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Alex Boyd on books in the news. A quick look at a newly published material and books of God and rest your host is Alex Boyd in the cereal department at the University of Illinois Library. Reviewing a book that is currently being made into a motion picture. Has the disadvantage of putting potential readers into a dilemma. Should he read the book and then see the movie version of vice versa. Equally in a quandary is the reviewer must try to be critical and perceptive while avoiding giving away the plot. The responsibility of the reviewer then is to help potential readers and moviegoers be doubly pleased and not doubly duped. With True Grit by Charles Portis published by Simon and Schuster I think the former will be the result. Sure grit has a uniqueness and freshness yet rings truer than anything I've encountered in years. Fourteen year old Mattie Ross living in the American west of the 1880s exhibits the characteristics from which legends grow. Her story is one unlikely enough to have actually happened. And anyone who reads it will
probably always believe it did happen. The book begins with Mattie an old and wealthy Spencer reminiscing over the events that occurred five decades before she decided to tell the true account of how she had benched her father's blood over in Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground. Their author utilizes the first person medium along Mattie to use her own words in her own way in telling the story. This lends an authenticity that might otherwise be lacking Mattie's plain and frank way of speaking enables the reader to quickly and easily visualize the essential nature of frontier life. An innocent almost effortless fashion Mattie relayed scenes of public hangings eye for an eye justice and the poverty cruelty and sometimes perverseness of the individuals who lived in the west of late 19th century. Through it all however the basic element in Mattie's character comes through. She exemplifies the oldest perhaps most truly American ideal. If you want anything done right you will
have to see to it for yourself every time. To do this she young not even sickly but with grim determination teams up with two tough frontier lawman in an effort to catch her father's killer. One of them Rooster Cogburn is a hardened U.S. marshal. The other Leboeuf isn't an unscrupulous Texas Ranger. The three of them become unwilling companions and during hardship and privation and their chase after Tom Chaney The man who killed Matt his father the most appealing of these two men is by far Rooster Cogburn to be played by the way in the movie version by John Wayne. He appears as a cross between Wild Bill Hickock and Jesse James. Mattie had chosen him to help her because she had heard that he had to grit the elusive quality which renders a person able and willing to face any danger or any discomfort to get the job done. True Grit he has as illustrated by his believe that the best way to rout an enemy
regardless of the odds is to ride boldly towards them with guns blazing and emitting loud Indian style war hoops in the story. He enjoys considerable success with this technique much to Mattie's chagrin and the reader's delight in the end however they proved to be Matty who possesses the true grit. In a gusty final confrontation with outlaws with root Cheney had fallen in she carries the field with a rousing display of bravery and ingenuity. She is that one moment and inadvertently funny bumbling 14 year old clearly out of her element and the next she is a clever conniving courageous young woman bent on achieving her goal of this final scene alone is worth the time spent in reading the book. If the movie version of True Grit by Charles Portis comes close to equaling the success of the book than Mattie Ross could deservedly become a new folk heroine on the American scene.
This is banned books in the news prepared and presented by Alex Boyd and sponsored by the Illinois State Library. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Books in the news
True Grit
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Illinois State Library
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In episode 366, Alex Boyd reviews Charles Portis' "True Grit."
Series Description
A quick look at newly published material and books of current interest.
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Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: Illinois State Library
Speaker: Boyd, Alex
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35d-366 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:04:27
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Chicago: “Books in the news; True Grit,” 1968-12-24, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
MLA: “Books in the news; True Grit.” 1968-12-24. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <>.
APA: Books in the news; True Grit. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from