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Welcome to Hard Times by E. L. Doctorow
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Welcome to Hard Times (1960)

by E. L. Doctorow

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310835,978 (3.78)1

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A gritty, heartbreaking response to the quintessential western in which there is a hero who rides off into the sunset at the end, this novel is a meditation on how a person is supposed to deal with real evil and whether it is really always heroic to take a chance and be hopeful, particularly when you are taking a chance with other people's lives. It is also a terrifying and not-at-all-romantic glimpse at what it must have been like setting up a life in the wilderness. E.L. Doctorow turned out to be a master of writing about the American experience and about the things America is nostalgic about as a people. I was amazed at how skilled he was at that even in Welcome to Hard Times, his first novel. Highly recommended to anyone, even if you don't like westerns. ( )
  k8_not_kate | Aug 13, 2015 |
This is a very gritty Western. a small town, with all of its imperfections, is ravaged and then haunted by an ugly , very ugly incident. The narrator does what he can to repair the ravages and set the town back up, only to discover that one of the direct victims has been preparing a time-bomb. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 20, 2014 |
The bad man from Bodie comes in shoots everyone in town (almost), burns down the town and leaves. Most survivors up and leave, but a few stubborn survivors bravely regroup and stay on to form a new town. Only to find, on the verge of real prosperity, the bad man from Bodie comes back, shoots everyone in town (almost), burns the town down and leaves.

Reminded me of mass killings in the USA. You know, the bad kid living in a video games comes into school with a semi-automatic and shoots everyone he can, and then turns the gun on himself ....and there are great lamentations and memorials and calls for change.... only to find time passes, everyone forgets until different day, different door comes in the same bad kid with a semi-automatic, and shoots everyone he can. How many times can you be surprised?

Not too often, not really, and not until the Bad Man from Bodie comes into *your* town, with his attitude and his gun...
( )
  grheault | Jan 30, 2014 |
This is a brutal story unlike any pioneer tale I've ever come across. The characters who represent honest hard-working idealized Americans, are helpless. Evil wins. If there is anything redeeming it is the knowledge, both of his own motivations and those of his adopted family, that is gleaned by the narrator.
  Cyss | Jun 10, 2013 |
E. L. Doctorow’s debut is a short, intense novel of the early frontier. The small town of Hard Times is attacked by outlaws, but the citizens rebuild, always with a wary eye out for the return of the outlaws. Welcome to Hard Times shows us the early promise of Doctorow’s award winning career.
( )
  hayduke | Apr 3, 2013 |
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The man from Bodie drank down a half bottle of the Silver Sun's best ; that cleared the dust from his throat and then when Florence, who was a redhead, moved along the bar to him, he turned and grinned down at her.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812978226, Paperback)

Hard Times is the name of a town in the barren hills of the Dakota Territory. To this town there comes one day one of the reckless sociopaths who wander the West to kill and rape and pillage. By the time he is through and has ridden off, Hard Times is a smoking ruin. The de facto mayor, Blue, takes in two survivors of the carnage–a boy, Jimmy, and a prostitute, Molly, who has suffered unspeakably–and makes them his provisional family. Blue begins to rebuild Hard Times, welcoming new settlers, while Molly waits with vengeance in her heart for the return of the outlaw. Here is E. L. Doctorow’s debut novel, a searing allegory of frontier life that sets the stage for his subsequent classics.

“A forceful, credible story of cowardice and evil.”
–The Washington Post

“We are caught up with these people as real human beings.”
–Chicago Sun-Times

“Dramatic and exciting.”
The New York Times

“Terse and powerful.”
–Newsweek

“A taut, bloodthirsty read.”
–The Times Literary Supplement

“A superb piece of fiction.”
–The New Republic

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:38 -0400)

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