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The basis for the Academy Award-winning major motion picture starring Best Actor nominee Richard Dix and Best Actress nominee Irene Dunne. This vivid and sweeping tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush, from Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber, traces the stunning challenges of settling an untamed frontier. Staking claim to their new home in Osage, Yancey Cravat, a spellbinding crimi The basis for the Academy Award-winning major motion picture starring Best Actor nominee Richard Dix and Best Actress nominee Irene Dunne. This vivid and sweeping tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush, from Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber, traces the stunning challenges of settling an untamed frontier. Staking claim to their new home in Osage, Yancey Cravat, a spellbinding criminal lawyer, and his wife, well-bred Sabra, work against seemingly overwhelming odds to create a prosperous life for themselves. And as they establish themselves in this lawless land, Sabra displays a brilliant business sense and makes a success of their local newspaper, the Oklahoma Wigwam, all amidst border and land disputes, outlaws, and the discovery of oil. Originally published in 1929, and twice made into a motion picture, Cimarron brings history alive, capturing the settling of the American West in vivid detail. With a new foreword by Julie Gilbert. Vintage Movie Classics spotlights classic films that have stood the test of time, now rediscovered through the publication of the novels on which they were based. From the Trade Paperback edition.


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The basis for the Academy Award-winning major motion picture starring Best Actor nominee Richard Dix and Best Actress nominee Irene Dunne. This vivid and sweeping tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush, from Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber, traces the stunning challenges of settling an untamed frontier. Staking claim to their new home in Osage, Yancey Cravat, a spellbinding crimi The basis for the Academy Award-winning major motion picture starring Best Actor nominee Richard Dix and Best Actress nominee Irene Dunne. This vivid and sweeping tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush, from Pulitzer Prize winner Edna Ferber, traces the stunning challenges of settling an untamed frontier. Staking claim to their new home in Osage, Yancey Cravat, a spellbinding criminal lawyer, and his wife, well-bred Sabra, work against seemingly overwhelming odds to create a prosperous life for themselves. And as they establish themselves in this lawless land, Sabra displays a brilliant business sense and makes a success of their local newspaper, the Oklahoma Wigwam, all amidst border and land disputes, outlaws, and the discovery of oil. Originally published in 1929, and twice made into a motion picture, Cimarron brings history alive, capturing the settling of the American West in vivid detail. With a new foreword by Julie Gilbert. Vintage Movie Classics spotlights classic films that have stood the test of time, now rediscovered through the publication of the novels on which they were based. From the Trade Paperback edition.

30 review for Cimarron: Vintage Movie Classics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Jellets

