Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email

Red Sky at Morning ()

Brothers Judd Top 100 of the 20th Century: Novels

I don't get it.  This is one of the great coming of age tales and one of the funniest books in any genre.  It's still in print and it was made into a supposedly decent movie. So, how come I can't find any links to information about Richard Bradford or the book?  And how did it not make the San Francisco Chronicle's Best of the West list?

Josh Arnold is the teenage son of a shipbuilder father and a hothouse flower, Southern mother.  When his father insists on joining the Navy for the last few months of WWII, Josh and his mother are shipped off to the family's second house in New Mexico, on the off chance that their hometown of Mobile, AL might still be bombed.  This requires them to take leave of their sassy, savvy, black servants Paul and Lacey and their seedy Southern hanger-on, Jimbob Buel.  In fact, Josh hints that the real reason his father wants them out of Mobile is to get rid of Jimbob for the duration, though the effort proves futile.

In Sagrado, they have to put up with even more insolent servants in Amadeo and Excilda Montoya and a whole cast of charming local characters.  Josh is befriended by Marcia Davidson, daughter of the town's Episcopalian rector, and William "Steenie" Stenopolous, son of the town doctor, but has a more uneasy relationship with their many Hispanic classmates.

Bradford uses Josh's relationships with those around him to illuminate the very different cultures of the South and the Southwest and he really excels at writing fast-paced, witty dialogue.  Josh's father in particular has some hilarious exchanges with the superintendent of his shipyard and with Amadeo.  Also, Sagrado's sheriff, Chamaco, is a real hoot.  The adventures and misadventures of Josh, Steenie, and Marcia as they try to grow up too fast are quite amusing and, when circumstances finally do force them to grow up, the story is poignant without being maudlin.

The book is a genuine American classic, one you should definitely seek out if you've not previously had the pleasure.


Grade: (A)


Book-related and General Links:
    -READERS GUIDE : Red Sky at Morning (Perennial Classics, Harper Collins Books)
    -REVIEW : of Red Sky at Morning (WritersHome Critical Editor Angeline Theisen)

    -INFO : Red Sky at Morning (1971) (imdb)


Richard Bradford is a cousin of the English poet Walter de la Mare (second cousin twice removed to be precise). We have a lot of information about their Scottish ancestors and extended family which we would be happy to share.

- Malcolm Walker-Kinnear

- Nov-27-2006, 20:43


The Roark Bradford family and I are looking for information on Richard Bradford. I would be glad to share information about Richard Bradford's family (Roark Bradford--father and Louisiana author) with anyone.

- Robert Yarbrough

- Mar-02-2006, 20:32