Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1959 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

The Travels of Jamie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor


Publisher: New York: Doubleday & Co

Length: 544 pages

About: Gold-rush father and son adventure

Style: 1st person

Where: US

When: 1849


Publisher’s synopsis:

The lively story of a 13-year-old boy's adventures on a journey across America in 1849. It details the journey of Jaimie and his father from Kentucky to gold-rush California. The novel alternates between Jaimie describing his journey by wagon train to California with commentary by his father, a Scottish doctor with an effervescent personality whose judgment is often clouded by his weakness for gambling and strong drink. The novel contains, in graphic detail, some intense Native American customs, especially rite of passage.



:..I was reading it here and there so as to shut out the sound of the voices, but it was an uphill job being a sort of championship long-winded poem by a man named Milton, though if any of the lines ended in rhymes  I failed to locate them, about a group of angels that talked all the time and couldn’t make up their minds whether to settle` down in heaven or in the other place.




ABOUT a year's supply of exciting episodes for a weekly television show like "Wagon Train" could be taken from this novel, a top-quality tale of the trail to California's gold fields and grassy valleys in 1849.

New York Times, Lewis Nordyke, 16th March 1958


Not so good:

The Travels of Jamie McPheeters is firmly based on professional skill; the only pity is that its author did not aim higher. A lengthy biography proves that he read the background of his tale, which describes the overland journey to California in 1849, but he has not bothered to make up his own mind. Were the Red Indians noble savages or lousy drunken submen?

Times Literary Supplement 24th April 1959


About the author

Taylor was born in Carbondale, 24 September 1912, Illinois and attended Southern Illinois Universityfor one year, which now houses his papers. He graduated from University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in 1933. From 1942 to 1946, Taylor served in the United States Navy during World War II. During his service, he wrote numerous stories and Adrift in a Boneyard as an extended fiction about survivors of a disaster. In 1949, The Saturday Evening Post commissioned a series of biographical sketches of W. C. Fields. He continued to write biographies, including one of Winston Churchill, as well as fiction. He died 30 September 1998



























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NTV series 1963-64 starring Kurt Russell





2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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