Woe to Live on by Daniel Woodrell

Woe to Live on

From Publishers WeeklyNarrator Jake Roedel is in his mid-teens when he joins the First Kansas Irregulars in 1861. During the next few years he sees, and commits, more than his share of Civil War atrocities. Most of the action takes place in Kansas and Missouri between the rebel Irregulars (bushwhackers) and the Union Jayhawkers, with some civilians caught in the crossfire. The studiedly cool Jake experiences loss (the deaths of his best friend, f...

Details Woe to Live on

TitleWoe to Live on
Release DateAug 1st, 1998
PublisherGallery Books
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Military History, Civil War, Westerns, War

Reviews Woe to Live on

  • Zoeytron
    It's the mid-1860's in Missouri where the Bushwhackers are riding roughshod over Union sympathizers, fence sitters, and Jayhawkers. These miscreants and thugs are burning and plundering, their rebel yells ringing out, leaving a trail of blood and misery in their wake.Harsh and unforgiving, this tale still manages to carry a cadence in the text that is mesmerizing. Weather that is apt to turn surly, 'sadness on the flourish'. 'It was way down ther...
  • LeAnne
    Just awesome. Civil war fiction with an authenticity of voice, the deep desolation of war, and the loss of comrades in arms that make this one powerful work of art. Woodrell is lyrical, violent in scenes that are historically accurate and inspires us with hope for a teenage boy who has taken more lives than years he has even yet lived. When the boy attempts to tie a tourniquet to save the life of his best friend, Jack Bull - someone he considers ...
  • Michael
    A powerful coming of age story that dances between the bloody chaos of guerilla war and lively, resilient spirit of a young man with true grit. The scene is rural southern Missouri in the American Civil War, which experienced a terrible anarchy as a slave-holding state unable to commit as a state to either side. The pro-Confederacy guerillas known as Bushwackers try to outdo the terrorist campaigns of the Jayhawkers marauding from their bases in ...
  • James Thane
    This is another very good novel from Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone, set on the contentious border between Kansas and Missouri during the American Civil War. While Union and Confederate armies fight traditional battles farther east, in this no-man's land, "Bushwhackers" and "Jayhawkers" fight a dirty guerilla war where there are no rules and in which little quarter is asked and none given.The main protagonist is the narrator, German-Ame...
  • Eric
    Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell follows Jake Roedel, a young, Confederate-leaning southerner, as he rides across the south in the early 1860's with a band of men as they pillage, rob and attack those with Northern leanings and those felt to have attacked the southern culture and way of life. Roedel desires to avoid fighting alongside the Confederate army due to the perception of too many rules and regulations, while a member of a band of men he...
  • Laura
    4.5 stars.....this is one of Woodrell's best. Inhumane characteristics are on display but at the same time Woodrell shows the more sensitive side to his main character. It's so well done and clever how he presents this gang of hoodlums.
  • Steve
    Huck Finn in Hell. The influence of both Twain and Cormac McCarthy are fairly clear to see in Daniel Woodrell's Ride with Devil (or Woe to Live on). The sheer carnage reminds one of McCarthy's Outer Dark and Blood Meridian. But there's more. Ride With the Devil is also a coming of age novel telling the story of Jake Roedel, a young Bushwhacker (and immigrant's son), who has not known a woman, but who has killed 15 men. In Woodrell's hands, Jake ...
  • Adam
    My first taste of Woodrell He seems to mainly write in his own invented genre of “country noir” This book also deals with crime and violence but is a coming of age story and a war story dealing with the conflicts on the border of the Civil War. Thankfully this coming of age story (something I really don’t seek out) is more in the lines of Mark Twain and especially Cormac McCarthy of Blood Meridian and Outer Dark. The superbly realized voice...
  • Jack
    I have wanted to read this book from the moment I saw Ang Lee’s film version, Ride with the Devil. And last winter I read Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone, the first Woodrell book that I have read, and it had me hot, once again to read Woe. I finally checked it out of the library as it is now ‘out of print, and I read it over Thanksgiving. Loved it. Ang Lee and his screenwriter very carefully followed Woe, and much of the movie’s dialoge comes ...