    The most popular book of 1930! So my second crazy reading goal of 2017 is to read the “most popular” book of the year for each year that ends in zero, beginning in 1930. I’m intentionally choosing “popular” books over either “classic” or “critically acclaimed” because I’m hoping to catch a little bit of the cultural zeitgeist that was prevalent at the time. Kind of like … what were people “into” back then and what resonated with them. Hence Cimarron by Edna Ferber. Set against the rough and tumble The most popular book of 1930! So my second crazy reading goal of 2017 is to read the “most popular” book of the year for each year that ends in zero, beginning in 1930. I’m intentionally choosing “popular” books over either “classic” or “critically acclaimed” because I’m hoping to catch a little bit of the cultural zeitgeist that was prevalent at the time. Kind of like … what were people “into” back then and what resonated with them. Hence Cimarron by Edna Ferber. Set against the rough and tumble Oklahoma land rush of 1889 and continuing through the fledgling state’s formative years, Cimarron tells the story of the Cravat family, plucky pioneers settling one of America’s last frontiers. It’s pretty much a one generation, historical family saga – much like I imagine a Mitchener book might be – and (truth be told) a genre that I usually can’t be bothered with. So my expectations were low …. but I found this one … a little bit charming? Ferber picks a great setting for her story. ‘The Run’ for land in the newly opened Oklahoma Territory is one of history’s great, mad races, and Ferber stirs the adrenaline as eager pioneers crowd the Oklahoma border, ready to charge into the no man’s land at the shot of a pistol. As the years progress, Ferber paints a vivid, gritty picture of the hardscrabble, but up-and-coming, community, growing from hamlet to ‘big oil’ boom town. Her character work is also quite nice. Our heroine, Sabra Cravat, is a tough little cookie – kind of a proto-Scarlet O’Hara – while her husband Yancey is more the ne'er-do-well gunslinger with politically progressive tendencies. (He’s also a complete cad … leaving the long-suffering Sabra and children in the lurch an unforgivable amount of times). And Ferber’s prose, though littered at times with plenty of ten dollar words, is certainly amiable enough – clever, witty with her dialogue, occasionally funny, slightly musical without being baroque. The downside is that – as in the real world -- the cute and quaint is tarred pretty heavily with prejudice. The daughter of a Jewish family, Ferber knew discrimination well, and she portrays it unflinchingly in Cimarron, describing the racism faced by women, African Americans, Native Americans, and Jews in the territory. The tonal shift – from the almost fairy tale aspects of the settlers’ stories to their opinions of minorities -- is jarring and uncomfortable, especially as bigotry taints even the redoubtable Sabra. Despite their prominence and despite Yancey’s championing of the downtrodden and Sabra’s tenacity, the Cravats pale morally in comparison to many of the minority characters in the book. And this is where Cimarron is deceptively complex. Mostly it reads like a bright historical romance, but then there are these awful deep parts – none darker than what happens to the poor boy Isaiah – all presented at face value, leaving the reader to parse out the inequality. Menfolk, for example, may have grabbed the headlines and been made the subject of statues with their six-shooters and swagger, but it was the indefatigable pioneer women – largely overlooked -- who laid the bedrock for the society that grew on those empty plains. Ultimately, Cimarron is a subtle cry for recognition for all those folk that pioneer history had seemed to forget, ignore or outright abuse. P.S. It’s a bit easier to appreciate ‘Cimarron’ if you know a bit more about its author. There’s a nice biography of Edna Ferber at https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/... P.P.S. And if you want to follow along at home, I’m pulling my reading list from (of all places) Good Housekeeping. You can check out the list at http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/... P.P.P.S. Next up, 1940’s ‘How Green Was My Valley.’ Guess I better stock up on tissues.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    There are two excellent film versions (in my opinion, some people don't like either version) of this novel, one in 1930 starring Irene Dunne and another in 1960 starring Maria Schell. They adapt the novel in very different ways, highlighting certain characters over others and changing events at will. This is quite easy to do, not to mention necessary, because the source material is a shambling mess. In the films, Sabra becomes sympathetic over time. In the novel, she remains fairly racist throug There are two excellent film versions (in my opinion, some people don't like either version) of this novel, one in 1930 starring Irene Dunne and another in 1960 starring Maria Schell. They adapt the novel in very different ways, highlighting certain characters over others and changing events at will. This is quite easy to do, not to mention necessary, because the source material is a shambling mess. In the films, Sabra becomes sympathetic over time. In the novel, she remains fairly racist throughout and is always aghast at something her husband does. We never get a sense of what attracted her to Yancy in the first place. She remains static, frustrated, and frustrating to me till the end. The film versions manage to effectively soften her with time, thereby enabling us to see her as a pioneer. The novel lacked everything that I loved about "So Big!" -- the woman's strength of character, the well-drawn supporting characters, the lived-in passage of time. The author's vocabulary tended to be so overblown I could barely stomach it. I know that Ferber has a good track record with incorporating minorities into her stories, but her descriptions and characterizations felt like they contained attitudes and ideas that were not subjective to Sabra but were rather lazily written passages in which Ferber did not attempt to extricate herself from conventional stereotypes of her day. The Indians are always lazy or barbaric, the blacks are made for servitude, and Saul Levy gets to be a silent and hidden pillar of his community, and basically a eunuch.

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.M. Weiland

    Cimarron marks the end (for now) of my excursion into Edna Ferber's works, and it embodies many of the strengths and flaws Ferber portrays in all her stories. On the plus side, we have strong, almost painfully realistic characters. There is a demanding undercurrent of no-nonsense tell-it-like-it-is beneath Ferber's romanticism, just as there are startling cliche busters hiding behind the melodrama. In addition to her always vivid sense of setting, I appreciate her warty characters. They aren't al Cimarron marks the end (for now) of my excursion into Edna Ferber's works, and it embodies many of the strengths and flaws Ferber portrays in all her stories. On the plus side, we have strong, almost painfully realistic characters. There is a demanding undercurrent of no-nonsense tell-it-like-it-is beneath Ferber's romanticism, just as there are startling cliche busters hiding behind the melodrama. In addition to her always vivid sense of setting, I appreciate her warty characters. They aren't always lovable, but they're always intriguing. However, Cimarron also suffers from the same flaws as do the rest of her books. The prose seems even more overblown and purple than usual here. Ferber knows how to pick the telling details and she can turn a beautiful phrase. But she also likes to heap on the glittery descriptive phrases like too many toppings on a pizza. Even more concerning, however, is her tendency to carefully and slowly build the story, only to chop it off in a hurried and abrupt ending.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lee Anne

