The Englishman's Boy

The Englishman's Boy

Paperback - 2009
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Originally published in 1996, The Englishman's Boy is the first in a Guy Vanderhaeghe trilogy that includes the nationally best-selling novel The Last Crossing, with the third book due to be published next year. By far his most successful book in his native Canada, The Englishman's Boy expertly depicts an American West where greed and deception act side by side with honor and strength. In 1920s Hollywood, elusive movie studio owner Damon Ira Chance is obsessed with making pictures rooted in American history and experience, with the poetry of fact. So when he discovers that one of the most popular bit players in the Westerns is a real-life tin god--the last buffalo of the old West, Shorty McAdoo--he commissions an ambitious young screenwriter named Harry Vincent to hunt Shorty down and retell his story. Richly textured and evocative, this is an unforgettable story about power, greed, and the pull of dreams. At once an intensely original character study and a hugely entertaining page-turner, The Englishman's Boy is a gritty, resonant novel of timeless beauty and insight.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, [2009], c1996.
ISBN: 9780802144102
Characteristics: 333 p. : 1 map ; 21 cm.
Alternative Title: English-man's boy


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timbert Mar 29, 2015

Full of violence, lusts for vengeance & personal gain with very few glimpses of better side of human nature.
Couldn't finish, depressing

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 07, 2014

This novel is two beautifully intertwined stories of the old West: the brutal era of the Cypress Hills Indian massacre, and the early days of Hollywood with its megalomaniac directors and visions of the great American film. So full of history and full-blooded characters, it haunts your memories long after you've turned the last page.

brianreynolds Sep 12, 2014

With no pride at all, I’ll confess that year after year I failed to instil in my patient grade eights some appreciation that the Northwest Mounted Police came into being largely as a result of a massacre in the Cypress Hills region of what was to become Saskatchewan. It should have been interesting, I thought—well, more interesting than the Father’s of Confederation or the importance of red fife wheat to prairie farmers. Well, no wonder. I knew nothing of Shorty McAdoo or Fine Man or Rachel Gold. I hadn’t heard of Guy Vanderhaegue, didn’t know how he could serenade a reader as sweetly as Gene Autry could sing a ballad, could rivet one’s attention and wrench one’s gut in the same paragraph. Had no idea the Mounties had nearly nothing to do with it. The Englishman’s Boy is not the stuff of Hollywood, but the stuff of a Pete Seeger. I had no idea this story was so real that only fiction could capture its truth.

Oct 26, 2011

wonderful book, great writing, horses and cowboys,
Shorty McAdoo, an uncompromising old guy from the Old Canadian West, who has twice been used by those in power, is lured to Hollywood by the promise of easy money, but is tragically betrayed.

Mar 13, 2011

Winner of the Governor General’s Award in Canada. Absolutely brilliant! Based on historical fact, this quietly compelling story of the Englishman’s Boy meanders between the Wild West of the 1870’s and 1920s Hollywood. A luminous novel, deftly crafted. Highly recommended!


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