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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

June 15 2010 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, always dramatic, Lonesome Dove is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream, and remember.

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Lonesome Dove: A Novel + Streets Of Laredo: A Novel + Dead Man's Walk: A Novel
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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 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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing from a writer with insight March 31 2005
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Trails July 3 2004
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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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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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book really is an epic, but an epic of what ? Maybe an epic of human feelings, an epic of humanity, an epic of the building of a new world by mostly uprooted people from another old and unidentified world, most of the time. The heroes are people who fled from their families, who did not have any family, who do not have clearly cut and declared parents, who fled from a country that they did not like anymore, who fled from the cities of the east or the fledgeling cities of the west, who fled from saloons and card playing, who fled from women, who fled from sheriffs, who fled from the law and law-abiding customs. A new world is born from these materials. But the book is also a lot deeper at another level. It shows how Texas rangers established some peace where they operated. It shows how sheriffs establish some peace where they operate. But it shows that this new world, mostly lawless, is a paradise for all those who want to make a living out of adventure, be they law-abiding and they become the cowboys who can discover new lands and build new life stolen from nature, and also mostly from Indians or Mexicans, or be they outlaws, Indians or whites alike, who only find their pleasure in stealing, killing, trafficking, raping, torturing, hurting, shooting, etc. And yet it is from the constant confrontation of these two kinds of people that a new world can be born. What kind of a new world ? Read the book to have an answer. The book is an epic in the shape of a long journey from south to north with several thousand cattle and several dozen horses. A journey that renders possible any kind of encounters and agressions, of any kind of discoveries of unkown places. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love westerns!
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. Read more
Published 18 months ago by A Kingston
5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite book ever
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. Read more
Published 19 months ago by kinmikey
5.0 out of 5 stars Texas to Montana
This is a cowboy epic about two ex-Texas rangers who drive their cattle, their horses, their hands and themselves from Texas to Montana. Read more
Published 20 months ago by John M. Ford
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 My favorite all time Book!
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... Read more
Published on Dec 1 2007 by Jason Webster
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
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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