Friday, August 4, 2017

July's Best Reads

Western research took almost complete control of my July reading and I regret very little of it. In fact, I regret reading none of what’s mentioned here.

Deadwood, Pete Dexter. Bears no great resemblance to the classic TV show but just as entertaining. Snippets of life in the camp seen primarily through the eyes of Charlie Utter, using his actual life as a backdrop. Dexter weaves fact and fiction seamlessly and effortlessly in a true classic.

Bestseller Metrics, Elaine Ash. I wrote about this at length a few weeks ago. Authors not sure why their book isn’t selling could do a lot worse than take the advice contained herein.

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry. Had my way with this one, too. Doesn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped, but it’s still a masterpiece, which says a lot.

Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier, W. B. “Bat” Masterson. Bat doesn’t have too much bad to say about anyone except Doc Holliday, but a delightful book nonetheless. Written as a series of essays for Human Life magazine in 1907, it’s full of anachronistic language that sets the time perfectly. Bat was a product of his time and some of his attitudes about violence might strike some as cavalier today, but his understanding of, and affection for, his subjects shows through. A quick read great fun.

Age of the Gunfighter: Men and Weapons of the Frontier 1840 – 1900, Joseph Rosa. Almost a coffee table book with many two-page spreads of authentic period weapons. Rosa’s a Brit with an affection for the American West and has a full trunk of stories from both sides of the law. Time is taken to explore the situations that grew from all the major reasons for violence in the west: feuds, vigilante justice, range wars, cow towns, and law and order. Filled with period photos of people and places. Something a true Western aficionado will not want to be without.

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