Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (42)
Ed, Lewis, Bobby and Drew are Georgia suburbanites in search of adventure, so they decide to canoe down the wild Cahulawasee River before it is dammed up forever. The boys, as most everyone knows from the terrific movie, soon stumble upon more adventure than they had anticipated and find themselves at war with several denizens of the backwoods country. These four men are forced to confront the central question at the core of the male being: how would I react if I was confronted by physical danger and heroism was required.
Ed, the narrator and hero of the book, finds upon returning home that his entire life has improved. By performing well during the crisis, he has built up a personal reservoir of confidence that he continues to draw upon.
Contrast Ed with the men of the Clinton/Gingrich generation. Their general avoidance of service in Viet Nam has resulted in a twisting of their souls. Given the opportunity to answer the central question about themselves, they ducked. In a phrase coined by C.S. Lewis, they are "men without chests". Hollow at their cores, they have no proven personal strength to draw upon and collapse inwards upon themselves.
This is a great book and perhaps one of the last truly male works of literature that will be admitted to the canon.
See also:General Literature
Brothers Judd Top 100 of the 20th Century: Novels
Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century
-ESSAY: On James Dickey and the Truths That Matter: Paul Hendrickson Tells a Story of War and Family (Paul Hendrickson, December 7, 2020, LitHub)
Book-related and General Links:
-Encyclopaedia Britannica: Your search: "james dickey"
-REVIEW: of COLLECTED POEMS 1948-1984 By Derek Walcott (James Dickey, NY Times Book Review)
-BOOKNOTES: Christopher Dickey, author of Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Son
-IN MEMORY OF JAMES DICKEY January 20, 1997 (The Newshour, PBS)
-ESSAY: WATER IMAGERY IN JAMES DICKEY'S DELIVERANCE
-FEATURED AUTHOR: NY Times Book Review
-ESSAY: James Dickey, Size XL (Reynolds Price, NY Times Book Review)
-ESSAY: The Difficulties of Being Major Who are the likely successors to Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Theodore Roethke? Peter Davison nominates Robert Lowell and James Dickey for the honor (Peter Davison, October 1967, The Atlantic)
-ESSAY: What the monsters know (Jeffrey Meyers, New Criterion)
-REVIEW: of Crux The Letters of James Dickey. Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman ( Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
-REVIEW: of Crux The Letters of James Dickey. Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman ( J. D. McClatchy, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW: of BRONWEN, THE TRAW, AND THE SHAPE-SHIFTER A Poem in Four Parts. By James Dickey (David Macaulay, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW: of To the White Sea By James Dickey (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
-REVIEW: of ALNILAM. By James Dickey (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
-REVIEW: of ALNILAM. By James Dickey (Robert Towers, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW: of SUMMER OF DELIVERANCE A Memoir of Father and Son. By Christopher Dickey (David Kirby, NY Times Book Review)
-ESSAY: MEN, BOYS AND WIMPS (George Stade, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW: of CRUX: The Letters of James Dickey. Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman and JAMES DICKEY:The World as a Lie. By Henry Hart (ROBERT PHILLIPS, Houston Chronicle Book World)
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