  • Fred Shaw
    Woe to Live On by David Woodrell, is a fast paced and turbulent novel based on mostly fictitious Missouri characters fighting for the South during the American Civil War. Names like William Quantrill, Frank James, Cole Younger to name a few were part of the horde. These men, both black and white, fought from horseback with pistols and took no prisoners. Essentially they were marauders and sometimes just plane murderers. However they all had their...
  • Lynn
    This is mostly ugly boring war in the woods. Our hero is part of a band of vigilantes (Bushwhackers) who raid homes and kill people. They're outlaws, not soldiers.....but I still learned a bit about the Civil War in Missouri and Kansas. There is no logic to the Rebel loyalties of the group (lots of personal honor involved) but you have to like Jake, Holt and Jack Bull. Daniel Woodrell creates complex characters I always love.I hope to see Ang Lee...
  • Matt Brady
    Jake Roedel is already a seasoned veteran at 17, a blooded and bloodied soldier in the ugly guerilla war being waged along the Kansas/Missouri border during the American Civil War. German born Jake has to work extra hard to keep his place amongst his Confederate companions. He’s a ruthless young man in a ruthless time, when Confederate Bushwhackers and Union Jayhawkers turned eastern Kansas and western Missouri into a bloody battleground hundre...
  • Ctgt
    What a brutal yet beautiful book. The story of a young recruit among the rebels, bushwackers, who specialize in guerrilla warfare battling the bands of Jayhawkers from Kansas. Jake joined Black John Ambrose's band of the First Missouri irregulars with his "near" brother Jack Chiles.The obvious comparison is to The Outlaw Josie Wales, but this book seems much more brutal or primal, if you will. There are no punches pulled in this story and death i...
  • Rich
    4 Stars (very good) A well written, well paced book. The character dialogue was enjoyable to me. It had a southern mannered speech, with a vivid picture-like way to of saying things. Such as a surprise attack described “we acted out sudden tragedies for many a luckless oppressor”.The story follows a core band of men who are fighting the union army during the civil war in the Missouri area. It is a more like a day to day account what is going ...
  • Jake
    Ho. Lee. Shit. I am a big asshole for never reading Daniel Woodrell before. This is hands-down the best novel I've absorbed in years. Imagine Wells Tower rewriting Cormac McCarthy and you kinda know what Woe to Live On is like. C-Mac without the intentional obtuseness, with the added bonus of at least one amazing turn-of-phrase per paragraph? Oh, my stars and garters.And what's this? It was turned into a movie-film? EXCITING! Directed by Ang Lee?...
  • William
    What an interesting novel. What is so impressive is the author's ability to maintain the voice of the narrator from the title to the last sentence. The book delicately balances humor, horror, and hope. There is a sense that this book could have been written by a Vietnam veteran but set in the Civil War, or maybe all wars are somewhat the same in the end. I once read or heard that you never have to explain war to a veteran and you can never explai...
  • Anne Sanow
    Ang Lee made "Ride With the Devil" from this amazing book--and here's a happy case where both book and movie knock it out of the park. This is full-on wartime immersion, and what you can't get out of your mind is that these rough-riding, murdering rebels are practically children. Spot-on and fully believable narrator in period voice that's still easy enough to read, and precise, deft descriptive prose. One of the best Civil War novels out there.
  • John
    This has to be one of the most well written books I have ever read. Woodrell tells the story of a group of Civil War raiders who terrorize Union sympathizers while trying to avoid the army. It is very much hit and run tactics. The story also includes Capt. William Quantrill's infamous raid on Lawrence Kansas. Having said that, the majority of the book concerns the camp life of the raiders and their interactions with Rebel sympathizers who help hi...
  • Mohammed
    A bleak,brutal story about the American Civil War from the POV of a Southern Militia. An issue,war time period i have no real interst in but Woodrell made you really care with his realer than real characters. His authentic dialouge was very good too.A new author to me who showed alot of potential with this book.
  • Gary
    Woe to Live On by Daniel WoodrellNew York: Little, Brown and Company$14.99 - 225 pages It took me almost a year to read this book. I kept losing it, leaving it in restaurants and other people’s cars. However, the major reason for the delay was, I didn’t want to finish it. I kept going back to the beginningand becoming enamored again and again of a young Jake Roedel’s surreal journey through the killing fields of “Bloody Kansas” and Miss...
