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Lonesome Dove: A Novel Paperback – Oct 17 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Oct. 17 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684857529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684857527
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,100,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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 the Mass Market Paperback edition.


"If you read only one western novel in your life, read "Lonesome Dove"."--"USA Today" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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

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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 18 2013
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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Format: Paperback
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. The first chapters are wonderful character developers and intertain us along the way. Gus Mcrae and Woodrow F Call are of course the heart and soul of the story, but Newt,Deets,Pea-Eye and Jake Spoon help to make up one of the most colorful casts that has ever been on paper. The great thing that Mr. McMurty was able to do, was to give us so many characters and not one time bore us while we get to know them. The book has a nice mellow start with Gus and the pigs, and this reader was lulled into just enjoying an old Texas Rangers perspective on life. That the book would take off and drag us on such an epic journey was mind boggeling. The description of the geography in the beginning was not compromised in any of the following chapters,and enriched the wonderful cast of characters and story lines. The vast plots and sub-plots were all tied neatly together in the end, and the ones that needed to be cut loose were done so with class. With great writing that you'll find in the books of Jackson McCrae (BARK OF THE DOGOOD) and expert pacing that can be compared to his STREETS OF LAREDO, this is one of the finest books I have ever read, and if anyone deserver a Pulitzer for their work it was Larry McMurtry. And he got it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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 Western, not a dud at all.
No in media res foolishness for McMurtry, the technique here is to fire up a half-dozen parallel story lines and move from one to another every few pages to keep the reader from losing interest in any one of them (102 chapters). With all of them ending up in Ogallala Nebraska with everybody conveniently widowed at precisely the right moment to seem to ensure a happy ending; but the apogee is still to come at that point and enough loose ends are left to provide for a sequel.
A sequel!?? At 945 paperback pages it's a lot of reading and you have to get through most of it before you're ready to agree that the Pulitzer folks were right in their judgment. But if you have the stamina the story will carry you happily from Lonesome Dove (a flyspeck town in south Texas) on a cattle drive to Montana, with numerous stops, characters and adventures along the way. The Pulitzer was deserved.
Heroic men on horseback, evil drunken murderers fit only for the hanging they eventually get, beautiful compassionate women, Indians good bad and pitiful, whores, card sharps, innocent young cowpokes, the US Cavalry, grizzly bears, bad whiskey, big skies, dangerous rivers; you've got 'em all: Festus, Doc, Kitty, Matt, Roy, Dale, Trigger, Tonto, John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Ronald Reagan. Maybe a little Mel Brooks, too; a bit before Butch Cassidy's time.
The story centers around two Texas Rangers who are past their prime Rangering years.
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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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