web site hit counter When The Legends Die - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

When The Legends Die

Availability: Ready to download

When his father killed another brave, Thomas Black Bull and his parents sought refuge in the wilderness. There they took up life as it had been in the old days, hunting and fishing, battling for survival. But an accident claimed the father's life and the grieving mother died shortly afterward. Left alone, the young Indian boy vowed never to retum to the white man's world, When his father killed another brave, Thomas Black Bull and his parents sought refuge in the wilderness. There they took up life as it had been in the old days, hunting and fishing, battling for survival. But an accident claimed the father's life and the grieving mother died shortly afterward. Left alone, the young Indian boy vowed never to retum to the white man's world, to the alien laws that had condemned his father.


Compare

When his father killed another brave, Thomas Black Bull and his parents sought refuge in the wilderness. There they took up life as it had been in the old days, hunting and fishing, battling for survival. But an accident claimed the father's life and the grieving mother died shortly afterward. Left alone, the young Indian boy vowed never to retum to the white man's world, When his father killed another brave, Thomas Black Bull and his parents sought refuge in the wilderness. There they took up life as it had been in the old days, hunting and fishing, battling for survival. But an accident claimed the father's life and the grieving mother died shortly afterward. Left alone, the young Indian boy vowed never to retum to the white man's world, to the alien laws that had condemned his father.

30 review for When The Legends Die

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I read this book in Junior High, and for some reason it really stuck with me. Some of my thoughts and images followed me around for 20 years -- until all I could remember was that it was a book about a native American that was totally mistreated and rode in a rodeo and rode horses to death but for some reason you don't blame him. My dear sister in law helped me figure out which book this was -- so I was able to read it again! It sings the song of a horrible point in the history of the United Stat I read this book in Junior High, and for some reason it really stuck with me. Some of my thoughts and images followed me around for 20 years -- until all I could remember was that it was a book about a native American that was totally mistreated and rode in a rodeo and rode horses to death but for some reason you don't blame him. My dear sister in law helped me figure out which book this was -- so I was able to read it again! It sings the song of a horrible point in the history of the United States America where so many amazing people were destroyed in the name of "civilization." I have been interested in this subject studying George Catlin, in college, who painted many of the last men and women who represented certain tribes before their ways and their traditions were totally obliterated by disease and/or loss of land and livelihood. Anyway, I digress -- but this book explores that idea and also the displacement of a boy who lost his roots and led a miserable life because he couldn't be who he truly was. I found it very interesting... obviously.:)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Petergiaquinta

    I'm not quite sure how Hal Borland's When the Legends Die has managed to slip through the cracks like this and not get rated by me until today (7/12/12) because I've rated books on GoodReads that I read only once back in grade school, while I've read Legends approximately 21 times and each time as an adult. That would easily put Legends in my top-five books read the most number of times. (And just in case you're wondering what that top-five list would look like, here it goes: 1)Romeo and Juliet, I'm not quite sure how Hal Borland's When the Legends Die has managed to slip through the cracks like this and not get rated by me until today (7/12/12) because I've rated books on GoodReads that I read only once back in grade school, while I've read Legends approximately 21 times and each time as an adult. That would easily put Legends in my top-five books read the most number of times. (And just in case you're wondering what that top-five list would look like, here it goes: 1)Romeo and Juliet, 2)Hamlet, 3)Tale of Two Cities, 4)To Kill a Mockingbird, and 5)When the Legends Die. And no, I'm not an insane masochist; I'm a high school English teacher...wait a minute...I am an insane masochist! Maybe I'm a bit of a sadist, too, because each year I inflict Legends on anywhere from 60-90 new freshman. Their response to the novel is much like the 714 ratings here at Goodreads: some of them like it and some of them hate it, and all told their responses would probably level out at three stars just like my rating and pretty close to the average rating of the Goodreads populace. I like the book and I enjoy teaching it, even if it's not a 5-star read like, say, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I've argued to keep it in the curriculum because it has a lot going for its inclusion. For one, Borland's coming-of-age novel is an adult book with adult sensibilities that appeals to (some) teenage readers, and I think it's crucial to keep adult books in the high school curriculum despite the current onslaught of crappy young-adult "literature." Legends tells the story of a young Native American boy whose journey through life takes him from the mountains of Colorado where he lives a traditional life with his parents, into an Indian boarding school after his parents die, to the dusty world of small-time rodeo through the Southwest, until his travels eventually take him back to where he started. It's no great novel, but it's a solid read; it's far more challenging that the YA dreck read in many freshmen English classes, and it deals with concepts necessary to introduce to young readers--identity, culture, alienation, coming of age, the role of the natural world, the destruction of the native peoples--and explores them seriously yet in a way that is accessible to a fourteen-year-old reader. And, most importantly, all those themes can truly be explored throughout the book; they are developed and returned to, traced through character development, figurative language and symbolism in ways that most young-adult books fail to do. Borland's novel allows for close reading, too, and that's something absolutely missing from even the very best young-adult books today.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rowland Pasaribu