    Another strong Ferber novel. This one reads like a practice run for Giant: genteel woman goes into the Wild West, finds she's stronger than she knew. Giant is the far better novel, though, with this one having a rushed ending and feeling like a compressed epic. There are also several troubling-for-today's-times depictions of African-Americans, Native Americans, and Jews. Be prepared to put things in the context of the age, and you can still find a lot to enjoy here.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I was introduced to these characters as a short story in the 7th grade. Our class was so enthralled with it; the teacher told us that it was an excerpt from a book. We begged to read it – and she adjusted the curriculum to accommodate it. I am quite sure that I read it at least six times during my high school years. Loved the story, the characters and the history lesson.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2899947.html Cimarron is a really good book, a feminist text (the words "feminist" and "feminism" are actually used) whose guts were torn out of it by Hollywood. The central character of the novel is Sabra Cravat, daughter of a Southern family who moved to Kansas after the Civil War; having married Yancey at a very young age, she is swept off to Oklahoma by him. She breaks away from the stereotypes of her Southern parents, and gets over many of her own hangups, to b https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2899947.html Cimarron is a really good book, a feminist text (the words "feminist" and "feminism" are actually used) whose guts were torn out of it by Hollywood. The central character of the novel is Sabra Cravat, daughter of a Southern family who moved to Kansas after the Civil War; having married Yancey at a very young age, she is swept off to Oklahoma by him. She breaks away from the stereotypes of her Southern parents, and gets over many of her own hangups, to build a new version of society in the town of Osage, to the point where she herself is elected to Congress. Cimarron was the best-selling novel in America in 1930, and the film's popularity must surely have been a reward for its insipid reflection of the popular original text. I was struck that the opening titles featured the characters and actors playing each, which looked like an assumption that many viewers would already be familiar with them. However, we are a long way from intersectionality, and the book is still pretty racist, if not quite as racist as the film. There is still only one named black character (who suffers an even more horrible end than his screen version), though it's also clear that there are lots of others in the town. While Sabra's view of the Indians is pretty bigoted, the unreliable Yancey is totally on their side, and preaches to her frequently about the disgrace of the Trail of Tears and the awful things that white men have done; this is somehow dropped from the film. (Also worth noting that the Vice-President of the United States at the time the film was made was actually descended from the Osage tribe, and remains the only Native American to have served at the top of the executive branch.) The one Jewish character is sympathetically treated in both book and film, but the nasty anti-Semitism of the baddies in the book doesn't make it to the screen. The feminism of the book is completely erased by the film, in that Yancey is given much more screen time and better lines (though his defence of the Indians is removed), and we are cut off from Sabra's internal dialogue, which is the loudest voice in the novel; it is replaced by Turner’s sighs and meaningful glances. The sub-plot with the sex workers in the book is explicitly a dialogue about different visions of womanhood in the new society that is being built, but becomes just a humorous set of vignettes in the film (apart from Yancey's courtroom defence of Dixie Lee, which in fairness is actually done better on screen than on the page). I'm not especially well versed in the early twentieth century history of American feminism, but it seemed clear to me that the makers of a Hollywood blockbuster did not feel able to reflect the feminism of their source text. I enjoyed the book much more than I had expected to, and the film's success was surely in large part a homage to the work it was based on.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lora

    I enjoyed this book to the point of almost four stars. I think it fell a bit short because of the simplest thing- it wasn't my first Edna Ferber. When I finished it, I was a bit floored by what she'd accomplished, nonetheless. It was a kind of western version of Anna Karenina. The main female protagonist in Cimarron, Sabra, reminded me of Levin. She worked hard and her star rose slowly but surely. Yancey was Anna- living the exciting life, not thinking of the effects he had of his family, and fa I enjoyed this book to the point of almost four stars. I think it fell a bit short because of the simplest thing- it wasn't my first Edna Ferber. When I finished it, I was a bit floored by what she'd accomplished, nonetheless. It was a kind of western version of Anna Karenina. The main female protagonist in Cimarron, Sabra, reminded me of Levin. She worked hard and her star rose slowly but surely. Yancey was Anna- living the exciting life, not thinking of the effects he had of his family, and facing a dismal end. That wasn't quite a spoiler, but the book is nearly a hundred years old, so whatever. It is a good western with larger than life characters, some balanced perspective on blacks and indians, and a strong sense of cause and effect. There were some pretty sad parts for a book that started off so wild and loud. I especially mourned for Sabra as she witnessed the effects of a deadbeat dad on her children. You have to know, there are racist attitudes in here. Sabra has them in spades. There are cruel descriptions, coarse terms for people, and outlandish behaviors from person to person and group to group. It just is what it is. Heck, the irish guy doesn't look too good and I accepted that. Those issues do not stand in the way of the ultimate moral foundations of the book, nor the crazy adventures it holds. It shows a complex situation and how things changed along the way. It probably isn't entirely true or accurate, but I found it valuable in the way it just put everything out there and let me the reader make my own judgments and decisions on a semi-fictional world in a fictional work.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gager

