Welcome to Hard Times

  • by E. L. Doctorow
  • Narrated by John Rubinstein
  • 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Hard Times is the name of a town in the barren hills of the Dakota Territory. To this town there comes one day one of the reckless sociopaths who wander the West to kill and rape and pillage. By the time he is through and has ridden off, Hard Times is a smoking ruin. The de facto mayor, Blue, takes in two survivors of the carnage - a boy, Jimmy, and a prostitute, Molly, who has suffered unspeakably - and makes them his provisional family. Blue begins to rebuild Hard Times, welcoming new settlers, while Molly waits with vengeance in her heart for the return of the outlaw.
Here is E. L. Doctorow's debut novel, a searing allegory of frontier life that sets the stage for his subsequent classics.


What the Critics Say

"A forceful, credible story of cowardice and evil." (The Washington Post)
"We are caught up with these people as real human beings." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Dramatic and exciting." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A lesson in moral and civic responsiblity

This is Doctorow’s first book written in 1960. I understand a movie was made from the book staring Henry Fonda. The book’s genre is classified as a serious western.

“Welcome to Hard Times” is about average people who fail to organize and stand as one against evil and never recover from the devastating results of their failure to act. The story also has many subplots for a book that is only 224 pages or 6 hours audio.

Doctorow has the traditional characters of a typical western, a bullying evil villain, the noble prostitute and the unwilling hero. But the author provides the reader with a big twist in that the hero fails to act. I was reminded of one of my favorite movies “High Noon” but in Doctorow’s story there is no Gary Cooper or John Wayne to do the job.

The book provides an important lesson. The book is well written and moves at a fast pace. It is easy to read for a story with such an important topic. John Rubinstein narrated the story.

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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-03-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio