The Great Santini (novel)
- See also The Great Santini (film)
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3553.O5198 G74 2006|
|Preceded by||The Water is Wide|
|Followed by||The Lords of Discipline|
The Great Santini tells the story of hard-nosed Marine fighter pilot Lt. Col. Wilbur "Bull" Meecham, who calls himself "The Great Santini," and the family he runs with a strict hand. It follows the Meecham family as they move to and struggle to fit into the Marine town of Beaufort, South Carolina. The book is set in 1962 before the Vietnam War. Conroy makes the point that Santini is a warrior without a war, and in turn is at war alternately with the service that he loves and his family.
The novel explores main character Ben Meecham's growth into manhood, his experiences playing basketball for his high school, as well as his friendships with a Jewish classmate and an African-American farmer. The novel exposes the love-hate relationship between Ben and his father, and the lengths Ben goes to in an effort to win his father's acceptance and love.
The novel is based on Conroy's own childhood experiences growing up in a military family. Conroy's own father, Donald Conroy, was the inspiration for "Bull" Meecham.
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