    Other than a few short stories, this is my first Ferber read, although I have seen a couple of the movies made from her books(Ice Palace, Giant). This book has been filmed twice, but I haven't seen either one. So far it's been a pretty entertaining read. The young, spoiled wife in a savage land is pretty much the same as in "Giant." The hero, Yancey is VERY sympathetic to the plight of the natives, though his immature wife is just the opposite. Will she change???? - This semi-beaten up 1960 paper Other than a few short stories, this is my first Ferber read, although I have seen a couple of the movies made from her books(Ice Palace, Giant). This book has been filmed twice, but I haven't seen either one. So far it's been a pretty entertaining read. The young, spoiled wife in a savage land is pretty much the same as in "Giant." The hero, Yancey is VERY sympathetic to the plight of the natives, though his immature wife is just the opposite. Will she change???? - This semi-beaten up 1960 paperback has a different cover than the one shown, but the one shown has the best available image. The action takes a jump in time to get close to the turn of the 20th century as Osage "grows up." This is happening without the assistance of Yancey, who has taken a powder, thus revealing his inner "big-male-baby" thing. Charismatic he is, reliable husband he isn't. Still a good story and pretty realistic, I'd say, after reading of the fate of Isiah the horny and his gal pal ... Oklahoma shambles toward the 20th Century as Yancey pops up again to stir up trouble for long-suffering proto-feminist Sabra. Then the story jumps ahead in time again. I guess you might call this a mini-epic as it covers a lot of Oklahoma ground, time-wise, but it lacks the narrative depth to be considered a true historical fiction epic a la Michener. Not that I'm a Michener fan, but he DID rack up the pages. As writers go, I definitely prefer Ferber to Michener. - The French cultural "connection" is also mentioned in "Undaunted Courage" - the presence of French-Canadian trappers in the midwest in the early 1800's. - The book begins with events only 60 years before I was born, i.e. not that long ago. - The Kid and his gang might be based on the Daltons. Finished last night as the wandering Yancey puts in a final, heroic appearance. As the book went on the whole Yancey-Sabra story faded into the background as Ferber focused more on describing events the political and economic(think oil) history of Osage and Oklahoma. The ending comes in the 1920's. Osage seems to be based on Tulsa, as it's the closest big city to the Osage reservation. - Is it Cibolo, or is it Cibola? She spells it both ways ... - Sabra may be a liberated photo-feminist, but she still calls Indians "filthy savages" - UGH! - Are easy enough book to read, and fairly informative, but no great shakes as literature. 3.25* rounds down to 3*.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rose Ann Jenny

    In my Edna Ferber anthology, this is one I would gladly skip in the future. The characters didn't seem to have any...well, character to them. I was bored through most of it, and struggled to finish. If you're looking for a good book about the early history of Oklahoma, this is not one to read in my opinion. ADDED: After reading other reviews, I'm wondering if my opinions were affected by my watching the 1960 movie before reading the book. I thought the movie was horrible, and maybe some of that f In my Edna Ferber anthology, this is one I would gladly skip in the future. The characters didn't seem to have any...well, character to them. I was bored through most of it, and struggled to finish. If you're looking for a good book about the early history of Oklahoma, this is not one to read in my opinion. ADDED: After reading other reviews, I'm wondering if my opinions were affected by my watching the 1960 movie before reading the book. I thought the movie was horrible, and maybe some of that feeling was reflected in my reading. I'd like to see the Academy Award-winning 1931 movie version instead, and maybe my opinions would change. But unlike So Big and Show Boat, I just didn't get anything out of this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John Freeman

