Thursday, January 31, 2013
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
This book by Willa Cather was included on Time's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005  and Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century , and was chosen by the Western Writers of America to be the 7th-best "Western Novel" of the 20th century.
The Story: Father Jean Latour was sent from Sandusky, OH to be the Bishop in the new diocese of Santa Fe, NM. Father Vaillant also goes with him. The men met at the seminary. The book is written in a different style. It is stories of their travels and interactions with the people in New Mexico. They meet the priests in the area and most of them are horrible men, using their station as a right to enslave the native people. On the other hand they meet some wonderful priests that do their best to help. Vaillant eventually became a bishop in Colorado.
I liked that these men tried to understand the differences in the beliefs of the Mexicans and the native American Indians. They did not try to impose their beliefs on anyone.
This book was based on the real lives of Bishops Lamy and Machebeuf. Here is a link about Jean Baptiste Lamy. Here's a link about Father Machebeuf.
I enjoyed this book. It's a snapshot of life in New Mexico in the late 1800's. Here's a book summary.
I read this book for my Back to the Classics 2013 Challenge in the category of A 20th Century Classic.
Published in 1927.