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The Removes


A powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of...
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Discuss The Removes by Tatjana Soli:
Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Created: 09/09/18

Replies: 23

Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)


Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 56

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RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It provided a unique, and more personal, perspective on Custer.


Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Cynthia

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed the novel all the time, although it was captivating. The author did a great job of integrating the three narratives, which is difficult, and as always in a historical novel the reader has to wonder, how much is fact. I was able to embrace the harshness of life on the plains as authentic but the extremes of brutality, the terrible treatment between adversaries and captives was difficult to fathom. I've noticed other readers don't seem as astounded by all this, which probably reflects my ignorance of events during this time in history.


Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sandrag

Join Date: 04/23/11

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

This was an upsetting book to read in many ways. I have read a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, that deal with Custer and this period in our history. I am always sickened by the way our government and military essentially told the Indians to get off their own land. It seems the prevailing attitude was, "If they won't move, kill them all." One can understand how the Indians would have fought back to try to retain their ancestral land and customs.


Posted Sep. 09, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janen

Join Date: 06/01/11

Posts: 49

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Overall, I found the book fascinating. I enjoyed how the story was developed and told. This will always be a shameful period in our history and I was impressed with how Tatjana Soli handled it. I especially liked how the history was told from the women’s perspective.


Posted Sep. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroln

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 53

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RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The strength of this book is in its female characters, namely fifteen-year-old Anne who watches as her family is slaughtered. She relies on her inner strength and courage to survive. After having given birth to two mixed race children, she finds her life in a constant stage of change filled with tumulus weather and starvation. Another solid female character is the daughter of a judge, Libbie. Her father does not want his daughter to marry the cocky Custer known as a womanizer and civil war hero. A life of hardships, constant moving from forts to city and long periods of separation from her husband, becomes her life. Even though they had a great love that did not stop Custer from being a womanizer, which caused Libbie great heartache and jealousy.I connected with both women who become stronger in the face of danger and fear. With both lives changed forever, they managed to grow as individuals and found their inner faith. Like Custer, they both had great courage and bravery and are in a fight for survival. For some it was a job, for others a way of life. Even though Custer sought to be a hero, I consider these women the actual heroes.


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 36

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

This was an interesting book but I couldn’t really get emotionally invested in any of the characters and I frequently have to read with a box of kleenex by my side. But not this time. I did like the photo-illustrations. It can be problematic for readers to have a mash-up of history and fiction even if you are fairly familiar with the historical events. It made me dislike Custer more than I already did and I would not have thought that possible.


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolt

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 23

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I agree with Peggyt in that it made me dislike Custer even more than I already did. I found myself skimming his sections and many of Libby's, only really coming back to read about Anne. I had high hopes for this book, but I doubt that I'll recommend it to anyone.


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 94

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RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed the book a lot more than I originally thought I would. I learned a lot about Custer & significant battles that led to the Native Americans being forced onto reservations. I really enjoyed how the author structured the books & felt like the photos, letters, & newspaper clippings added to the story.


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggya

Join Date: 06/03/15

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I think Tatjana Soli has written a deeply human narrative about this historical period in our country’s life. Although we moved steadily West, she seemed to convey the guilt and ambivalence that underpinned this expansive drive to extend the boundaries of America. She proves herself a compassionate author detailing heroes and villains on every side. I really enjoyed this book. It was heart wrenching as well as deeply troubling. I now want to read her prior book The Lotus Eaters about a women journalist who goes to Vietnam. Thank you, Tatjana!


Posted Sep. 11, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
garyr

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 19

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Really thought it was a great read,started out like gangbusters!


Posted Sep. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rosieglitter

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 36

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I had a hard time with this novel. It was so depressing and for some reason I had difficulty being interested in or caring about the characters. I am surprised to see how much other people enjoyed the book. I would have put it down and not finished it if it weren't for reading it for BookBrowse.


Posted Sep. 12, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
miriamb

Join Date: 05/29/18

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Heart wrenching as well as deeply troubling- I totally agree. I was upset at the violence in this book. I am amazed at the author's research and I did learn in this book. Some of the parts of this book will stay with me but overall, I did not enjoy this book. Will probably not recommend.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
phenkat

Join Date: 07/29/11

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Her Lotus Eaters was so much better. This had an historical hybrid feel to it. On the one hand she used more words than she needed to, much like the original material she must have read for research, and on the other hand there was something modern about the sensibilities. She didn't get the voice right.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
miriamb

Join Date: 05/29/18

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I agree The Lotus Eaters was so much better. But then there was not so much violence and mutilations- that really bothered me. Would anyone discuss the title? I didn't get why it was titled The Removes- was it to tie the three tales together? You know The First Remove, The Second Remove etc? I think the structure of this book fascinating but I don't understand it.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 59

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RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

In spite of the immediate tension and brutal action from page one, it took me a while to really get into the book. I have read numerous non-fiction accounts of this time in our country's history, and I found this (historical) fictional version interesting. I am grateful the author included the sections told in Anne's point of view. Had she not, I do not think I would have been as willing to keep going with the sections told from Libby and Custer's points of view. That has to do with my own personal bias, not the author's writing. I did not particularly find those characters to be likable. However, I am aware that there are "two sides to every story", and I appreciated seeing and learning more about Custer from someone who did like him. I also liked that the author started long before the Battle of the Little Big Horn. There was much I did not know about Custer as a soldier and a man before his loss at the hands of the Lakota.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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valeriec

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 26

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Posted Sep. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurer

Join Date: 11/20/14

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I found this book very interesting. The author skillfully wove fictional detail to factual events and persons, making it very readable.