    Ferber brings the west to life in this sprawling historical novel about Oklahoma—from the Land Rush of 1889, through statehood, to the 2nd oil boom. Set in fictional Osage, Cimarron is the story of Sabra and Yancey Cravat, whose relationship could be seen as a metaphor for the settling and taming of the Indian territories. Sabra, the main protagonist, is a typical Ferber female heroine: smart, strong, self-sufficient, principled and independent. But she’s a tragic hero too, flawed with bigotry, n Ferber brings the west to life in this sprawling historical novel about Oklahoma—from the Land Rush of 1889, through statehood, to the 2nd oil boom. Set in fictional Osage, Cimarron is the story of Sabra and Yancey Cravat, whose relationship could be seen as a metaphor for the settling and taming of the Indian territories. Sabra, the main protagonist, is a typical Ferber female heroine: smart, strong, self-sufficient, principled and independent. But she’s a tragic hero too, flawed with bigotry, narrow-mindedness, intolerance and co-dependency. She runs the state’s largest newspaper and is elected to Congress, but her husband has fled the home and her kids inherited the worst traits of their parents and grandparents. Like the character, Salina, in So Big, Sabra is unable to influence those she cares the most about. Yancey is an almost mythic character, larger than life, as big and wild and temperamental as the land the story is set in. Sabra represents the settling forces of the west—morals, laws, society. Yancey represents the frontier spirit, who, like the Oklahoma territory, is subject to the swiftly changing times. Fitting that Yancey dies in a work mishap at an oil well, symbolic of how oil killed the “old” frontier. The third character in Cimarron is the land itself. Like Willa Cather does in some of her works, or Knut Hamson in Growth of the Soil, the landscape serves as an antagonist, shaping the lives of the Cravats.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne Monteith

    This is a tale of the settling of the Oklahoma Territory beginning with the first run for land. When Yancey Yarbrough return from the first run without the land he went after he is still determined to return to the territory. He and his wife Sabra and their four year old son Cinarron are living with her parents in Kansas an his is sick of "civilized" life in there and longs for the adventure, freedom and openness of the new territory. Despite the misgivings of her family Sabra and Cim join Yance This is a tale of the settling of the Oklahoma Territory beginning with the first run for land. When Yancey Yarbrough return from the first run without the land he went after he is still determined to return to the territory. He and his wife Sabra and their four year old son Cinarron are living with her parents in Kansas an his is sick of "civilized" life in there and longs for the adventure, freedom and openness of the new territory. Despite the misgivings of her family Sabra and Cim join Yancey and travel back to Oklahoma where he plans to start a newspaper and possibly use his law degree although he dislike being a lawyer. This is their story of the transformation of a Territory into a state and while the characters are fictional most of the things that the author has written about happened. Two movies were made based on this novel and while most consider the 1930's one the best, I find the acting portrayed by Dix to somewhat ridiculous and comical. I realize that he came form the silent era, but his mannerisms make the film comical. In reading these books reader need to remember they were written in a time when people thought and acted differently than we do today. The book is wordy as most novels from this time are but it is still a good book and worth reading for those interested in factual historical fiction. 4.25/5 Stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janis

    Hats and calico sun bonnets off to all of the pioneer women, including the fictitious Sabra Cravatt who settled and survived in the new Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s. I am so glad that my Classic Book Club chose this book for out September, 2017 selection. It is historical and romantic. She describes the land vividly from its infancy to the discovery of its oil. As relationships sour and mend, it can also be sad, but thought provoking. Sarah Cravatt, the heroine, is strong and way ahead of Hats and calico sun bonnets off to all of the pioneer women, including the fictitious Sabra Cravatt who settled and survived in the new Oklahoma Territory in the late 1800s. I am so glad that my Classic Book Club chose this book for out September, 2017 selection. It is historical and romantic. She describes the land vividly from its infancy to the discovery of its oil. As relationships sour and mend, it can also be sad, but thought provoking. Sarah Cravatt, the heroine, is strong and way ahead of her time, and she needs to be with her erstwhile and charismatic husband Yancey. It is sympathetic to the dreamers and the Indian tribes who have been moved from one reservation to another. It contains the many characters who appear in many stories about the development of the west, but Ferber does not stereotype them. Each of their stories present an integral part to a really good and believable story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This book was right up my alley. Loved it. I found it a rollicking good read, filled with great history, adventure and awesome flawed characters. As far as heroes or anti-heroes go, Yancey is one of the greats. He's a macho, heady adventurer, a die-hard frontiersman and a defender of the Native Americans. He's unconventional and irresponsible, but committed to his lifestyle. Likewise, his wife Sabra, the book's main character, exhibits both positive and negative characteristics and remains commi This book was right up my alley. Loved it. I found it a rollicking good read, filled with great history, adventure and awesome flawed characters. As far as heroes or anti-heroes go, Yancey is one of the greats. He's a macho, heady adventurer, a die-hard frontiersman and a defender of the Native Americans. He's unconventional and irresponsible, but committed to his lifestyle. Likewise, his wife Sabra, the book's main character, exhibits both positive and negative characteristics and remains committed to her own points of view. Her reactions to Yancey and to the developments in her own life are realistic. I didn't love Sabra, but I found her interesting. I loved Yancey, flawed as he is. The occasional dips from heady romantic adventure into dark and tragic moments kept this book real and interesting. A great piece of historical fiction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe Davoust

