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Lonesome Dove: A Novel [Paperback]

Larry McMurtry
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 17 2000 Lonesome Dove

A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, and always dramatic, Lonesome Dove is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream, and remember.

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From Amazon

Larry McMurtry, in books like The Last Picture Show, has depicted the modern degeneration of the myth of the American West. The subject of Lonesome Dove, cowboys herding cattle on a great trail-drive, seems like the very stuff of that cliched myth, but McMurtry bravely tackles the task of creating meaningful literature out of it. At first the novel seems the kind of anti-mythic, anti-heroic story one might expect: the main protagonists are a drunken and inarticulate pair of former Texas Rangers turned horse rustlers. Yet when the trail begins, the story picks up an energy and a drive that makes heroes of these men. Their mission may be historically insignificant, or pointless--McMurtry is smart enough to address both possibilities--but there is an undoubted valor in their lives. The result is a historically aware, intelligent, romantic novel of the mythic west that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“If you read only one western novel in your life, read Lonesome Dove.”—USA Today

“Everything about Lonesome Dove feels true . . . These are real people, and they are still larger than life.”—Nicholas Lemann, The New York Times Book Review

Lonesome Dove is Larry McMurtry’s loftiest novel."—Los Angeles Times

"A marvelous novel . . . moves with joyous energy . . . amply imagined and crisply, lovingly written. I haven't enjoyed a book more this year . . . a joyous epic."--Newsweek

"The finest novel that McMurtry has yet accomplished . . . Lonesome Dove has all the action anyone could possibly imagine . . . [and] both in general and in details, the authority of exact authenticity . . . superb."--Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WHEN AUGUSTUS CAME OUT on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake-not a very big one. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love westerns! April 6 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Would love to have a wall poster/print for my Western room from this movie. Westerns are my favourite. Haven't finished the book yet but am looking forward to getting back to it. The series was fantastic!
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5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite book ever March 8 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I know that's a lot to say, but this has to be my favourite book. The characters are so well drawn, so memorable, they have been in my mind for over 25 years. I was recently reminded of this book, discovered it was no longer in my library, and therefore had to get a copy. Now re-reading for the 3rd time and completely immersed. Fantastic
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5.0 out of 5 stars Texas to Montana Feb. 18 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a cowboy epic about two ex-Texas rangers who drive their cattle, their horses, their hands and themselves from Texas to Montana. There are bears, Indians, rustlers, and every kind of saddle tramp. There is harsh weather and harsh language. And there is a brutality in some of the characters that swallows nearly every good thing growing in its path. There are also wonderfully complex men and women who live and die for reasons hard to understand. This book leaves you aching for them and feeling the frustration of having stood helplessly by through their suffering. It could so easily have been different, so much better.

Is it wrong to go south of the border to steal a herd of horses with your partners? Maybe it's no big deal if you are working together to steal them from unknown Mexicans--even if you have to shoot one or two in the process. What if you help steal some of the same horses from the rancher you sold them to because you can't stand up to an outlaw with a gun at your back? Your friends show up again and help you out of this situation. Sort of. And you accept the justice and mercy of their rope. It all could have been so different.

There is a great deal of pain in this book. Maybe they all should have just stayed in Texas. Why do so many people miss their happiness after coming so close to it?
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite all time Book! Dec 1 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I recently reread "Lonesome Dove" It was like comming back to an old friend. I read this classic of American literature 20 years ago, and I found it just as enjoyable the second time around. Gus, Woodrow, Jake, Pea eye, Lorena, are all good friends and it was great to spend sometime with them again. If you read only one western in your life it should be "Lonesome Dove."
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2.0 out of 5 stars This book is not a western, it's a romance novel. June 18 2004
By T. S.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is well-written and (many of the) characters are engagingly drawn. I can say that for it.
Beyond that it falls short. I picked this book up looking for an enjoyable genre western to read, or alternatively, something to that had taken the western genre and done something interesting or novel with it. What I found was a book where the author had taken the western genre and turned it into a romance novel. To me, that wasn't interesting.
It's hard to explain why I didn't like this book without using plot spoilers, because what I primarily didn't like was the structure of the plot, but I'll try.
To begin with, it wasn't a "western" in the sense of, say, Shane or The Virginian. I can't really explain why without going into detailed plot spoilers, but just as one example, there are probably 6 pages of "action" in the entire book; in contrast, it seems like every male character has at least one scene where they go off by themselves and have a good cry. If you're looking for a "classic western," look elsewhere.
Secondly, what it actually *is*, is a romance novel. The story largely revolves around, and is driven by, the romantic hopes and desires of the female 'whore with a heart of gold" character. The cattle drive that provides the putative subject of the book is merely a backdrop against which her story plays out. If that interests you, you'll like the book. If it doesn't, you won't.
Thirdly, while the two lead male characters are very well drawn, the remainder fall significantly short. As other reviewers have mentioned, it would be hard for the character of "deets" to be more stereotypical (Do a websearch for Spike Lee's comments on "magical" black stereotyping and you'll have a 100% spot-on depiction of this character).
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5.0 out of 5 stars How the West was really won April 1 2004
I can understand why so many authors of westerns romanticize and distort history; it takes real talent - the kind that McMurtry possesses - to write a realistic, accurate and enthralling story. It's amazing how much I cared about Gus and Call, an inarticulate odd couple on a long cattle drive. What was it really like in the Old West? McMurtry's only agenda is to tell it like it was, and to tell it well. Dive into this fat story, and learn a lot about yourself and other people on the way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even this Mystery Fan LOVED it! Feb. 17 2004
By Bridge
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One night, having finished my latest murder mystery, upon which I feast daily, I had nothing else to read. My husband, of much higher standards in the fare he reads (mostly non-fiction & biographies) told me I ought to expand my horizons and try Lonesome Dove. "It won the Pulitzer Prize." he stated. I was not impressed. Frustrated that so "little" was happening initially, I plowed on. Now, I'm almost done, staying up late each night to keep my eyes open & read just one more page before falling asleep. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, even to you mystery lovers out there! The story is rich, sad, happy & moving. I'll be picking up more written by this talented author! :)
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone to relate to
This is one of my favourite books. There are so many characters and yet it's never confusing. You fall for every one of them and when you finally finish this cowboy epic you are... Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2008 by Shara Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Achievement
This book actually transported me to the old west. I savoured every detail of the period, right down to the simple language the characters spoke to one another. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2007 by Neil Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Novel of the American west!
I reread this book over the holidays, something I don't normally do, but this is one of my all time favorite books. If you have not read it it, READ IT. Read more
Published on March 12 2006 by Jerrry Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing from a writer with insight
LONESOME DOVE grabbed me right from the start. The reader is part of the action in a way that is rarely felt while reading a book. Read more
Published on March 31 2005 by Ruth Varshack
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Trails
The Amazon reviews of this book range from "Lonesome Dud" to "American Tolstoy". I believe 'ol Leo painted on a somewhat bigger canvas but "Lonesome Dove" is a very enjoyable... Read more
Published on July 3 2004 by GEORGE R. FISHER
3.0 out of 5 stars Lonesome Grim-PC-Dimwitted Dove
An often entertaining shaggy-dog saga of a Western. Was surprised, though, that with all the humor and relaxed pace, that so many things played out so grimly. Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by Tom Andres
1.0 out of 5 stars Lonesome Dud
I don't get it. Why do people think this book is so great. This is one of the all time worst books. Read more
Published on May 11 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be required reading of every book hound....
This a great read-period! I had never been interested in reading western novels-but due to its popularity, I decided to try it. Read more
Published on April 7 2004 by LuAnn D D
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