    Borland presents his readers with a remarkably sensitive and insightful portrayal of Native American life in twentieth-century United States. He seems to understand their profound connection to the natural world and their sense of loss at the dissolution of culture and traditions. In When the Legends Die, Borland repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the concept of "roundness," or the continuity and eternity of old ways, in Ute culture. He recognizes the threat modern American society presents Borland presents his readers with a remarkably sensitive and insightful portrayal of Native American life in twentieth-century United States. He seems to understand their profound connection to the natural world and their sense of loss at the dissolution of culture and traditions. In When the Legends Die, Borland repeatedly emphasizes the importance of the concept of "roundness," or the continuity and eternity of old ways, in Ute culture. He recognizes the threat modern American society presents to this continuity. Borland has made important contributions to the literary world. He is most remembered for his ability to paint vivid pictures of specific geographical areas, through dialect and in-depth visual description. This local color plays prominently in When the Legends Die, which takes place in the southwestern United States. When the Legends Die traces the life path of the novel's protagonist Thomas Black Bull, a Native American Ute from Southwestern Colorado. As a young boy, Tom lives with his mother Bessie and his father George Black Bull in Pagosa. However, when George Black Bull kills Frank No Deer for having repeatedly stolen money from him, the family must flee the town. Returning to the wilderness, they live happily in the old Ute way. One winter day, an avalanche kills Tom's father as he hunts in a valley. Tom adopts the name "Bear's Brother," as well as the role of the man of the family. When Bessie returns to Pagosa to visit the general store, she learns that her husband's name has been cleared but still hesitates to move back into town. The following winter, Bessie becomes ill and dies. Living alone in the wilderness, Tom befriends many animals and becomes particularly close to a bear cub whom he considers his closest friend and his brother. The most prominent theme of the novel involves Tom's lifelong struggle to find meaning, happiness, and peace in his life. While all human beings struggle with this search, Tom's position, as a Ute Native American and as a child whose parents have both died young, renders his path toward meaning particularly difficult. Tom must negotiate countless societal pressures as he leaves the wilderness and enters the civilized world. As a Ute Native American living in the beginning of the twentieth century, the new life he begins in Pagosa forces him to reconsider his entire value system as well as the details of his daily patterns. The next phase of his life, in which he becomes a wild bronco rider in the rodeo, does not provide the peace and sense of accomplishment he has expected. Despite his fame, success, and relatively comfortable existence, Tom finds himself continually dissatisfied, angry, and in search of greater meaning in his life. After years of struggling with fundamental questions about his identity, Tom finally comes to terms with himself when he accepts a job herding sheep in the same area in which he spent his childhood. By facing his fears and painful memories, he overcomes them and learns that an embrace of his heritage and a new, simple lifestyle in the wilderness can provide him with the most contentment he has felt since his childhood. Because this theme provides the novel's central conflict, the novel concludes as soon as his search for his identity concludes. Linked to Tom's search for his own identity is his search for his true home. Bald Mountain and the surrounding wilderness provide Tom with a sense of home and of belonging during his childhood years. Even in the painful time following the death of his mother, Tom lives peacefully in the wilderness, befriending the animals with whom he shares the woods. However, when Blue Elk persuades him to leave the woods and enroll in the local reservation school, Tom first experiences the acute pain of displacement and will continue to experience it for most of his life, until he returns to the wilderness at the end of the novel. As Tom's teachers and bosses become increasingly frustrated with Tom's inability to complete certain tasks or with his passionate will to return to his old ways, they send him from place to place. As a result, Tom does not feel welcomed in by any environment or by any individual. When he begins his career as a bronco rider, this pattern only perpetuates itself, as his competition takes him to many cities across the country. He lives a life on the road, with no sense of attachment to place or people. While he hungers for the comfort and ease a sense of home provides, he know not how to seek it until his return to the mountains. From his very first interactions with the townspeople of Pagosa upon his arrival at the reservation school, Tom reacts to authority figures with resentment, hostility, and distrust. However, his experiences with these authority figures justify his behavior toward them. They have deprived him of the lifestyle of his heritage and treat him with prejudice because of his status as a Native American. Tom also feels as though these authority figures continually attempt to control his life in various ways. They exploit his abilities for their own material gain or for their own sense of worth. Tom's resentment of authority becomes so pronounced, however, that it sometimes causes him to distance himself from people who may genuinely try to help him. For example, the nurse Mary Redmond, who appears later in the novel, strives to comfort and care for Tom. Because of his fear of her control over him, he automatically assumes she has selfish motives. Borland writes, "Then he remembered and the whole pattern fell into place. Blue Elk, Benny Grayback, Rowena Ellis, Red Dillon—they had trapped him, every one of them, had tried to run his life, make him do things their way. And now Mary Redmond." The title of the novel, When the Legends Die, plays an important role in its themes and lessons and speaks to the dangers of forgetting one's heritage. When Tom distances himself from his Ute traditions, he loses his identity and becomes bitter and lonely. While the author addresses the universal need for people to embrace and remember their roots, he speaks more particularly to the situation of Native Americans in the United States. As government and private interests force them off their land, they become assimilated to the mainstream culture and often lose the positive aspects of their heritage.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Boardman

