Pat Conroy books in order
Pat Conroy was a renowned American award-winning author of literary fiction and non-fiction books.
Born in Atlanta, Conroy grew up in several military bases throughout the South due to the fact that his father was a Marine officer.
Although he attended The Citadel military college, quite the unorthodox place for an aspiring writer, that never deterred his dream. In fact, it inspired him greatly, as his debut book The Boo (1970), is a tribute to Lt. Col. Thomas Nugent Courvoisie, who was a great mentor at the facility.
Upon graduating, Conroy had a number of teaching jobs, including one at an underprivileged schoolhouse, with his personal experiences inspiring his memoirs.
A recipient of several awards such as the 1993 American Academy of Achievement, Golden Plate Award, and the 2005 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award, Conroy’s books that have been adapted into films include: The Water Is Wide, The Prince of Tides, The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini, and The Water Is Wide (Conrack).
He died on March 4, 2016 at the age of 70.
Genres: Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Non-fiction
- The Boo (1970)
- The Great Santini (1976)
- The Lords of Discipline (1980)
- The Prince of Tides (1986)
- Beach Music (1995)
- South of Broad (2009)
- The Water is Wide (1972)
- The WaveDancer Benefit (2002)
- My Losing Season (2002)
- The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes from My Life (2004)
- My Reading Life (2010)
- The Death of Santini (2013)
- A Lowcountry Heart (2016)
- Pat Conroy - Collection: The Great Santini & The Lords of Discipline (2016)
- Pat Conroy - Collection: The Prince of Tides & The Water is Wide (2016)
- Three Classic Novels: The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, and The Prince of Tides (2016)
Detailed book overview
Lt. Col. Nugent Courvoisie, known to the cadets as “the Boo,” is an imposing and inspiring leader at the South Carolina military academy, the Citadel. A harsh disciplinarian but a compassionate mentor, he guides and inspires his young charges.
Cadet Peter Cates is an anomaly. He is a gifted writer, a talented basketball player, and a good student, but his outward successes do little to impress his abusive father. The Boo takes Cates under his wing, but their bond is threatened when they’re forced to confront an act of violence on campus.
Drawn from Pat Conroy’s own experiences as a student at the Citadel, The Boo is an unforgettable story about duty, loyalty, and standing up for what is right in the face of overwhelming circumstances.
Marine Col. Bull Meecham commands his home like a soldiers’ barracks. Cold and controlling, but also loving, Bull has complicated relationships with each member of his family—in particular, his eldest son, Ben.
A born athlete who desperately seeks his father’s approval, Ben is determined to break out from the colonel’s shadow. With guidance from teachers at his new school, he strives to find the courage to stand up to his father once and for all.
Inspired by Pat Conroy’s own difficult relationship with his father, The Great Santini is a captivating and unflinching portrayal of modern family, and a moving novel of a son determined to become his own man.
Director: Lewis John Carlino
Cast: Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Michael O'Keefe, Stan Shaw, Brian Andrews, Paul Gleason, Julie Anne Haddock
As Will McLean begins his studies at the Carolina Military Institute, the American South is in turmoil over desegregation. An outsider to the harsh authoritarianism of the military, Will survives the school’s notorious freshman hazing, and avoids attention from its fabled and menacing secret society, the Ten.
But when he is asked to mentor the school’s first black student, Will is drawn into the intense racial politics—and the threat of violence—simmering beneath the surface.
Based on Conroy’s own military school experience and featuring his lush prose and richly drawn characters, The Lords of Discipline is a powerful story of a young man’s stand for justice and the friendship, love, and courage he finds along the way.
Director: Franc Roddam
Cast: David Keith, Robert Prosky, G. D. Spradlin, Sarah Brackett, Barbara Babcock, Michael Biehn, Rick Rossovich, John Lavachielli
Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin sister, Savannah, has attempted suicide again. At the behest of Savannah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein, Tom reluctantly leaves his home in South Carolina to travel to New York City and aid in his sister’s therapy.
As Tom’s relationship with Susan deepens, he reveals to her the turbulent history of the Wingo family, and exposes the truth behind the fateful day that changed their lives forever.
Drawing richly from the author’s own troubled upbringing, The Prince of Tides is a sweeping, powerful novel of unlocking the past to overcome the darkest of personal demons—it’s Pat Conroy at his very best
Director: Barbra Streisand
Cast: Barbra Streisand, Nick Nolte, Blythe Danner, Kate Nelligan, Jeroen Krabbé, Melinda Dillon, George Carlin, Jason Gould
A Southerner living abroad, Jack McCall is scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart.
Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. It is a novel of lyric intensity and searing truth, another masterpiece among Pat Conroy’s legendary and beloved novels.
Leopold Bloom King has been raised in a family shattered—and shadowed—by tragedy. Lonely and adrift, he searches for something to sustain him and finds it among a tightly knit group of outsiders.
Surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, as well as Charleston, South Carolina’s dark legacy of racism and class divisions, these friends will endure until a final test forces them to face something none of them are prepared for.
Spanning two turbulent decades, South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest: a masterpiece from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.
Though the children of Yamacraw Island live less than two miles from the southern mainland, they can’t name the US president or the ocean that surrounds them. Most can’t read or write. Many of the students are the descendants of slaves, handicapped by poverty and isolation.
When Pat Conroy arrives, an eager young teacher at the height of the civil rights movement, he finds a community still bound by the bitter effects of racism, but he is determined to broaden its members’ horizons and give them a voice.
In this poignant memoir, which Newsweek called “an experience of joy,” the New York Times–bestselling author of The Prince of Tides plumbs his experiences as a young teacher on an isolated South Carolina island to reveal the shocking inequalities of the American education system.
Director: Martin Ritt
Cast: Jon Voight, Paul Winfield, Madge Sinclair, Tina Andrews, Antonio Fargas, Ruth Attaway, James O'Rear, Hume Cronyn
On February 2, 2002, Stephen King, Pat Conroy, John Grisham, and Peter Straub gathered at New York's Town Hall for a very special evening. These four best selling authors stepped up to the microphone to raise money for one of the most recognizable voices in audiobooks, Frank Muller, an actor who sustained terrible injuries from a motorcycle accident. Muller, who has recorded hundreds of novels, including many by these authors, may never work again.
This once-in-a-lifetime event is captured here, and 100% of all profits will be donated to The Wavedancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Frank Muller and other artists who fall prey to illness or injury and can no longer perform.
Grisham kicks off the evening with a heartfelt reading of an excerpt from his blockbuster best seller The Summons. He's followed by Straub who captivates the audience with a hair-raising episode from Black House, the latest thriller he co-authored with Stephen King. King changes pace with a joyful reading of his classic short story The Revenge of Lardass Hogan. Finally, Conroy engages the audience in a hilarious chat on the art of writing.
NB: Co-authored with John Grisham, Stephen King and Peter Straub.
During one unforgettable season as a Citadel cadet, Pat Conroy becomes part of a basketball team that is ultimately destined to fail. And yet for a military kid who grew up on the move, the Bulldogs provide a sanctuary from the cold, abrasive father who dominates his life—and a crucible for becoming his own man.
With all the drama and incandescence of his bestselling fiction, Conroy re-creates his pivotal senior year as captain of the Citadel Bulldogs. He chronicles the highs and lows of that fateful 1966–67 season, his tough disciplinarian coach, the joys of winning, and the hard-won lessons of losing. Most of all, he recounts how a group of boys came together as a team, playing a sport that would become a metaphor for a man whose spirit could never be defeated.
America’s favorite storyteller, Pat Conroy, is back with a unique cookbook that only he could conceive. Delighting us with tales of his passion for cooking and good food and the people, places, and great meals he has experienced, Conroy mixes them together with mouthwatering recipes from the Deep South and the world beyond.
It all started thirty years ago with a chance purchase of The Escoffier Cookbook, an unlikely and daunting introduction for the beginner. But Conroy was more than up to the task. He set out with unwavering determination to learn the basics of French cooking—stocks and dough—and moved swiftly on to veal demi-glace and pâte brisée. With the help of his culinary accomplice, Suzanne Williamson Pollak, Conroy mastered the dishes of his beloved South as well as the cuisine he has savored in places as far away from home as Paris, Rome, and San Francisco.
Each chapter opens with a story told with the inimitable brio of the author. We see Conroy in New Orleans celebrating his triumphant novel The Prince of Tides at a new restaurant where there is a contretemps with its hardworking young owner/chef—years later he discovered the earnest young chef was none other than Emeril Lagasse; we accompany Pat and his wife on their honeymoon in Italy and wander with him, wonderstruck, through the markets of Umbria and Rome; we learn how a dinner with his fighter-pilot father was preceded by the Great Santini himself acting out a perilous night flight that would become the last chapters of one of his son’s most beloved novels.
These tales and more are followed by corresponding recipes—from Breakfast Shrimp and Grits and Sweet Potato Rolls to Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Chestnuts and Beefsteak Florentine to Peppered Peaches and Creme Brulee. A master storyteller and passionate cook, Conroy believes that “A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.”
Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is a voracious reader. Starting as a childhood passion that bloomed into a life-long companion, reading has been Conroy’s portal to the world, both to the farthest corners of the globe and to the deepest chambers of the human soul.
His interests range widely, from Milton to Tolkien, Philip Roth to Thucydides, encompassing poetry, history, philosophy, and any mesmerizing tale of his native South. He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language.
But for Conroy reading is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity.