Reading through the many comments shared about this book, I am grateful that many readers were disturbed by the events which occurred. It reveals how many persons may have been unaware of many events and their details in this very important, though ugly, chapter in our history. I can only hope this knowledge will be of value when applied to current issues our country faces.


Posted Sep. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
flute4u

Join Date: 08/14/13

Posts: 30

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I thought the book is worth reading for its historical context and character development, but the story line was not enjoyable. The tension developed around the conflicts and what horrible torture human being could conceive to inflict on their enemies. Since we know how the story of Custer will end, the real focus becomes Libbie and Anne. I would not pass on this book to many of my friends because of the graphic violence and abuse of women.


Posted Sep. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 44

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The Removes caused me to do some additional research into Libby Custer and how she fought to rehabilitate her husband’s reputation for the rest of her life. As a Civil War living historian I’ve always found George Armstrong Custer a fascinating study. Successful military leaders are often larger than life, cockey, egotistical, confident individuals. The best are also first class tacticians. Custer underestimated his foes in his final battles, and his name will remain forever associated with his loss at Little Big Horn. I most enjoyed the study of the relationship between Custer & Libby. Neither could I imagine the horror experienced by 15 year old Anne when her family was massacred, she was taken captive, enslaved, raped, starved, and treated as sub human. If one looks as this time in history through the eyes of the common man, woman or child of the time, we modern Americans should not judge them harshly. An old Indian saying....do not judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. I was thoroughly fascinated even though parts were difficult to read.


Posted Sep. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bonnieb

Join Date: 09/11/11

Posts: 123

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RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I LOVED 'The Removes'. It will certainly be one of my top ten of 2018. I was shocked by the brutality of both the Indians and the whites. No side was portrayed as innocent. Though the Indians were defending their land and people, and I believe the cavalry and U.S. government were at fault, the book showed that both sides went beyond acts of war to harm and torture their adversaries. This book also showed the courage of women who faced tremendous odds and were, in some ways, able to surmount them. Anne didn't merely survive, but she was able to thrive. Libbie didn't have her head in the sand about Autie. She understood his character but her love for him governed her response to his actions. Tatjana Soli's books are amazing. I've read 'The Forgetting Tree' and 'The Lotus Tree'. 'The Removes' is her masterpiece.


Posted Sep. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyg

Join Date: 04/19/17

Posts: 2

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I found this book to be historically questionable especially in its treatment of Custer and his wife Libby.That being said, the author herself admits to being "no historian". In my estimation, her interpretation of Custer's inner psyche was very distracting and her attempts to make him more "politically correct" more than a little contrived. What I did find surprisingly accurate was her depiction of life on the plains. I have read many non fiction books dealing with the lives and culture of the American Indian and the plains Indians were among some of the fiercest in all the Americas.Their lives were hard and they were never far from starvation but they were free....until the white man came.Within a decade they managed to destroy every aspect of a life style and a culture that was hundreds of years in the making.The fact is, no one had it easy on the frontier, and of the two groups, white and Indian, it was the Indians who were more successful! The fact that Soli brings some of this history to life for a wider reading audience is enough for me to award this book higher marks than I might have otherwise.


Posted Sep. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 9

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book even though it was very disturbing to read at times. I haven't read many novels about this time period so it was a good change for me. It's heartbreaking to know how we forced the Indians from their own land and onto the reservations. They were a nomadic people and I understand how being forced off their land and forced to stay in one place made them fight against the white man. It was eye opening to read of the hardships both women faced given their circumstances and how they both relied on inner strength to overcome these hardships. I think this would be a good book group discussion book. I would recommend it.


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gailh

Join Date: 08/26/17

Posts: 11

RE: Overall, what did you think of The Removes? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Western history has never been a big interest of mine and I was appalled by the cruelty and waste depicted in this novel - not a shining period for this nation. Both Libbie and Autie were rather flawed characters and it was difficult for me to empathize with them. However, Anne and Neha were fascinating. If a novel was written about those two women, I would be enthralled. My perceptions of the experiences of captives was turned upside down when I read about how Anne & Neha were treated by their family once they were "rescued." I wouldn't reread The Removes but would recommend it to my friends who enjoy learning more about western history.


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