    This book is my favorite book of all time. I've read a lot of books. This book has stayed with me all throughout my life. I built up a huge library of books and then decided to live a simpler life and got rid of all of them, except this book, Spider, the Terrible Cat, and A Clockwork Orange. I read this book for the first time when I was twelve. The first part of the book held a resonance for me that I find it hard to explain. I am not an American Indian. I am not a boy. There were ten children i This book is my favorite book of all time. I've read a lot of books. This book has stayed with me all throughout my life. I built up a huge library of books and then decided to live a simpler life and got rid of all of them, except this book, Spider, the Terrible Cat, and A Clockwork Orange. I read this book for the first time when I was twelve. The first part of the book held a resonance for me that I find it hard to explain. I am not an American Indian. I am not a boy. There were ten children in my family. However, I was often alone by choice, and never lonely, and I was often angry and confused. I see things concretely, and the ways of society were hard for me to decipher. People were often not what they said they were. Animals were easier to deal with. Nature was always a balm for me when the world was too hard to deal with. I read this book again in my twenties. The second part of the book at that point held a resonance for me that I can more easily explain. I also rode dangerous paths in order to kill the demons that pushed against the insides as I raged against the world, and against my sense of hopelessness and displacement within it. I didn't care, because it hurt to much to look at what was hurting. I didn't plan much for the future, because I didn't have one. When I got injured, whether inside or out, I got up and continued my destructive ways. People said I was crazy; they didn't understand what drove me. I read this book again in my thirties. The third part of the book pulled me into its center; how to let go of the anger in the realization that it is killing you. Accepting the healing that love can provide. Returning in some ways to the good that you once knew. Accepting your history and moving on. Forgiving and trying to understand the people that have failed you. Learning to separate yourself from toxic people. Deciding to live a simple, low key life. Accepting the damage that you've done to yourself and others. Nowadays, I wonder what the life of old Meo was about. What were his thoughts? What were his realizations? Who did he understand himself to be? Did he forgive and understand others, or was he a stunted, degenerate person who didn't think much about anything? This book is, strangely, a reflection of who I am. Not many books can travel along with you throughout your life and still resonate within you. For that reason, it is a treasure that I hold dear.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James Workman

    Although this book is popular and well liked by many readers, I believe that it subtly perpetuates Native American stereotypes and misrepresentations. The author was not a Native American and it shows over and over as he tries unsuccessfully to explain the contemporary cultural struggles of Native Americans through his main character Thomas Black Bull. Borland creates Thomas, a Ute Indian who is orphaned and resists assimilation in every way he can usually with violence. Since the author was not Although this book is popular and well liked by many readers, I believe that it subtly perpetuates Native American stereotypes and misrepresentations. The author was not a Native American and it shows over and over as he tries unsuccessfully to explain the contemporary cultural struggles of Native Americans through his main character Thomas Black Bull. Borland creates Thomas, a Ute Indian who is orphaned and resists assimilation in every way he can usually with violence. Since the author was not a Ute Indian, Thomas just lives as a sketch of resistance and a facade of enduring nobleness and stoicism. His underlying rage and his contempt for his oppressors make him the perfect noble savage. Please do not be fooled by Borland's auspicious but romanticized creation. Please do not assign this young readers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    A true classic. A sensitive look at identity, Native American vs. rodeo cowboy culture. The figure of the bear parallels the different stages of life of Tom Black Bull, who becomes the fearsome bronco buster Tom Black after being forced to abandon the traditional ways of his parents. His encounters with the boarding school are both funny and tragic. His final rediscovery of Ute Indian spirituality succeeds without sentimentalizing or stereotyping, I feel. Borland clearly knows a lot about wilder A true classic. A sensitive look at identity, Native American vs. rodeo cowboy culture. The figure of the bear parallels the different stages of life of Tom Black Bull, who becomes the fearsome bronco buster Tom Black after being forced to abandon the traditional ways of his parents. His encounters with the boarding school are both funny and tragic. His final rediscovery of Ute Indian spirituality succeeds without sentimentalizing or stereotyping, I feel. Borland clearly knows a lot about wilderness survival and rodeo riding. I would recommend the story to any older boy trying to understand what it means to find oneself while wrestling with societal norms about masculinity and maturity.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    My English teacher recommended this book in High School. It wasn't assigned reading, but she thought I would enjoy it. She was right! A truly moving story.. something I'm looking forward to reading again soon. My English teacher recommended this book in High School. It wasn't assigned reading, but she thought I would enjoy it. She was right! A truly moving story.. something I'm looking forward to reading again soon.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I remember reading it in Jr. High and it is a touching story about a Native American boy and his life. "My hands have watched your hands many times. My hands are your hands now. " "The boy beat on the door with his fists, then began to chant. It was a sorrow song, a song that Benny had never heard because it was the boy's own song. Benny did not want to listen but he heard, and although he wanted to go away he stayed there. Without knowing, he began to hum the chant, then to say its words softly, I remember reading it in Jr. High and it is a touching story about a Native American boy and his life. "My hands have watched your hands many times. My hands are your hands now. " "The boy beat on the door with his fists, then began to chant. It was a sorrow song, a song that Benny had never heard because it was the boy's own song. Benny did not want to listen but he heard, and although he wanted to go away he stayed there. Without knowing, he began to hum the chant, then to say its words softly, and to sway with its rhythms. It was a song from far back, not only in the boy but in Benny's own people. Its rhythm was his own heartbeat." " 'If you kill the bear,' he said, 'then you will kill the boy.' " "The agent pushed the silver dollars across the desk and Blue Elk picked them up, one at a time, and put them in his pocket. He put on his battered hat. Then he turned and left, a tired and bruised old man who somehow, the agent couldn't figure quite how, represented the pride and dignity of a whole race." "He stood among the ashes and whispered his sorrow chant, not even saying it aloud. For small griefs you shout, but for big griefs you whisper or say nothing. The big griefs must be borne alone, inside." "There was no song in him. Only a numbness, a nothing." "They do not need guns to kill you. They kill without guns." "If left to itself, the earth would grow grass and many other good things. When you plowed up the grass you were making the earth into something it did not want to be." " 'Frijole,' he said to it, 'our young friend thinks he is the boss. He will eat you, Frijole. But you have a rumble to make, so you will make that rumble in his belly.' He shook his head. 'Our young friend will be eaten, too. We are all eaten. If he had a rumble to make, where will he make it? In the belly of the one who eats him.' " "Meo went on sorting beans. Finally he said, 'Life is the boss. We do what we can. Then we are old. We creep off in a corner and sit, and the tongue makes the rumble. But is only noise, talk, talk, talk.' He sighed and was silent." " 'Time is a rider that breaks youth.' " "Nobody else can live your life for you. You have to ride your own furies." "The money mattered little. He had begun to find himself. That did matter." "You talk to a Mexican that way and he smiles and nods and seems to agree, even though he goes out and does things the way he always has. But time after time he had seen an Indian just sort of draw the curtains and retreat, as though he was slipping back into the remote past, into a kind of pride that was all mixed up with hurt and resentment. Tom Black was doing that right now, retreating into an emotional cave." "He was a stranger here. He had always been a stranger. All he had here ws a hatful of memories. And what did the memories mean? Nothing. Less than nothing. They were like scars. You looked at them and remembered old hurts that had healed over." "He was the devil-killer, and nobody worried or wondered about who was the real devil he was trying to kill." "Tom Black rode in tight-lipped silence, even more quietly venomous in the saddle as he was on foot. And he was known as a hostile, silent man at the chutes, on the street, in the hotel lobbies. He had no friends, wanted none, needed none. He lived for only one thing-- the violence of his rides in the arena--and the crowds sensed it." "Time no longer mattered to him. Nothing mattered except those intervals in the arena when he, like the broncs themselves, was a fighting creature wholly devoted to punishment and violence." "But you don't ride as long as he had ridden without knowing a few times when fear does share the saddle. You don't admit it, even to yourself. You get up off the ground and back in the saddle, and you ride the bronc to a standstill, and the fear with it." "Time, he thought, was like the onions he had just peeled. Layer on layer, and to get down to the heart of things you let the layers peel off, one by one." "He told Woodward his name was Tom Black Bull, but that was like telling the clerk in the clothing store he used to herd sheep, a kind of backhanded brag. If you said it first they couldn't say it back with a nasty twist." "He had asked his mother the meaning of the stripes on the chipmunk's back. Those stripes, she said, were the paths from its eyes, with which it sees now and tomorrow, to its tail, which is always behind it and a part of yesterday. He laughed at that and said he wished he, too, had a tail. His mother had said, 'When you are a man you will have a tail, though you will never see it. You will have something always behind you.' "

