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The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie…

The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton (1998)

by Jane Smiley

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1,1472110,796 (3.54)43
  1. 00
    The Colour by Rose Tremain (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these books focus on pioneer women, whose previous lives have done nothing to prepare them for the new difficulties and tasks which face them, and how they match up to their new life.

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Overall, a good read! - I'd recommend it to Jane Smiley fans who like her wide range of novels. Good narrative description of an historical context that I was not aware of. The book started a bit slow, but the reader gradually became interested in the Lidie and what she was in the midst of..#JaneSmiley ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Sep 8, 2016 |
The shortcoming of the audio book: Lidie knows how to pronounce "pince-nez" but not "Derbyshire." Which I guess might fit the character and her times, though if you Americanize the pronunciation of the county wouldn't you Americanize that of the spectacles?

This was a fine entertainment. Some bits dragged more than is ideal, but in audio, that doesn't bother me as much as in print.

I enjoy Jane Smiley almost always. Age of Grief didn't work for me, but its format -- three novellas -- worked against it as much as the novellas' content (misery).

Is it perverse of me that Greenlanders and Moo rank ahead of A Thousand Acres? I'm not sure whether this would be third or fourth, but "fourth" isn't so bad considering she's one of my favorite authors. I've read six of her books (and of them, Age of Grief ranks about eleventh) and I next look forward to Horse Heaven, which she said in 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel was her own favorite to write.

A reviewer on Amazon said this was taught in U.S. history classes. That makes a lot of sense, because it's a great perspective on what is, for me, an obscure element in the lead-up to the Civil War. Missouri Compromise, okay, but after that the fate of Kansas and Missouri is a blank.
  ljhliesl | Jun 1, 2013 |
I love books that give me a new perspective on history, compelling characters, and viewpoints that shift and show nuances throughout the story. Terrific. Appreciate the careful historical research that went into this (Kansas Territory just prior to the Civil War, with the race issue building) and that the story is told from the viewpoint of a character without a concrete point of view, who changes as she lives through events. A really good read -- I didn't want the book to end. ( )
  bjellis | Dec 30, 2012 |
I was fascinated by this account of a spirited young women's trek through the events of the Border War period in Kansas and Missouri. Lidie escapes the oppressive oversight of her family by marrying a man who is heading out to the Kansas territory. Lidie is excited about her new life, especially since she becomes genuinely fond of her new husband, but when they arrive in Kansas they find hardship after hardship awaiting them. Still, Lidie enjoys the peaceful times on their homestead. But when when the border ruffians attack the settlers, Lidie finds herself heartbroken. Soon she begins an altogether different journey.
It took a while for me to get into this, but after the first 50 pages I got sucked it it was really fascinating. Being in the same geographic location added to my enjoyment of the story, the vivid scenes of life in Lawrence during the 1800's seemed so real. The early settlers to our state really went through a lot! Lidie is certainly a compelling character, I could not believe how much she endured and how she just kept going. It made for an enjoyable discussion at our book group. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys well though out historical fiction and/or fiction that explores how ideals affect the life of the individual. ( )
  debs4jc | Dec 19, 2011 |
This follows Lidie through her marriage and travel to Kansas Territory and then to Missouri in search of three murderers. It takes place in antebellum American at a time when it was dangerous to voice one's opinions on the "goose question," i.e. slavery. Aside from the free-stater vs. Missourian animosity which often erupted in violence, it was a seriously dangerous place to live simply because of the elements and disease.

I have a bachelor's in history and studied this period in American history, however I never went this in depth into the troubles in Kansas Territory. It's very clear, reading this book, that Jane Smiley did a great deal of research for Lidie's story, which is something that always gains my respect for an author. Even better, the narrative doesn't get lost in the history: Lidie's adventures are completely relatable.

My book club enjoyed the book quite a bit, mostly for the historical aspect. Personally, I liked the book, but found the ending depressing. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend, he said, "With that subject matter I can easily imagine…" He's right, of course. It's not a period of history filled with sunshine and unicorns. Nevertheless, it's a very good book and I recommend it to anyone who digs historical novels. ( )
1 vote Jessiqa | May 30, 2011 |
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I have made up my mind to begin my account upon the first occasion when I truly knew where things stood with me, that is, that afternoon of the day my father, Arthur Harkness, was taken to the Quincy graveyard and buried with my mother, Cora Mary Harkness, and his first wife, Ella Harkness.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0449910830, Paperback)

All too often, this abridged version of the cassette edition of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton leaves the listener breathless. Jane Smiley's 450-page action-packed story of pioneers in the 1850s has been reduced, here, to four compact tapes, each one galloping across the prairie landscape of abolitionist politics and homesteading hardships with the abandon of the Pony Express. Read by actress Mare Winningham (Georgia, St. Elmo's Fire), the tale belongs entirely to its resilient heroine, Lidie Newton, whose whirlwind adventures begin with her marriage to abolitionist Thomas Newton and their departure for the Kansas Territory. There, the uneasy co-existence between emigrant abolitionists and pro-slavery Missourians is forever erupting, spewing forth disreputable characters and spirited subplots that tax even Lidie's tenacious optimism. Winningham has fun adding vocal nuance to this colorful cast, though Lidie emerges a little more refined on tape than she appears in print. In the interest of economy, the tapes also eliminate context-such as the overheated political backdrop for so many events or the private voices of the Newton marriage. Here is Lidie a few months into her marriage, in a passage omitted from this cassette: "Thus, I sat across from my husband. . .wondering whether he was the closed, dull, stiffly upright, and self-righteous person part of me seemed to see, or the pained, lonely, and worried person another part of me seemed to see." By losing these rare glimpses at an introspective Lidie, the tapes sacrifice the deeper dimensions of the book. Stripped of the more writerly Smiley, they leave, instead, a fast-paced, entertaining story, narrowly saved from melodrama by Lidie's clear-eyed view of matters and Smiley's fluid handling of the narrative. If you're not a purist, this abridged version offers a worthwhile diversion for a day's outing-with or without the kids.(5 Hours; 4 cassettes)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:13 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A novel on 1855 Bloody Kansas, an armed clash between slaveholders and abolitionists, often referred to as a prologue to the Civil War. The heroine is Lidie Newton, the wife of a slain abolitionist. Dressed as a boy, she embarks on a mission of revenge against his killer. By the author of Moo.… (more)

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