Sea Of Grass

by Conrad Richter

Paperback, 1992

Call number




Ohio University Press (1992), 150 pages


Published in 1936, this novel presents in epic scope the conflicts in the settling of the American Southwest. Set in New Mexico in the late 19th century, The Sea of Grass concerns the often violent clashes between the pioneering ranchers, whose cattle range freely through the vast sea of grass, and the farmers, or "nesters," who build fences and turn the sod. Against this background is set the triangle of rancher Colonel Jim Brewton, his unstable Eastern wife Lutie, and the ambitious Brice Chamberlain. Richter casts the story in Homeric terms, with the children caught up in the conflicts of their parents.

User reviews

LibraryThing member fuzzi
Some books are simple, light, breezy, and while enjoyable, are like eating cotton candy. Others, like The Sea of Grass, are deeper, darker, serious, and more akin to eating a good steak.

Hal narrates this story, partly of big ranchers, partly of nesters/settlers, but mostly about a mail-order bride,
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and how she changed those who knew her. The prose is rich, and descriptive, and I found myself backtracking to reread the passages that made me think. Very good, recommended.
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LibraryThing member jeffome
it is nice to read a nice, concise lean novel that creates a very vivid setting with an informative story about a part of the world i;m unfamiliar with for a change....grand verbose epics are fine, but there is something very appealing to more minimalist works that actually get the job
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done....kudos to Richter....i enjoyed very much!!!
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LibraryThing member rudik5834
Young Hal Brewton was the Nephew of one of this lonely pioneer cattlemen.As he grew up,Hal witnessed the long battle between his proud,passionate uncle,Colonel Jim Brewton,and the homesteaders who coveted his range.Into this conflict came Lutie, the Colonel's bride from St.Louis,whose secret hatred
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for the plains would clash with the Colonel' devotion to his kingdom of grass.This American classic,made into a movie.Conrad Richter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951.
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LibraryThing member franoscar
Nicely written story about the West, and the coming of the farmers to break up the huge ranches in the Southwest.
LibraryThing member mfvetter
I had never heard of Conrad Richter before. When I saw him mentioned in my daily Writer's Almanac I had to go to my town library and read Sea of Grass - his first work of fiction. (We just come back from a 7,000 mile road trip from NH to UT and back so the geography of the Southwest was fresh in my
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mind.) Richter's writing style is something I wish I could emulate - it's unadorned, direct, powerful. He writes simple descriptive sentences that are picturesque using the plain words of a cowboy. Using unpretentious language, he delves into the feelings and emotions of his characters without resorting to psycho-babble or deep introspection. Still, I found that the story was more insightful than a Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey novel even though it had its share of violence and shooting. I need to read The Awakening Land nest!
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LibraryThing member RBeffa
The story from 1936 is told by Hal Brewton looking back on events from his childhood 50 years earlier in the New Mexico Territory. At the time the land was a sea of grass and massive herds of cattle grazed as well as antelope. It was not farmed as the land was not suitable for it. However in the
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1880's desperate wagon trains, "emigrant trains" of homesteaders came to try and take a piece of the open land. Hal lives with his Uncle Jim Brewton who has arranged for a mail order bride, Lutie Cameron. Thus begins the story.

The reviews of this book are a little mixed but generally quite favorable. My reaction would be one of the quite favorable ones. I thought the author did a fantastic job of bringing the landscape and era to life.

This was Richter's first novel after having written a number of short stories. His novels are generally held in high regard and this one might be his most famous one behind 1953's "A Light in the Forest", one that it seems everyone read in school. The novel was made into a film with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in 1947. Once the libraries re-open I intend to check it out. I'm also going to be on the lookout for other novels by Richter. There are four at my library that I have not read yet.
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