    This could be a companion piece to Killers of the Flower Moon, a non-fiction book I read l last year about the Osage Indians, how they were forced onto reservations that later yielded oil and wealth and eventual exploitation of that wealth by unscrupulous white men. Only this tells the fictional account of a family of mostly-white Oklahoma settlers and how they interacted with them. This book is epic in scope as it covers multiple generations. It is entertaining and because it doesn’t go into to This could be a companion piece to Killers of the Flower Moon, a non-fiction book I read l last year about the Osage Indians, how they were forced onto reservations that later yielded oil and wealth and eventual exploitation of that wealth by unscrupulous white men. Only this tells the fictional account of a family of mostly-white Oklahoma settlers and how they interacted with them. This book is epic in scope as it covers multiple generations. It is entertaining and because it doesn’t go into too much about the viscous treatment of the Osage, is not as bleak as Killers. Still sad in many places though.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bookishnymph *needs hea*

    Dear Jebus, what a crap-load of depression!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    The bestselling book of 1930 introduces more larger-than-life characters with spectacular names; Yancey and Sabra Cravat and their son Cim head West from civilized Kansas, Yancey suffocating in the overwhelming, suppressive gentility of his in-laws ("Felice Venable loathed all forms of bucolic diversion and could, with a glance, cause more discomfort at an al fresco luncheon than a whole battalion of red ants.") He is wonderfully flamboyant with a pure white sombrero, black curls, and mesmerizin The bestselling book of 1930 introduces more larger-than-life characters with spectacular names; Yancey and Sabra Cravat and their son Cim head West from civilized Kansas, Yancey suffocating in the overwhelming, suppressive gentility of his in-laws ("Felice Venable loathed all forms of bucolic diversion and could, with a glance, cause more discomfort at an al fresco luncheon than a whole battalion of red ants.") He is wonderfully flamboyant with a pure white sombrero, black curls, and mesmerizing hands (and based upon a real person, who was a legendary trial attorney and a great shot). Sabra is young, unformed, and unprepared for the wilds of Oklahoma. ("Here was a vast domain without written laws, without precedent, without the customs of civilization; part of a great country, yet no part of its government.") Cimarron is the story of their personal evolution against the evolution of the Midwest during the oil rush and land booms. Readers will need to be prepared for the fact that even as Ferber casts judgment on Sabra and her blatant racism, the terms she herself uses to describe those in different ethnic groups are extremely offensive, and sadly, in context of the times. Still, this is quite a novel and describes quite a time in American history. Stop and savor the many pithy turns of phrase. Adult.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Skip Unger

