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The Conquest of Canaan

Booth Tarkington

Book Overview: 

Small town middle America in early 1900's---Ne'er-do-well Joe Louden loves daughter of wealthy judge, from afar---leaves town, goes to law school--returns to scandalize all by defending impossible cases---wins over town. Story of small town mores, social inequity, changing times, honor and greed.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Flitcroft, wearing a solemn expression of injury, came out upon the veranda.

He halted suddenly. "What's that?" he asked, with suspicion.

"Nothing," answered Ariel, sharply. "Where?"

"Behind those palms."

"Probably your own shadow," she laughed; "or it might have been a draught moving the leaves."

He did not seem satisfied, but stared hard at the spot where the dishes had disappeared, meantime edging back cautiously nearer the window.

"They want you," he said, after a pause. "Some one's come for you."

"Oh, is grandfather waiting?" She rose, at the same time letting her handkerchief fall. She stooped to pick it up, with her face away from Norbert and towards the palms, whispering tremulously, but with passionate urgency, "Please GO!"

"It isn't your grandfather that has come for you," said the fat one, slowly. "It is old Eskew Arp. Something's happened."

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Community Reviews

A nice period piece.

“The Conquest of Canaan”, originally published in Harper’s Magazine between June and December of 1905 is yet another story set in a small town in Indiana, and it bears many similarities to his first novel, “The Gentleman from Indiana”, and “The Two Vanrevels”. In all cases, the hero is an exceptiona

It took me a while to warm up to it. But once I got going I couldn’t put it down. It’s so timeless. Some say it is about the changing of a town. But I feel it is more about the measure of a man. And how honesty, and integrity pull a lot of weight in the long run...there is also an example of looking

If this were fanfiction, I would call it pure idfic. The writing is really top-notch, but what sells the story (to me, anyway) is the hurt/comfort vibe and the exaggeration of how the protagonist is treated, and his and his love interest's character development. In addition, it's a great window into

The Changing of a Town

I think this book would be classified as literary fiction, and although not up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning books, is a great read.
In this novel, Canaan is a small town of about thirty thousand people somewhere in Indiana, and it begins with a group of old men (called the “sa

A great book

I consider this book to be the best book that Booth Tarkington wrote next to Alice Adams both have great characters and a very good story.

3 1/2 stars

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was interesting to go back in time I realize how some things have not changed. The characters are richly developed and you find yourself wondering about them when you're not reading. A quick and fun read....more

With an intentional allusion to the Old Testament, this book takes us back to familiar Tarkington Hoosier territory. Like his earliest novel, The Gentleman from Indiana, we find the hero of the book as an outsider from the rest of the city, fighting the established municipal machinery and managing o