Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, March 8, 2013


Wild West Show! edited by Thomas W. Knowles & Joe R. Lansdale (1994)

Wild West Show! is a follow-up to the editors' 1993 compendium The West That Was.  Once again, Knowles and Lansdale present a fascinating array of articles on all things wesstern

The West of reality, legend, and myth have been conflated to provide a unique American identity, one that is as  close to the truth as it is far from it.  How we view the Old West in art, literature, music, film, and culture is examined, from the old Wild West shows to modern-day rodeos, from Francis Parkman's The Oregon Trail to the dime novels of Ned Buntline, from The Virginian to Hopalong Cassidy and Max Brand, from the paintings of Charles Russell and Frederic Remington to modern day comic books, from William S. Hart to John Wayne to Clint Eastwood, with Gene and Roy caught in the middle of the mix, from native Americans to Negro cowboys, From John Ford to Sam Peckinpah, from the Lone Ranger to the Cisco Kid, with sidekicks, partners, villains, and cowgirls, from the Saturday matinee to Gunsmoke -- it's all here.

Along the way, you learn the towns to avoid, the words that get you into a fight, and the names of the most ridiculous western movies ever.

Twenty-six contributors are listed and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgable group of students of the Old West:  Jeff Banks, Robert J. Conley. Bill Crider, Scott Cupp, Marylois Dunn, Loren D. Estleman, Max Evans, Joe Fenton, Kristine Fredriksson, Brian Garfield, Ed Gorman, John Hagner, Will Henry, Abraham Hoffman, Thomas W. Knowles, Scott McCullar, Michael Martin Murphy, Bill O'Neal, Bill Pronzini, James N. Reasoner, Cena Golder Richeson, Lee Schultz. thomas Thompson, Dale L. Walker, and L. J. Washburn. 

This is a book for dipping and savoring.

If you ever needed motivation to pick up a paperback western or to catch a Randolph Scott movie on TCM, this is the book that'll do the trick.



For more of today's Forgotten Books, check out Patti Abbott's blog pattinase.

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