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The Turmoil

Booth Tarkington

Book Overview: 

The Turmoil is the first novel in the ‘Growth’ trilogy, which also includes The Magnificent Ambersons, and The Midlander

The trilogy traces the growth of the United States through the declining fortunes of three generations of the aristocratic Amberson family in a fictional Mid-Western town, between the end of the Civil War and the early part of the 20th century, a period of rapid industrialization and socio-economic change in America. The decline of the Ambersons is contrasted with the rising fortunes of industrial tycoons and other new-money families, which did not derive power from family names but by “doing things”. As George Amberson’s friend says, “don’t you think being things is ‘rahthuh bettuh’ than doing things?”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .FUGITIVE I will forget the things that sting: The lashing look, the barbed word. I know the very hands that fling The stones at me had never stirred To anger but for their own scars. They've suffered so, that's why they strike. I'll keep my heart among the stars Where none shall hunt it out. Oh, like These wounded ones I must not be, For, wounded, I might strike in turn! So, none shall hurt me. Far and free Where my heart flies no one shall learn.

"Bibbs!" Edith's voice was angry, and her color deepened suddenly as she came into the room, preceded by a scent of violets much more powerful than that warranted by the actual bunch of them upon the lapel of her coat.

Bibbs did not turn his head, but wagged it solemnly, seeming depressed by the poem. "Pretty young, isn't it?" he said. "There must have been something about your looks that got the prize, Edith; I can't believe the poem did it."

She glance. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I read The Turmoil because it's the first in a three book series, the second of which is The Magnificent Ambersons, a Pulitzer winner. I'd also previously read Tarkington's Penrod which became one of my all-time favorites. So, how did The Turmoil stack up? It's not hilarious as Penrod, though there

Though The Turmoil was not one of the two Pulitzer-winning novels by Booth Tarkington, it might as well have been. I have read Alice Adams and The Magnificent Ambersons, and they are certainly deserving winners, but I see little difference in caliber between them and The Turmoil, a thoroughly satisf

The Turmoil is the first of Booth Tarkington's "Growth" trilogy, which also includes his Pulitzer Prize winning 1918 novel, The Magnificent Ambersons. The Turmoil takes place in a place of urban sprawl when the negative affects of city life are all around the inhabitants including pollution, the obs

Originally read in July 2012.

The Turmoil was a novel that I liked moderately the first time I read it, but after mulling it over a good deal and reading it a second time, it has firmly ensconced itself as my second-favorite book by Booth Tarkington. Written first of what he would later group togethe

“The Turmoil” by Booth Tarkington, was the first novel in what would become the “Growth” trilogy. Originally published in 1915, “The Turmoil” takes place in a fictional mid-west city which is never named, but which is probably modeled on Indianapolis. The name of the trilogy is appropriate, not only

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