In My Reading Life, Conroy revisits a life of reading through an array of wonderful and often surprising anecdotes: sharing the pleasures of the local library’s vast cache with his mother when he was a boy, recounting his decades-long relationship with the English teacher who pointed him onto the path of letters, and describing a profoundly influential period he spent in Paris, as well as reflecting on other pivotal people, places, and experiences.
His story is a moving and personal one, girded by wisdom and an undeniable honesty. Anyone who not only enjoys the pleasures of reading but also believes in the power of books to shape a life will find here the greatest defense of that credo.
NB: This book is also known as My Life in Books.
Pat Conroy’s great success as a writer has always been intimately linked with the exploration of his family history. As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the often cruel and violent behavior of his father, Marine Corps fighter pilot Donald Patrick Conroy.
While the publication of The Great Santini brought Pat much acclaim, the rift it caused brought even more attention, fracturing an already battered family. But as Pat tenderly chronicles here, even the oldest of wounds can heal. In the final years of Don Conroy’s life, the Santini unexpectedly refocused his ire to defend his son’s honor.
The Death of Santini is a heart-wrenching act of reckoning whose ultimate conclusion is that love can soften even the meanest of men, lending significance to the oft-quoted line from Pat’s novel The Prince of Tides: “In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”
This new volume of Pat Conroy’s nonfiction brings together some of the most charming interviews, magazine articles, speeches, and letters from his long literary career, many of them addressed directly to his readers with his habitual greeting, “Hey, out there.” Ranging across diverse subjects, such as favorite recent reads, the challenge of staying motivated to exercise, and processing the loss of dear friends, Conroy’s eminently memorable pieces offer a unique window into the life of a true titan of Southern writing.
With a beautiful introduction from his widow, novelist Cassandra King, A Lowcountry Heart also honors Conroy’s legacy and the innumerable lives he touched. Finally, the collection turns to remembrances of “The Great Conroy,” as he is lovingly titled by friends, and concludes with a eulogy. The inarguable power of Conroy’s work resonates throughout A Lowcountry Heart, and his influence promises to endure.
This moving tribute is sure to be a cherished keepsake for any true Conroy fan and remain a lasting monument to one of the best-loved masters of contemporary American letters.
Two Pat Conroy novels together in one collection.
The Great Santini
Step into the powerhouse life of Bull Meecham. He's all Marine—fighter pilot, king of the clouds, and absolute ruler of his family. Lillian is his wife—beautiful, southern-bred, with a core of velvet steel. Without her cool head, her kids would be in real trouble. Ben is the oldest, a born athlete whose best never satisfies the big man. Ben's got to stand up, even fight back, against a father who doesn't give in—not to his men, not to his wife, and certainly not to his son. Bull Meecham is undoubtedly Pat Conroy's most explosive character—a man you should hate, but a man you will love.
The Lords of Discipline
This powerful and breathtaking novel is the story of four cadets who have become bloodbrothers. Together they will encounter the hell of hazing and the rabid, raunchy and dangerously secretive atmosphere of an arrogant and proud military institute. They will experience the violence. The passion. The rage. The friendship. The loyalty. The betrayal. Together, they will brace themselves for the brutal transition to manhood...and one will not survive.
With all the dramatic brilliance he brought to The Great Santini, Pat Conroy sweeps you into the turbulent world of these four friends—and draws you deep into the heart of his rebellious hero, Will McLean, an outsider forging his personal code of honor, who falls in love with a whimsical beauty...and who undergoes a transition more remarkable then he ever imagined possible.
Two Pat Conroy novels together in one collection.
The Prince of Tides
Pat Conroy has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama. Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born. Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina low country as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince of Tides is Pat Conroy at his very best.
The Water is Wide
Though the children of Yamacraw Island live less than two miles from the coast of South Carolina, they can’t name the president or the ocean that surrounds them. Many can’t sign their names. Most can’t read or write—they’re unable to reach their potential to grow and learn because they have been failed by their school district and handicapped by their poverty and isolation. But with the arrival of an eager young teacher, their prospects begin to brighten.
Based on Pat Conroy’s experiences teaching elementary school for a year on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island, The Water Is Wide is a revealing portrait of the inequalities of the American education system and a powerful story of the group of children that changed one man’s life forever.
The Great Santini
A son struggles to escape the domineering expectations of his volatile military father.
The Lords of Discipline
Will McLean begins his studies at the Carolina Military Institute during the Vietnam War era and must mentor the school’s first black student—while facing down the menace of a racist secret society.
The Prince of Tides
When Tom Wingo learns that his twin sister has attempted suicide—again—he leaves the Low Country to visit her in New York and confront the family secret that haunts them both.
Deeply influenced by the author’s own experiences, with his Southern family and education at the Citadel in Charleston, these stunning novels represent the very best of Pat Conroy’s impressive literary career.
The South Carolina–set sagas were made into blockbuster films—two of them earning multiple Academy Award nominations—and each is a rich, emotional journey into the inner lives of fascinating characters.