A Good Man

A Good Man

Book - 2011
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In the ambitious and masterful final novel of his bestselling trilogy, Guy Vanderhaeghe, returns to the nineteenth century Canadian and American West to explore the final days of one of the world's last great frontiers.

Wesley Case is a former soldier and son of a Canadian lumber baron who sets out into the untamed borderlands between Canada and the United States to escape a dark secret from his past. He settles in Montana where he hopes to buy a cattle ranch, and where he begins work as a liaison between the American and Canadian militaries in an effort to contain the Native Americans' unresolved anger in the wake of the Civil War. Amidst the brutal violence that erupts between the Sioux warriors and U.S. forces, Case's plan for a quiet ranch life is further compromised by an unexpected dilemma: he falls in love with the beautiful, outspoken, and recently widowed Ada Tarr. It's a budding romance that soon inflames the jealousy of Ada's quiet and deeply disturbed admirer, Michael Dunne. When the American government unleashes its final assault on the Indians, Dunne commences his own vicious plan for vengeance in one last feverish attempt to claim Ada as his own.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011
ISBN: 9780802120045
0802120040
Characteristics: 464 p. ; 24 cm

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b
belalin
Aug 30, 2016

As one review states below "Vanderhaeghe has the ability to place us in the middle of a fascinating time in Canadian and American history. He reveals the complex relationships and political interactions that existed between the two countries and the many native tribes that were trying to find a place to continue their way of life. By writing a novel in this historical context, Vanderhaeghe illustrates the shameful treatment received by the aboriginal people by the governments of the time."
This book is somewhat long and convoluted book but in addition to learning about a shameful part of our history that we should all know more about, Vanderhaeghe is a brilliant tale weaver with an uncanny ability to craft visual and emotional metaphors that drive home the message and can make you laugh at the same time.

g
GLNovak
Jan 23, 2016

Vanderhaighe's ability to weave big issues together, paint engaging characters, and spin a bit of a love story at the same time appeals to me. I enjoyed his way of presenting the story from the perspectives of many of the characters. His love of and ease with the West and its history comes through in his writing. This is Vanderhaeghe's third and last book about the Cypress Hills/Montana area in the late 1870's, after the battle at Little Big Horn and the ensuing uncertainty about Sitting Bull and his intentions. We meet Wesley Case, a Canadian ex-soldier, ex-Northwest Mounted Police, and current Montana rancher at Fort Benton, as he begins his career as a go-between for Major Walsh north of the border and Major Guido Ilges at Fort Benton Montana Territory. Each is approaching the Indian Problem differently and each needs to keep apprised of the others intentions. The 'good man' is many of the characters - Case, Walsh, Ilges, Sitting Bull. The only issue, and that might be from my own ignorance, was the inclusion of the Fenians and their on-going underground war with Britain being waged on Canadian and colonial soil.

p
Port_er
Nov 21, 2014

I agree with erb65, Guy Vanderhaeghe is Canada's best author! He superimposes fictional characters in the midst of a love story thriller, and the historical part is seamlessly embedded. Then there are the countless laughs! He's amazing!!! I want to read more of his work.

ChristchurchLib Jun 22, 2014

The son of a wealthy Canadian timber baron, former mounted policeman Wesley Case relocates to the Montana Territory in 1876, where he purchases a ranch near the rough-and-tumble frontier outpost of Fort Benton - not far from the site of Custer's Last Stand. However, thanks to escalating tensions between the U.S. Army and the Sioux, Case's primary livelihood soon becomes the gathering and exchange of information. With its complex characterization and lyrical descriptions of rugged western landscapes, this concluding volume of Canadian author Guy Vanderhaeghe's Western trilogy -- which begins with The Englishman's Boy and The Last Crossing -- may appeal to fans of Gil Adamson's The Outlander.
From Historical Fiction Newsletter June 2014.

g
glendamiller
Mar 12, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

e
erb65
Jul 19, 2012

In my opinion, the best Canadian novelist currently writing. The main storyline is interesting on its own but what really draws the reader in is Vanderhaeghe's ability to place us in the middle of a fascinating time in Canadian and American history. He reveals the complex relationships and political interactions that existed between the two countries and the many native tribes that were trying to find a place to continue their way of life. By writing a novel in this historical context, Vanderhaeghe illustrates the shameful treatment received by the aboriginal people by the governments of the time.

b
becker
Jul 15, 2012

I enjoyed the writing, the story and the characters very much. My only hesitation is that I found it skipped around a bit more than I would have liked. I lost patience waiting to see how all the different aspects of the story would come together. Otherwise...a good book with a good ending.

r
readingchick
Jun 06, 2012

This may not be as good as Vanderhaeghe's previous novels but darn close. He has a knack for bringing the "Old West" of Canada into focus for me. His characters are fully fledged and the story line is gripping.

b
bette108
May 16, 2012

Some beautiful phrases and interesting, thought-provoking images. Yet, I like Vanderhaeghe's earlier works better.

u
uncommonreader
May 01, 2012

This is the story of the end of the wild west. It takes place around Forts Benton and Walsh and is set after the American Civil War and rout of Custer. Sadly, it tells of the demise of aboriginal peoples in the west and of Sitting Bull. The author successfully evokes the historical era.

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