Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Hearts of Men

Scout. Nelson Doughty is the protagonist of Nickolas Butler’s finely written novel titled, The Hearts of Men. Butler presents Nelson’s life and relationships in the context of being the quintessential boy scout: he is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. What that means as a teenager varies greatly from what it means when he is in Vietnam, from what it means when he serves for decades as Scoutmaster at a summer boy scout camp in Northern Wisconsin. Butler draws readers into Nelson’s life through his lifelong friendship with Jonathan and especially through Jonathan’s son, daughter-in-law and grandson. This is by no means a novel about scouting. It offers the deepest insight into human behavior, the rudder of conscience about good and evil, and the meaning of bravery. Butler writes fine prose backed by insight into our human condition. Nelson is one of those characters who help us understand what it is like to lead a good life. Rating: Five-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The Hearts of Men from amazon.com.

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