  9. 4 out of 5

    ladydusk

    Own. I first read this book as a Freshman in High School, some 32 years or so ago. I always remembered that I liked it, and as I am following the Literary Life Podcast's reading challenge of #20for2020 this year, and they have a "Reread a Book You Read in High School" category, I thought it would be a fitting reread. Aside from the challenge, I wondered if it would be appropriate for my nearly 14 year old son. I enjoyed it probably more this time. I read the whole book today. It is written in a ci Own. I first read this book as a Freshman in High School, some 32 years or so ago. I always remembered that I liked it, and as I am following the Literary Life Podcast's reading challenge of #20for2020 this year, and they have a "Reread a Book You Read in High School" category, I thought it would be a fitting reread. Aside from the challenge, I wondered if it would be appropriate for my nearly 14 year old son. I enjoyed it probably more this time. I read the whole book today. It is written in a circle detailing how our lives are a circle and how to find the starting place of our identity. The main character, Tom Black Bull has many names - the boy, Brother Bear, Thomas, Tom, Killer Tom Black - that each fit his identity for the duration of part of the story. Just how is for the reader to learn. Set in the early 1900s and detailing the exploitation of the Ute people, there are harsh realities regarding the white people - marriage and baptism for money not truth, the administrator of the Reservation school is not shown in a good light, the gambling cynic who takes Tom "under his wing," even the do-gooder teacher is shown as not really understanding and causing more trouble than good. These indictments are eased by other characters - the store owner, the flock owner, the and doctors (one of whom quotes George Herbert twice) who seem to understand and ease things with kindness. To some extent, the characters other than Tom are static and in their roles, but they serve a purpose and aren't caricatures. While I was frustrated by the portrayal of preachers/priests, the climax of the book - which is very near the end - is a spiritual awakening. Tom's understanding of his identity is rooted in the pronouncement of the "All Mother." This is by no means a Christian portrayal of Gospel, but it does point to human need for the transcendant. Thomas Black Bull's beliefs shape who he is and how he will live going forward. He can now go forward after this dark night of the soul. There is much here that can be discussed. Well written, engaging, it was a good way to start my reading year.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Taya

    I read this book in high school as a required read and read it again for my masters class (Native American novel). The book is about the life of Tom Black Bull and his struggles to find his identity. He begins in the mountains with his parents after his father kills another man. Then he is taken to the reservation and forced to attend school. He did all he could to not lose his old ways at a Ute. Finally, he began riding the ponies on the reservation and found that he could ride them until a sta I read this book in high school as a required read and read it again for my masters class (Native American novel). The book is about the life of Tom Black Bull and his struggles to find his identity. He begins in the mountains with his parents after his father kills another man. Then he is taken to the reservation and forced to attend school. He did all he could to not lose his old ways at a Ute. Finally, he began riding the ponies on the reservation and found that he could ride them until a standstill. When in town with the sheepherder, two men paid him to ride their horses in (in hopes that he would be thrown and humiliated), and he did to their surprise. He caught the eye of Red Dillion and began his life as a bronc rider. Red was a drunk and a gambler who told Tom how to ride and when to win. Tom obeyed and the pair traveled the countryside. It was like that until Tom was tired of listening to Red and decided to make his own decisions and ride to win. Red and Meo eventually expired and Tom traveled the rodeo circuit alone trying to win the big purses. He did well but didn't ride to win, he rode for revenge and to punish the horses. He continued this cycle until he was crushed when riding at the Garden in New York City. He was laid up in the hospital for many weeks and his future of a bronc rider were slim. But Tom was determined to ride again and prove everyone wrong. He recovered enough to leave the hospital and traveled to Colorado back to the reservation. He became a sheepherder and was again with nature and lived in solitary among the animals and vegetation. His path crossed with a grizzly bear while watching the sheep and he was determined to kill it, kill his boyhood. But once he encountered the bear again he couldn't shoot him. He knew he must purify himself and lived from the land and reconnected with the old ways. This was a story of identity and belonging. Throughout the story he continually tried to find himself.

  11. 5 out of 5

    lark benobi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This novel was assigned in my English class during my freshman year of high school. I couldn't read it. I kept thinking the bear was going to die. The tension kept making me put the book down. The bear survives, I now know. But the Dad dies. And the Mom dies. And Red dies. And Meo dies. And many horses die. Other things die. It's just not what I'd call an uplifting read, especially because it's written in a simplistic, pounding sort of rhythm that seems to be the inevitable choice of white autho This novel was assigned in my English class during my freshman year of high school. I couldn't read it. I kept thinking the bear was going to die. The tension kept making me put the book down. The bear survives, I now know. But the Dad dies. And the Mom dies. And Red dies. And Meo dies. And many horses die. Other things die. It's just not what I'd call an uplifting read, especially because it's written in a simplistic, pounding sort of rhythm that seems to be the inevitable choice of white authors writing about Native Americans in the sixties. Even so I feel a sense of accomplishment to have finally read to the end after 40 years of avoiding it. For those with children or teens interested in Native American culture I'd recommend the stories of Joseph Bruchac as a good place to start. For those interested in the Indian Residential Schools, a good place to start might be with the book "Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences 1879-2000," by Margaret Archuleta, or "Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School," by Jack Agnes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    Incorporated in this timeless novel are many themes relevant to a young man's growth. The main character's forced removal from his forefathers' way of life and from intimate contact with nature makes his coming-of-age crisis even more difficult and moving. Cut off from everything he knows, he is left to find a path into adulthood. He chooses the life of a wandering bullrider, emphasizing the tumultuous emotional journey he undergoes. The book relates the injustices committed by white settlers in Incorporated in this timeless novel are many themes relevant to a young man's growth. The main character's forced removal from his forefathers' way of life and from intimate contact with nature makes his coming-of-age crisis even more difficult and moving. Cut off from everything he knows, he is left to find a path into adulthood. He chooses the life of a wandering bullrider, emphasizing the tumultuous emotional journey he undergoes. The book relates the injustices committed by white settlers in the taming of the West, making it a solid period piece, but with many human elements that one can relate to in any era. I highly recommend this to anyone, but especially young people and those interested in Native Americans or living in harmony with nature.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Josh Frerichs

    This book is about a Native American family in the late 1800s. The father gets his money and horse stolen by another native American, so the father ends up killing the thief. Then the police come and chase the family into the woods, so they live in the woods. Then the mother and father end up dying during the winter. Then an official from a nearby village tracks down the boy named Thomas and takes him to a town so Thomas can go to school. Then Thomas starts to work with horses and he becomes a p This book is about a Native American family in the late 1800s. The father gets his money and horse stolen by another native American, so the father ends up killing the thief. Then the police come and chase the family into the woods, so they live in the woods. Then the mother and father end up dying during the winter. Then an official from a nearby village tracks down the boy named Thomas and takes him to a town so Thomas can go to school. Then Thomas starts to work with horses and he becomes a professional in the rodeo. I thought it was really cool that in the beginning Thomas makes friends and domesticates a baby bear. I also liked that there was a lot of descriptions of stuff in the book. I also liked the part where Thomas's classmates made fun of his braids, so he beat them up. I really liked this book, I would definitely recommend this book to all of my friends.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Glode

    This was a really interesting book and a great way to understand the struggles faced by Native Americans as they are forced to change their ways of living. Also, the author definitely did a good job in describing the nature of the American southwest where most of the book took place.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rowland Pasaribu

    The Empire of Bitterness: Alienation and Dishonesty The paradoxical part of the identification syndrome is that until it has been resolved there can be no friendship and no love—only hate. Until we can allow others to be themselves, and others to be free, it is impossible to truly love another human being; neurotic and dependent love is, perhaps possible, but not genuine love, which can be generated only in the self (Hal Borland). From the very beginning of the story, the theme of alienation is ap The Empire of Bitterness: Alienation and Dishonesty The paradoxical part of the identification syndrome is that until it has been resolved there can be no friendship and no love—only hate. Until we can allow others to be themselves, and others to be free, it is impossible to truly love another human being; neurotic and dependent love is, perhaps possible, but not genuine love, which can be generated only in the self (Hal Borland). From the very beginning of the story, the theme of alienation is apparent. George Black Bull is on the run from the law. From that point until the conclusion of the novel, the underlying theme is one of isolation. Thomas's family is forced to leave the community and find their way in the wilderness. The family finds peace in the forest, but, by a twist of fate, Thomas is yanked from this environment and is forced into another strange setting. Again Thomas feels alienated. He is not comfortable with his new surroundings, and because of his unusual background, he becomes estranged from the people around him. Everything about the new people he must live with is different from Thomas: their language, clothes, beliefs and visions of the world, and even the type of food they eat. His life follows this pattern, taking him from one strange environment to another. In each new environment, he always feels like the stranger, the alienated one. In the end, it is Thomas's alienation from himself that he must face. Although he seeks out his homeland on a subconscious level, it takes him awhile to remember that this is the place of his roots. At first, he believes that he has come home to recuperate from his accident. Slowly, it dawns on him that he has truly come home. In the last moments of the novel, Thomas learns to bridge the alienation that exists in his own head. One of the main causes of the underlying theme of alienation in this story is the dishonesty of the people around Thomas. Blue Elk, a fellow Ute, pretends to befriend Thomas and his family in the beginning of the story. However, Blue Elk's intentions are always selfish and usually mercenary. Blue Elk first leads Thomas's family to Pagosa's sawmill and away from the reservation by filling their heads with the idea that they would make a lot of money. Instead, the family becomes ensconced in chronic debt. Blue Elk lies to Thomas to get the boy to leave his wilderness lodge. Blue Elk then steals all the boy's possessions. Red Dillon is also dishonest. He teaches Thomas to throw rodeo events so that he can up the ante on bets. His cheating often causes the two of them to get into trouble such that they must strategically hide their horses for sudden getaways from the small Western towns in which Thomas rides in rodeos. The story is told from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. This narrator is privileged to see the unfolding of the tale through several different characters. This gives the story a well-rounded but sometimes shallow perspective. Though the reader is witness to many variations of opinions, none of the characters is revealed in depth. The omniscient narrator tells the story in a very straightforward manner. There is only one flashback and that occurs in the beginning of the story; the rest is told in a linear time line. The narration is simple, with minimal descriptions offered about the landscape, the way people look, the colors of clothing, or, on a nonphysical level, the way people feel. Moreover, there is very little use of symbol or metaphor in the narration. Rather, the tale unfolds through a series of actions, with almost half of the story involved with the activity at rodeos. "The truth it's out there... and it's hurt sometime."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca T

