Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 (3)

By: Joshua Glenn
October 22, 2019

For several years now, I’ve argued — here at HILOBROW, as well as in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored — that the Sixties (1964–1973) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. This post is one in a series of 10 identifying my favorites from 1970.

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Glendon Swarthout’s YA adventure Bless the Beasts and Children.

At a boys’ camp in Prescott, Arizona, six emotionally troubled adolescents find themselves bunking together… because the well-adjusted assholes have rejected them. Their ragtag group — John Cotton, Sammy Shecker, Lawrence Teft III, Gerald Goodenow, and quarrelsome brothers Lally 1 and Lally 2 — is dubbed the Bedwetters. They’re treated cruelly not only by their peers, but by the camp’s counselors; via flashbacks, we discover how lazy and inattentive their wealthy parents are. Having discovered their cabin counselor’s stash of pornography and booze, they blackmail him into taking them for a jaunt offsite, to a nearby ranch… where, alas, things get even darker. There, they witness a grim scene of surplus bison being “hunted” for sport; it’s a slaughter. Determined to rescue the remaining animals, Cotton and his crew of empathetic misfits steal horses, then a pickup truck, and make their way back to the ranch that night. It’s a harrowing journey, and at its end they discover that the nearly tame bison can’t be moved — even when the exit gate is opened. The ending is truly tragic; children should not watch this movie.

Fun facts: Several of Swarthout’s novels were adapted as movies, including Where the Boys Are (1960) and The Shootist. The tragic 1971 adaptation of Bless the Beasts and Children, the authors bestselling book, was directed by Stanley Kramer and starred Billy Mumy (Will Robinson from Lost in Space). In response to the book’s popularity, the Arizona legislature mandated changing the regulation of their annual buffalo hunt to more humane practices.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any adventures from this year that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists.

BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.

The 200 Greatest Adventures (1804–1983). THE OUGHTS: 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS: 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES: 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES: 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES: 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES: 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES: 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES: 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. THE EIGHTIES: 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993. THE NINETIES: 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003. I’ve only recently started making notes toward a list of Best Adventures of the EIGHTIES, NINETIES, and TWENTY-OUGHTS.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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