    This was my first Edna Ferber novel and I was suprised how much I enjoyed it. It was fascinating to read about the land rushes and the early rough-and-tumble history of Oklahoma. I lived there briefly and always thought it was unique and fascinating. This is a novel, though, that is more complex than it first appears and has several layers to unwrap. Ferber's characters are what really impressed- the colorful Yancey Cravat was one of the most memorable characters in American fiction I've come ac This was my first Edna Ferber novel and I was suprised how much I enjoyed it. It was fascinating to read about the land rushes and the early rough-and-tumble history of Oklahoma. I lived there briefly and always thought it was unique and fascinating. This is a novel, though, that is more complex than it first appears and has several layers to unwrap. Ferber's characters are what really impressed- the colorful Yancey Cravat was one of the most memorable characters in American fiction I've come across and Sabra Cravat was a most symphathetic icon of feminism. Ferber's portrayal of American Indians was moving and sad. Ferber held no punches in portraying racism and greed but despite this it is still a remarkably hopeful depiction of a growing and maturing America. Apart from the realistic depictions of family relationships the love between Sabra and Yancey was very touching - the ending was a suprise and notworthy. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of the American West and Oklahoma in particular.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    This is not a page turner. It’s a slow and pleasant build of language and setting, deconstructing the mindset of rich and poor, Native Americans and European settlers, through generations in Oklahoma, starting with the land rush. There’s an underlying cynicism that made it hard for me to lose myself in the story. I’m always looking for the heroic in a long tale like this. It is there. It just takes the full life of the protagonist for it to build, through layers of her racism and her past life o This is not a page turner. It’s a slow and pleasant build of language and setting, deconstructing the mindset of rich and poor, Native Americans and European settlers, through generations in Oklahoma, starting with the land rush. There’s an underlying cynicism that made it hard for me to lose myself in the story. I’m always looking for the heroic in a long tale like this. It is there. It just takes the full life of the protagonist for it to build, through layers of her racism and her past life of privilege, which has to get slowly baked out by the Oklahoma life. Her husband is definitely heroic all the time, almost unbelievably so, intelligent and brave and raucous. But his heroism is often at the expense of others, mainly her. And you can’t quite love him like you eventually love her. Sound complicated? It is. And like all books this wide- ranging and historical, it is worth the journey.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Phaedra221

    An amazing novel, published in 1929, regarding the settling of Oklahoma. The first film adaptation in 1931 was met with success, however, the remake in 1960 was not successful. I'm glad I did not get the film from the library, but rather the book. If you've never read this, definitely put it on your to read list. The grit and determination of the main characters, Yancey and Sabra Cravat, will have you wondering how they survived. The other players and events in the book grab and hold you. Oh, by An amazing novel, published in 1929, regarding the settling of Oklahoma. The first film adaptation in 1931 was met with success, however, the remake in 1960 was not successful. I'm glad I did not get the film from the library, but rather the book. If you've never read this, definitely put it on your to read list. The grit and determination of the main characters, Yancey and Sabra Cravat, will have you wondering how they survived. The other players and events in the book grab and hold you. Oh, by the way, Yancey is modeled after the last child of Sam Houston. So glad my Classic Book Club chose this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    I could not get through this book. It was a slow read with slow character development. I could not get past the racism and Yancey I did not find endearing but a classic A-hole. I understand it was written in the 1920s but I did not like it. The narrative was boring and I was waiting for some action. No actual action unless something happened that was exciting but that was told through Yancey. However, I did like reading it for the historical content of Oklahoma and it's time-period.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gena

    I really love Edna Ferber. There are passages in this book that are just beautiful. The plot kept me reading when I had plenty of other things that I should have been doing. The characters are intriguing and fully fleshed out. Sabra, the main character, is a heroine for the ages. Such an enjoyable read!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom Rowe

    I liked this book. It started off telling the story of Sabra Cravat and the birth of Oklahoma. But in the end, it just jumped around too much. It also appears very racist by today's standards which might turn people off, but I think is probably an accurate reflection of people's attitudes in those days. I recommend if you can look past these faults.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Mann

    Extraordinary characterization -every bit as good as her later novel, “Giant”. Cimarron is epic, well-crafted myth-making about the origins and character of the great State of Oklahoma. I thoroughly recommend this for those interested in Frontier Fiction, Americana, Westerns with literary value or historical fiction in general.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tom Dyke

    As Edna Ferber points out in the Forward, “Only the more fantastic and improbable events contained in the book are true.” A sage fiction of engaging events and thrilling characters, Cimarron sits on the highest shelf of my western library. --Tom Van Dyke, Author/Screenwriter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Hill

    I'll give it between 3 and 4 stars, because I enjoyed it but not as much as So Big. I was concerned about the amount of racism prevalent in the book, particularly in the earlier chapters, but it was generally tempered by Yancey's opinions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Probably just wasn’t my cup of tea. It was really hard for me to get into this book for about the first one third. Then it was really good. But the last third felt like someone else finished the book. Good story, strange writing.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Truth time: I quit this book about a third of the way in. After reading Ferber's "So Big" I was really excited to read another one of her books. I just didn't find this one intriguing enough to continue reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marklutherlawoffice

    So TCM streamed the old Glen Ford "Cimarron" movie during its 30 days to Oscar scheduling. I saw the movie 60 years ago and when I saw it on TCM I said to myself "Wow-this must have been quite a book. I should read the book" It is a wonderful book. I'll have to next read Ferber's "Giant"

