first released. The movie struck home because of the theme which roughly paralled this book and I never forgot it. I had the book in my library as a young boy and tried to read it several times but could not wade thru or understand some of the dialect so I never finished it then. I recently obtained a copy of the book and can say that this is one of the very best novels I have read. It is more than a tale of two men and their shepherd dogs or good vs. evil. The character of Adam MacAdam is more than that of a mean (or even evil) man. The description of MacAdam as he says goodbye to his dying wife will show that. And later in life, his soliloquoy to his fellow shepherders about his loneliness, the alienation from his son, his isolation, the loss of the coveted Dalesman cup etc. gives some insight to his feelings. The very last sentence of the the last page of the book stopped me in my tracks.
Good Versus Evil
The best dog story ever written, bar none (I'm including Lassie Come Home and The Call of the Wild). What makes it so are two things: detail and duality. The book works on two levels, with one level being a very realistically drawn portrait of the lives of the shepherds of England's Yorkshire dales, and the other being a interlocking tale of two men, one good and the other evil, and their dogs, also good and evil, respectively.
What really kicks this story up a notch from the usual dog story is the depth of the good-and-evil theme, with the point being that in even the best of men there are weaknesses, and that in even the worst of men there are strengths.
A thinking man's dog story, and a parable of tolerance far ahead of its time.
Note: The dialogue is written in the vernacular of the place and time (late nineteenth century England), and is not always easy to wade through. It's well worth doing so, however.
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