I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Bobby Hale has been an orphan since he was nine years old and raised by an aunt who never showed him any affection. When the Civil War breaks out he joins the Union Army and heads out on his own. He actually joins the union, collects his bonus, drops out and rejoins under a new name 9 different times. When the war is over, since he has no family waiting for him to return, he heads out west in search of land and the American dream.
The strength of this novel lies in two aspects: its characters and its setting. Bobby, although he left the union army several times, tries to be a good and moral person and he realizes that the white man’s conquest of the Indians is unjust. He travels with a wagon caravan and a man named Theo at its head. Through Theo he learns to respect the culture of the Indians and how to navigate the vast and open land of the American west.
When the caravan finally reaches Bozeman, Bobby decides to join an Indian friend of his named Big Tree and they become a fur trappers. The five years he spends with Big Tree are some of the most peaceful and satisfying in his life as they travel, live off of the land and meet interesting people who are white and Indian alike. Bobby comes to further appreciate Indian practices and he gains a true friend in the process. When a woman comes between them, Bobby steps aside and leaves Big Tree so that his friend can be happy.
The final part of the book deals with Bobby’s adventures after he accidentally shoots an Indian woman named Ink who is running away from her tribe and her husband. I do wish the author spent more time describing the details of Ink’s life. We know she is running away from her husband but no further details are ever revealed about her. Bobby feels awful about shooting her and he becomes her protector. The last part of the book that relates Bobby and Ink’s burgeoning friendship is my favorite part of the novel for the myriad of emotions is reveals about Bobby’s character.
AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE also brings to light a disturbing part of American history as the militia tries to build The United States “from sea to shining sea.” It vividly depicts the tragic struggle between two cultures that completely misunderstand each other and the atrocities that are committed on both sides. This book gives us all of the tropes of the American west with wagon trains, Indians, gold seekers and breathtaking scenery but it also makes us become attached to a man who is a reluctant hero, but a hero nonetheless.
I have one hardcover book to give away. The cover is absolutely beautiful! To enter, just leave me a comment below and let me know you want to win! It’s that simple. Open to residents in the US and Canada. The winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond. Giveaway ends 11/14.
The Winner is: Kara S.
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To learn more about this author visit his website: www.robertbausch.org/