    I couldn’t bring myself to leave anything other than 5 stars for this one. Ever since I was a little kid I remember hearing my dad say that this is the only book he’s ever read all the way through. A bookworm my whole life, I finally made time for it at the age of 26 and I was not disappointed. It’s not a happy book. In fact, it’s downright depressing. I don’t think there’s even one happy moment in this story and that’s ok with me. Not everything needs to be sunshine and butterflies. The ending I couldn’t bring myself to leave anything other than 5 stars for this one. Ever since I was a little kid I remember hearing my dad say that this is the only book he’s ever read all the way through. A bookworm my whole life, I finally made time for it at the age of 26 and I was not disappointed. It’s not a happy book. In fact, it’s downright depressing. I don’t think there’s even one happy moment in this story and that’s ok with me. Not everything needs to be sunshine and butterflies. The ending brings a sense of closure at least. The writing style is very simple, which I felt perfectly complimented the primitive rage Tom experienced throughout most of the story. I didn’t get really hooked until nearly halfway through, but when I did I felt every ache and pain, and all of Tom Black’s anger right along with him. I was in great suspense during the last quarter, wondering if he would live or die, and what path he might follow should he survive. I related greatly to Tom’s difficulty in figuring himself out, and to his realizing that he had been led astray by others, instead of blazing his own trail. I am glad I waited until I was older to read this. I don’t think it would be quite as relatable to children under maybe 13. Probably a little older. It’s pretty heavy stuff in my opinion. This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re up for a heart-wrenching journey of self discovery it’s well worth the read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric Shaffer

    I'm still thinking--deeply--about this one. It was a slow read because it requires a lot of engagement. Some have told me the book is slow, but it isn't; it just requires full attention and a good deal of your energy. That is not a bad thing. In fact, I would recommend reading this book to every teen I know. Tom Black Bull's story is compelling in many ways, but one of the most rewarding is following the story of a man who is alone but not lonely. Since loneliness can be a primary ingredient of I'm still thinking--deeply--about this one. It was a slow read because it requires a lot of engagement. Some have told me the book is slow, but it isn't; it just requires full attention and a good deal of your energy. That is not a bad thing. In fact, I would recommend reading this book to every teen I know. Tom Black Bull's story is compelling in many ways, but one of the most rewarding is following the story of a man who is alone but not lonely. Since loneliness can be a primary ingredient of the teen years, this book may provide solace and refuge. Tom also has a large task before him, and he does well with it. The novel is painful to read not only for the account of how ways of life were destroyed for Native Americans, but for how much of our own lives are taken away from all of us by the rest of us, whether we intend it or not. I am not a fan of the supernatural, and I am glad that the very tiny elements of it that are included here are easily founded on the state of the events in the story and allow for multiple interpretations. If you haven't read this one, it's in the League of Life-Changing Novels for Teens and remains excellent for adults as well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Blaise Morita

    Hal Borland's weathered and winding When The Legends Die encapsulates the life and death of a native American Indian caught up in the modern's surging encroachment on the ways of his ancestral people. Losing first his parents, then his name, his choices and his dignity, Thomas Black Bull becomes a chameleon of sorts almost by necessity. The fiery youth occasionally bends but never breaks from the cruelty of those he happens to come across yet is strengthened by chance encounters that lead him to Hal Borland's weathered and winding When The Legends Die encapsulates the life and death of a native American Indian caught up in the modern's surging encroachment on the ways of his ancestral people. Losing first his parents, then his name, his choices and his dignity, Thomas Black Bull becomes a chameleon of sorts almost by necessity. The fiery youth occasionally bends but never breaks from the cruelty of those he happens to come across yet is strengthened by chance encounters that lead him to greener pastures. Split into four distinct segments, the story of Thomas Black Bull reveals itself in quarters, each occupying its own distinct flair and purpose in the narrative that dictates who he shall become. Borland breaths life into Thomas by identifying the unique circumstances that shape his persona and giving his underdog tale true optimism with each page turn. Finishing the last page may be the last we see of Thomas, but the imprint of his tale of adversity turned to unabashed anger to the potential of peace leaves a legacy that will surely never die.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Blake Varner