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Mitton

    Cimarron, by Edna Ferber, is a long, gangly novel set in territorial Oklahoma. Published in 1929, it veers a bit from my beaten path but I've got boxes of these old classics and it's time to start reading them. If anyone wants to chime in about how this stacks up against classic Western or historical novels I would be happy to hear it. This one is long. My edition stretches to almost 400 pages that Hemingway would have certainly pared to less than two hundred. Ferber’s style, common then and frow Cimarron, by Edna Ferber, is a long, gangly novel set in territorial Oklahoma. Published in 1929, it veers a bit from my beaten path but I've got boxes of these old classics and it's time to start reading them. If anyone wants to chime in about how this stacks up against classic Western or historical novels I would be happy to hear it. This one is long. My edition stretches to almost 400 pages that Hemingway would have certainly pared to less than two hundred. Ferber’s style, common then and frowned upon now, is effusive. She spends pages describing the scenery, the way the moss hangs from trees, and how women living the imaginary frontier town of Osage dress. No detail is left open for the reader to imagine. Every nuance of every scene and conversation in minutely described. You will know just exactly how Sabra raised her eyes to look at husband Yancey full in the face. And it works. Ferber tells a wonderful story. Cimarron begins in progressive Wichita before the first Oklahoma Territory Land Rush. The government is giving away millions of acres of prime, Midwestern, barren clay that nary a plant will grow in. Sabra and Yancey, Sabra of the of the respected Venables, Yancey of questionable reputation, leave family and friends to settle in the new town of Osage where men are free and women work themselves to the bone. Yancey is larger than life and impossible to resist. He hates what the government and whites have done to the Indian and begins a weekly newspaper to shout his truth from the mountain tops. He changes little throughout the novel. He is ever romantic, ever handsome, and chases after every new and exciting thing. As large as he is, he is presented in one dimension, and by the story’s end, is less interesting than when it starts. The real story revolves around Sabra. Both Sabra and Oklahoma find themselves through the pages of this fat read. Sabra begins her story as the pet of wealthy and established parents. The novel’s opening scene is at the dinner table, with small and Black Isaiah hanging from the rafters, wafting flies away from the family sitting at the table. Sabra has never done a single thing for herself. Except fall in love with and marry Yancey who is older and captivating. Captivating until he begins talking about the Oklahoma Territory where he wants to drag his pretty bride. The family is aghast but Sabra is game. She enjoys the long ride to the frontier but is unprepared for life in Osage. She had imagined that frontier life might mean eating with unmatched silverware but in Osage, she finds life raw and frightening. As a proper help-meet, she sits alongside Yancey as he set up his newspaper. She learns that she not only enjoys the business of news but is quite good at it. While Yancey leaves for years at a time to chase down and never quite reach the next dream, Sabra works steadily at building the newspaper until it is the most important in the Southwest. She frets over her children, frets over the newspaper, and frets over the town which she constantly hopes to elevate to something greater that shacks surrounded by muddy streets. Cimarron and Sabra are quiet but fierce feminists. Not the kind of feminists out burning bras in the corral but the kind who gets down to do the work. The kind to whom it never occurs that she can’t or shouldn’t do something only because of gender. Juxtaposed to this progressive view, she fiercely opposes Indian rights. While Yancey champions the Native American cause in every way possible, Sabra fights him at each turn. She reiterates every stereotype of Natives at her disposal. When her son, her sad-eyed son raised on her husband’s knee, marries an Indian princess, it is a low point for Sabra and she relegates her son to a lazy life on the reservation. Her daughter, the one on whom the family’s good looks never quite settled on, is a feminist as well but not in an admiring way. She uses her gender as a tool and makes it her goal to marry the richest man in the territory. She finagles and coos and tacitly sneaks around with him until he boots out his mean and crabby wife and replaces her with his new and very young love. Does Ferber make a statement here? The book is written something like a movie script. Whereas most novels have a flow to the story, Cimarron can very easily be broken into several distinct scenes. The book opens with the family dinner and moves almost directly to a night spent in the open when Sabra and Yancey are traveling. Turn the page and they are renting a house. Ferber is an excellent writer and can easily carry the story but this way of stacking scenes takes something away from the characters. And the book ends abruptly. With twenty pages or so pages to go, Ferber rolls the movie credits and recaps how each player ends up. There is a final scene with Sabra and Yancey but, by then, the story was already over and it comes off without emotion. Maybe Ferber is making a point? Maybe that was life in Oklahoma? Life’s a bitch and then you die? You live today and die tomorrow. Get over it? Good and interesting read. Longish. Well-written with little depth. Three-and-a-half stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Fantastic- !!!!

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