Saturday, 13 January 2018

Book Review: 52Weeks ~ 52 Western Novels: Old Favorites and New Discoveries by Scott Harris and Paul Bishop

The Old West is uniquely American. It is a legend brought to life in sagas of blazing six-gun justice in wide-open towns and across vast ranges. 52 Weeks • 52 Western Novels is a fun guide to some of the best of these Western tales. Step into the Old West. Ride dusty trails, slap leather with outlaws, and get ready to battle Indians and the elements—all from the comfort of your favorite reading spot.

There are several things I really like about this book. First of all, it has been conceived by two authors who have a deep affection for and understanding of the genre. Secondly, it doesn't conform to the usual 'list of' books which seem to believe that unless a book is a classic it shouldn't be included.

Looking through the index I saw many titles that I was familiar with - Shane, Fargo, True Grit, Catlow, and also, many authors - Louis L'Amour, Ed Gorman, John Benteen (to name a few of each only). I particularly liked the sub headings under each title - Book Facts, Author Facts, Beyond The Facts, Fun Facts, and Movie Facts.

For example

The Big Country - Fun Facts include Gregory Peck wore lifts in the film so he would look taller than Charlton Heston and more in line with Chuck Connors.

Broken Trail - Book Facts include Alan Geoffrion invested more than five years doing research for the book, focusing on and then combining two separate, but historically accurate, stories. The first was about the forced prostitution of young Chinese girls who were taken from the far West and brought into the interior of the U.S., in this case to Wyoming. The second was about the sale of western horses to the British Army.

Add all the artwork that's included for each title and you have a book that's a pleasure to read or flick through.

If you're interested in discovering something new to read, or rediscovering something old, then this should be a goto book for you. If you have a curious mind and like to know more about a story then his book is for you. If you like a book that you can leave on the (virtual) shelf and delve into for an unexpected surprise now and again, then it's for you.

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