    I think this book is great for high school level readers, and is great in tha fact that is has a lot of a historical background. Through out all of the book it slowly gives you a time frame of the late 1800's in which the Dawes act was accuring. In the story it goes through the character Thomas Black Bull's life, from early childhood to when he is fully grown up. Thomas gets forced into the American culture early in the book, and tries to survive. He lives like he lived in the old ways of his pe I think this book is great for high school level readers, and is great in tha fact that is has a lot of a historical background. Through out all of the book it slowly gives you a time frame of the late 1800's in which the Dawes act was accuring. In the story it goes through the character Thomas Black Bull's life, from early childhood to when he is fully grown up. Thomas gets forced into the American culture early in the book, and tries to survive. He lives like he lived in the old ways of his people, in which he believes everything everyone says is the truth letting anyone and everyone take advantage of him.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    I had to read this in middle school. It was the only book we read that year that I disliked, and I disliked it INTENSELY. I still can't think of it without cringing. I think the main problem I had with it was that all the riding horses to death stuff made me super angry (animal lover here!), but I also found the writing both dull and extremely heavy-handed. Sometimes I feel like I should give it another chance as an adult (maybe I was just too young for it at age 12?), but it left such a bad tas I had to read this in middle school. It was the only book we read that year that I disliked, and I disliked it INTENSELY. I still can't think of it without cringing. I think the main problem I had with it was that all the riding horses to death stuff made me super angry (animal lover here!), but I also found the writing both dull and extremely heavy-handed. Sometimes I feel like I should give it another chance as an adult (maybe I was just too young for it at age 12?), but it left such a bad taste in my mouth the first time that, honestly, I'm doubting that's ever going to happen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leela4

    It's difficult to remember the plot because it was a monotonous book. All I can remember is an unhappy boy becomes an infamous rodeo rider, is neither happy nor unhappy with it, quits for no reason I can remember, and I have no idea how it ended. I read it when I was fifteen or sixteen and thought it monotonous and cruel. On the plus side it gave me insight into a certain personality type. It's difficult to remember the plot because it was a monotonous book. All I can remember is an unhappy boy becomes an infamous rodeo rider, is neither happy nor unhappy with it, quits for no reason I can remember, and I have no idea how it ended. I read it when I was fifteen or sixteen and thought it monotonous and cruel. On the plus side it gave me insight into a certain personality type.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    I had to read this in high school, and it was the only book in high school that we were assigned to read that I didn't like. I had to read this in high school, and it was the only book in high school that we were assigned to read that I didn't like.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    Unfortunately for this book, my memory of reading it is too tightly intertwined with the vivid memory of the terrible English teacher who assigned it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Summer Mendizabal

    Too boring to finish...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Trauman

    One of my all time favorite books! I wore this one out when I was younger.

  26. 5 out of 5

    LeAnne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This books starts out almost idyllic. Well, OK, the family is living “in the old way” in the mountains because Dad killed the guy who kept stealing his money so he could never get out of debt, but other than that… Thomas Black Bull, Bear’s Brother, grows up living off the land, learning traditional skills and chants. He is perfectly capable of living on his own after the deaths of his parents, but he is taken away by Black Elk, who can only be described as a collaborator with the Indian Agency, This books starts out almost idyllic. Well, OK, the family is living “in the old way” in the mountains because Dad killed the guy who kept stealing his money so he could never get out of debt, but other than that… Thomas Black Bull, Bear’s Brother, grows up living off the land, learning traditional skills and chants. He is perfectly capable of living on his own after the deaths of his parents, but he is taken away by Black Elk, who can only be described as a collaborator with the Indian Agency, and forced to go to a boarding school where they want to train him to live in “the new way,” i.e. the white man’s way—settled farming. Bear’s Brother, now called Tom does not adapt well and ultimately takes out his anger as a rodeo rider with a reputation for riding broncs to their deaths. The middle of the book is pretty depressing, and one longs for him to find himself in his Creator rather than eating himself alive. In the end he returns to the mountains where he grew up, seeking to kill all the bad memories, even the bear who was his brother. Eventually through fasting and dreams Tom gains peace, even though he recognizes that he is not the same person as the boy who left these mountains. The writing is beautiful and tragic although the ending is spelled out more than it needs to be. The period of history is rather vague. It begins in 1910. In the early part of the book it’s all horses and wagons. Then when Tom leaves school there are a lot of cars and trucks, and by the end he stays in a “modern” hospital although there are not enough details to gather how modern. A lot of years have gone by, and Tom has grown up. There are references to rodeos all over the country, but no reference to the Great Depression or to World War II so I was unclear as to how to picture the setting in the latter part of the book, or even if Tom is 25 or 45 when he comes home. But then I suppose when the book was published in 1963, the ‘30s and ‘40s didn’t seem historical enough to need clues. This was one of the books recommended by Vine Deloria in Custer Died for Your Sins so presumably, at least when that was published in 1969, he thought it gave an accurate representation of Native American life and the expectations put on a gifted young person. Tom is supposed to fit into a box: a clout Indian living and dressing in the old way which he no longer is, a reservation Indian dependent on the Indian Agency which he has always despised, or a rare break out who fits into the white man’s world, but he can never be wholly of that world either. Tom gains respect as an incredible bronc rider, but he is almost a white man’s caricature of an Indian. He dresses in fancy Western clothes that mark him as an outsider—maybe a movie actor—when he returns to the real world of his hometown. The chants Bear’s Brother learned as a child and returns at the end of the book seem less like religion and more like acknowledgment of the rhythms of life, the rising and setting of the son, his relationship with the animals he hunts. They bring him back to the recognition of who he is at his core. Sadly, I find it hard to imagine such an isolated life being possible on government land in the 21st c.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hartlaub

