Monthly Archives: October 2015


The Great Santini

The Great Santini

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by Pat Conroy
Houghton Mifflin (1976)

There are characters we love and there are characters we love to hate.

The Great Santini, i.e., Bull Meecham, a Marine Fighter pilot, may be the perfect hardnosed, brave, single-minded man to have in the air over an enemy country, shooting down rival planes, dropping bombs on evil empires. But there’s a problem. World War II and Korea are behind him now, the fighting’s over and when he lands the plane he has to come home.

Home to a family he rules with an iron fist. Lillian, his beautiful Atlanta bred wife loves him, but lives to protect their kids from the oft violent, crude, rude, racist and socially unacceptable bull of a father.

When Lieutenant Colonel Meecham returns from that one-year tour in Europe the family—having lived comfortably with Lillian’s mother in Atlanta—is relocated to yet another marine base (they’ve lived in so many) and find themselves in Ravenel, South Carolina, where many adjustments must be made. Read More »