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Ben Ames Williams (1889–1953)

Author of Leave Her to Heaven

49+ Works 706 Members 12 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library

Works by Ben Ames Williams

Leave Her to Heaven (1944) 230 copies
The Strange Woman (1941) 109 copies
House Divided (1947) 85 copies
Come Spring (1940) 69 copies
The Unconquered (1953) 22 copies
Time of Peace (1942) 17 copies
Fraternity Village (1949) 15 copies
The Silver Forest (1926) 11 copies
Death on Scurvy Street (1929) 10 copies
Crucible (1937) 10 copies
Owen Glen (1950) 8 copies
Great Oaks (1930) 8 copies
It's a Free Country (1945) 7 copies
The happy end (1939) 7 copies
A Killer Among Us (1957) 6 copies
House Divided Volume Two (1947) 6 copies
The Dreadful Night (1928) 6 copies
Lady In Peril (1948) 6 copies
Mr. Secretary (1940) 5 copies
The Strumpet Sea (1951) 5 copies
Thread of scarlet (1939) 5 copies
Evered 4 copies
Splendor (1927) 4 copies
Mischief (1933) 3 copies
Touchstone 3 copies
Pirate's purchase (1931) 3 copies
Small town girl (1935) 2 copies
Audacity 2 copies
The sea bride (2015) 2 copies
Extraña mujer (1973) 1 copy
Good Form 1 copy
Skyrocket 1 copy
The Outsider 1 copy
Valley Vixen 1 copy
Honeyflow 1 copy
Money musk 1 copy

Associated Works

A Diary From Dixie (1905) — Editor, some editions — 598 copies
The Kenneth Roberts Reader (1900) — Introduction, some editions — 60 copies
Reading for Pleasure (1957) — Contributor — 49 copies
Prose and Poetry for Appreciation (1934) — Contributor — 45 copies
The World's Best One Hundred Detective Stories, Volume 2 (1929) — Contributor — 17 copies
A Treasury of Doctor Stories (1946) — Contributor — 9 copies
The Best Short Short Stories from Collier's (1948) — Contributor — 3 copies
Small Town Girl [1936 film] — Original book — 1 copy
The Avon Annual 1945: 18 Great Modern Stories (1945) — Contributor — 1 copy


19th century (16) American (12) American Civil War (27) American history (23) American literature (7) anthology (13) B.A. (9) biography (25) Civil War (105) Confederacy (15) diary (28) DVD (9) fiction (135) film noir (6) hardcover (10) HB (6) historical (11) historical fiction (22) history (80) journal (8) Kindle (6) literature (13) Maine (27) memoir (22) mystery (22) non-fiction (35) novel (7) PB (6) poetry (8) short stories (11) slavery (6) South (9) South Carolina (8) to-read (38) unread (8) US history (8) USA (8) war (6) Williams (11) women (17)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Williams, Ben Ames
Date of death



As another reviewer commented, Harland is a character who thinks with his penis. Ellen Harland is a master manipulator. This author certainly knows how to make you hate his character. Ellen is a well-fleshed-out character that is beautiful on the outside, and a hideous, reeking monster on the inside. The feeling I got from Richard Harland was of a wife-whipped man, but not much more. The last part, the court scenes, did drag on a bit. Overall, however, worth the read.
burritapal | 5 other reviews | Oct 23, 2022 |
All the Brothers Were Valiant originally appeared in Everybody's Magazine (April and May 1919) with evocative illustrations by N. C. Wyeth and released as a book the same year. The setting is a whaling ship during the 1850s in the South Pacific, and is a pulpy melodrama concerning a conflict between two brothers over money, a woman and power. One brother is a rouge, the other upstanding. It wraps up neatly and quickly, though not believable, is a soothing balm from reality.

The story was subsequently made into three movies (1923, 1928, 1953). The 1923 silent starred Lon Chaney and is now lost, destroyed in an MGM fire in 1965. It was faithful to the book. It was remade in 1928 as Across to Singapore with changes to the plot but with the same character names and themes, starring Joan Crawford. It was remade again in 1953 in Technicolor starring Elizabeth Taylor's brother Robert (but not Elizabeth who declined a part). It's remarkable this was filmed three times. It's not that strong as a novel, but the 1953 film version is an improvement, smoothing over some rough spots.

A war between brothers is in both title and author. The title is derived from an epitaph by William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1593-1676) to his wife Margaret, the later had three valiant brothers who fought in the English Civil War: "It was a noble family, for all the Brothers were Valiant, and all the Sisters virtuous". Williams was born in Mississippi a relative of Confederate General Longstreet, though Maine became his adopted home. His most serious work is a two volume multi-generational epic on the (American) Civil War, House Divided which he worked on up to his death. He was most popular during the 1920s with magazine short stories in the Saturday Evening Post, where he pushed boundaries on what was possible with the form.
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Stbalbach | 1 other review | Mar 19, 2021 |
My parents were both avid readers and often discussed their reading choices with me. This is probably why I have an appreciation for classic literature between the 1930s to the 1970s.
Leave Her to Heaven by Ben Ames William is one such classic, published in 1944. I had previously read two of his historical fiction novels and was excited to listen to an audiobook of one of his other works. I was rewarded with another excellent story.

Leave Her to Heaven does not actually have any dates in terms of specific years. I have tried to date it by the omission of any mention of war, the existence of airplanes, Warm Springs operating as a polio institution, and have come up with anywhere between the 1920s to the late 1930’s. I tried researching it to pin it down but was unable to.

The main character is Harland. He is a successful author, raised in privilege. Since the death of his parents, he now supports his younger brother Danny who is recovering from infantile paralysis, polio. Harland is in his thirties and Danny is thirteen. They have a very close relationship before Danny is sick and afterwards they become even closer. They keep each other strong as they struggle with Danny’s recovery.

Harland’s relationship with Danny lives at the heart of the book. He is not a person seeking fulfillment in a relationship. He tries to keep Danny as active as he can be and tries to find activities they can do together. When he and Danny are invited to a friend’s ranch in the west, Danny encourages Harland to go although he cannot accompany him. As Harland travels by train, he notices a beautiful woman reading his latest book. This beautiful woman, Ellen, is headed to the same ranch he is.

When they meet on the way out to the ranch, Harland is enchanted by her beauty. Ellen immediately sets her cap for him even though she is engaged to a lawyer in Maine. At the ranch, Ellen’s sister, Ruth and mother, watch as Ellen manipulates her way into marrying Harland before they leave the ranch. He is not truly in love with her but allows himself to be swept of his feet.

Ellen will stop at nothing to possess all of Harland. She is jealous of his brother, his writing, or anything that she is not wholly the focus of. It is a fascinating study of a woman whose possessiveness becomes deadly. While some characters realize there is something wrong with Ellen, others are easily manipulated to fulfill her plans. No one is safe while Ellen breathes. Or even after.

Mike Dennis does a wonderful job narrating the book. He does a great job with the male vs. female voices. The language in the book reflects the time period in which it was written. Mr. Dennis handles the dated language well. It flows and seems very natural. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by Mr. Dennis. The production quality was excellent.

Audiobook provided in exchange for fair review.
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nhalliwell | 5 other reviews | Nov 13, 2016 |



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