  • Ken Schloman
    Woodrell has captured the essence of the fighting in Missouri during the civil war in this beautifully written study of a "bushwhacker's " experiences and how his beliefs change as the Civil War draws to its conclusion. The war, particularly in northwest Missouri was not one of traditional military campaigns, but rather one of neighbor against neighbor, southern "bushwhackers" against northern "jayhawkers". As the war progresses actions become mo...
  • Nick
    Woe to Live ByDaniel Woodrell has had quite a run of it of late, especially for someone preoccupied with the Ozarks. “Woe to Live By” was filmed as a novel by Ang Lee, although it was not one of his hits, and the movie of Woodrell’s novel “Winter’s Bone” was the first to make a squirrel hunter of Jennifer Lawrence. Woodrell’s prose is fluid and unfussy, told in first person by what seems like a plausible replica, with a few lapses, ...
  • Nicola Mansfield
    I hadn't planned on reading any Civil War books this year but I am reading all of Woodrell's works and have had this on order with my library for close to a year now. So it was a welcome surprise when it showed up with my library holds! While this is an historical fiction Civil War book it is like none I've ever read before, nor expect to ever read again. Not so much a story of the war itself as it is of a small group of southern men fighting ind...
  • RK-ique
    3 stars. I liked it.So I read this book in basically one sitting (food and bathroom breaks). The writing flowed like butter on a hot knife. What amazed me was the voice of the narrator. It sounded so real. I found myself thinking with a 19th century Missouri accent. (The same voice occasionally occurs in P. Luther Wilson's blog. [GR author] Check it out.) In many ways the book is true to humanity in war. The stupid horror of America's civil war i...
  • Justcynthia
    War is a grim business, grimmer still when you find yourself on the wrong side of history -- a little late in the game.That is where the protagonist finds himself in this novel set in the Civil War. In the beginning, he seemed sure of his cause, willing to go the extra mile on the outskirts of the war being fought guerrilla style in the Kansas territory. While looking at fabric at the Millstone in Mechanicsville, VA, a store that specializes in "...
  • Kevin
    On the backdrop of the Kansas/Missouri border war, Woodrell gives us the story of Jake, a Dutch immigrant so stolid in his devotion to the American south that he, and his band of proud Southern outliers are willing to murder the menfolk of every cessation town they run across. Jake's tale is buttressed by his own hero-worship of his "brother", Jack Bull, a freer spirit, a brother in arms, one that gives him anchor until Jake finds a confusing bro...
  • Judy Vasseur
    For many months I avoided this quasi-historical novel after I was sickened by its opening scene. Against the armature of The War Between the States a moral epic unfolds among the Bushwacker Secessionists who are young men (teenage boys actually) enacting grotesque deeds against the Jayhawk Federalists. These are guerrilla fighters, not inclined to join up and follow the rules of the regular armies. Strangely, an enigmatic figure is a black man fi...
  • Justin Richardson
    This book is the first of Woodrell's that I have read and it won't be the last. I was hooked into the story from the first violent, bloody pages. The book progresses in a way that makes you feel as if you a watching a gritty black and white film. The characters are interesting and offer insights to the real struggles of being forced to grow up too fast in an era of violence and grisly symbolism. One other reviewer dubbed this "country noir" and I...
  • Melissa
    So if Daniel Woodrell is selling it, I am buying it. I have read very few war novels in my life. The ones that I completed were for school or book club. "Woe to Live On" is a Civil War novel that I read without provocation and devoured vigorously. Masterful dialogue, charismatic first person narration, lucid settings and clever metaphors. Beautiful from start to finish.
  • Juuso
    Woodrell's merciless western is accomplished in style that is full of sand as well as beauty of that haunting kind, rarely seen on these paths we have chosen to pass. On every page, he makes us yearn for more. Yes, this has been a novel for my liking, hopefully for others too. No other man of words like mr. Woodrell has there ever been, nor there will be. That has been proven.