Shadow Country Summary
Peter Matthiessen

Everything you need to understand or teach Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen.

  • Shadow Country Summary & Study Guide

Shadow Country Overview

Peter Matthiessen’s historical-fiction magnum opus, Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend, is a semi-fictional account of Edgar “Bloody” Watson, a sugarcane farming pioneer and alleged outlaw who was killed by his neighbors in the Ten Thousand Islands of southwestern Florida. Originally published as a trilogy, Shadow Country is comprised of three books—Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River, and Bone by Bone—all of which ambitiously capture life in America after the Civil War. In Book I, 12 first-person narrators recount Watson’s time in the Ten Thousand Islands, ranging from his arrival to his eventual demise. Book II finds Watson’s son, Lucius, coming to terms with his father’s controversial life and death, and he attempts to reconstruct his father’s true life in a biography. In Book III, Edgar Watson’s gives a first-person account of his life story in which he uncovers the novel’s most gripping mysteries. Shadow Country is an epic reimagining of nineteenth century America, where racial conflict, American development, and moral judgments are masterfully conveyed.

Study Pack

The Shadow Country Study Pack contains:

Shadow Country Study Guide