    A novel that explores the life of a Native American boy who is raised in the old ways as his family teaches him to be self-sufficient and respect the legends and teachings of the elders. After losing his parents, he is subjected to the modern world through forced education, bias against his race, child employment, among other things. A word on the "education" and "employment". The education is basically arts and crafts, with the military decided what the unteachable Indians were capable of learn A novel that explores the life of a Native American boy who is raised in the old ways as his family teaches him to be self-sufficient and respect the legends and teachings of the elders. After losing his parents, he is subjected to the modern world through forced education, bias against his race, child employment, among other things. A word on the "education" and "employment". The education is basically arts and crafts, with the military decided what the unteachable Indians were capable of learning. Tooling leather (which needs a craftsman, no doubt about it), basket weaving (again this is a craftsman's trade) and mucking out stall. I have done my fair share of mucking out and this is neither trade nor craft: Find poop. Remove poop. Spread bedding to dry. Add fresh bedding. Child employment is another matter. Today I believe we would call it child trafficking. Everyone gets a share of the kid and the work he produces, except the kid. They get basic bedding, food and threats. In Thomas' case, he finally winds up in the hands of a broken down rodeo cowboy, Red, who uses the child in his schemes to swindle small town residents, teaching Thomas how to ride a bronco fairly and cleanly, how to maim, how to throw a ride and eventually how to kill the horse during a ride. Thomas learns well and even after breaking with Red, keeps the hatred and anger that he learned to gain the fame of a horse killer. This book tells the story of Thomas' early life learning the old ways, his schooling, his rodeo circuit days and, at the end, his redemption and understanding of who he really is. A masterful book of Indian culture and ways being defiled by the carelessness of white America, which neither cares nor understands other cultures leaving generations of lost individuals.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jerry James

    I’ve been trying to remember what grade it was we read this book, fifth, sixth? Growing up in Gallup, I had misremembered reading it in an earlier grade- but it is much too adult a book for that. My 4th through 9th grades were spent in Albuquerque- Gov. Bent Elementary and Cleveland Middle School- it was somewhere in there. At any rate I’d only remembered it a few weeks ago for some reason and after a long Google search I found it. It’s the story of a Ute boy growing up in rough times- learning I’ve been trying to remember what grade it was we read this book, fifth, sixth? Growing up in Gallup, I had misremembered reading it in an earlier grade- but it is much too adult a book for that. My 4th through 9th grades were spent in Albuquerque- Gov. Bent Elementary and Cleveland Middle School- it was somewhere in there. At any rate I’d only remembered it a few weeks ago for some reason and after a long Google search I found it. It’s the story of a Ute boy growing up in rough times- learning the old ways, then forced into white society and becoming a brilliant bronco rider in rodeos while losing himself until a major injury forces him to return to the old ways and find himself again. A coming-of-age story, beautifully written and memorable. Re-reading it was sweet nostalgia- remembering parts and re-discovering others. Reading a classic at different times in life is a great experience I have found. I am still awed that a teacher thought this book was appropriate for whatever young age we were, but we were more mature growing up than kids are now. And that was a great thing. Books mark places in life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    My introduction to literature via Mrs. Gorman's ninth grade English class in 1978. Up until then, I'd mostly read books about sports or comics. With this book, I found that there was a big, awesome world out there called literature, and I've been exploring and loving it ever since. Of course, being an assigned reading, I didn't want to read this book, but, Mrs. Gorman's daily quizzes and class discussions were great motivators. With each night's reading, I found something happening to me, a kind My introduction to literature via Mrs. Gorman's ninth grade English class in 1978. Up until then, I'd mostly read books about sports or comics. With this book, I found that there was a big, awesome world out there called literature, and I've been exploring and loving it ever since. Of course, being an assigned reading, I didn't want to read this book, but, Mrs. Gorman's daily quizzes and class discussions were great motivators. With each night's reading, I found something happening to me, a kind of magic. I stepped into another life, another world, and forgot about my adolescent craziness for a while. Over the years, I've often fondly thought of this book as the one that opened up the world of literature to me, though I could remember very little of it, only that I really liked it. I decided to read it again a few years ago to see if I could find a little of that first magic I felt so long ago. Of course, it wasn't the same after so many years and so many books, but I found it to be good writing and a good story, and I will read it again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Zehr

    I was assigned to read When the Legends Die in the sixth grade, which was probably one of my most difficult years as a child, and I can't help but wonder just how much my English teacher knew about my personal life to select this book for me. I remember really enjoying it, and I related to the main character, Thomas Black Bull, in a way that I didn't relate to other characters in the books that I was reading at the time. I wanted to revisit it in recent years, and was thankful that the library h I was assigned to read When the Legends Die in the sixth grade, which was probably one of my most difficult years as a child, and I can't help but wonder just how much my English teacher knew about my personal life to select this book for me. I remember really enjoying it, and I related to the main character, Thomas Black Bull, in a way that I didn't relate to other characters in the books that I was reading at the time. I wanted to revisit it in recent years, and was thankful that the library had a Kindle copy that I could borrow, so I spent a few days during November reading it. It holds up. I'm actually shocked at some of the subject matter that went over my head when I was younger, but more shocked that it was a book that I was assigned to read for school. But it overall? It holds up. It moved me in the same ways it moved me over 30 years ago. It's a timeless story about identity, alcoholism, and the wounds that we all have from our fathers and our families. Highly recommend.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.