Friday, August 19, 2011

The summing up, Summer 2011

Reviewed June 20, 2011
I’m borrowing a phrase from Patti Abbott today to mark the end of my summer. Monday it’s back to work for one last year in the classroom. Charles Gramlich does this kind of summing up, and it’s a measure of his discipline as a writer that he observes such things. I’m following his noteworthy example.

As many know by now, I’ve been working for over a year on what is turning into a two-volume book about early-early western writers. Thus, while moving at a steady pace over the summer of 2011 and taking copious notes, I became immersed in another time (1880-1915).

The list. I’ve also kept company with mostly forgotten writers who, thanks to digital media, have had a second life on the kindle and nook. Since May, I read and will have written up each of the following novels. (By my count, I still have ten to go.)

Henry Wallace Phillips, Red Saunders (1901)
Jackson Gregory, Under Handicap (1914)
Kate and Virgil Boyles, Langford of the Three Bars (1907)
Ralph Connor, The Sky Pilot (1899)
Robert Alexander Wason, Friar Tuck (1912)
William R. Lighton, Uncle Mac’s Nebrasky (1904)
Hamlin Garland, The Moccasin Ranch (1909)
Will Lillibridge, Ben Blair (1905)
Randall Parrish, Bob Hampton of Placer (1906)
Mary Hallock Foote, The Led-Horse Claim (1883)
Charles King, Dunraven Ranch (1890)
Charles King, Two Soldiers (1888)
John H. Whitson, Justin Wingate, Ranchman (1905)
Oscar Micheaux, The Conquest (1913)
George W. Ogden, The Long Fight (1915)
Nat Love, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love (1907)
Owen Wister, Red Men and White (1896)
Owen Wister, Lin McLean (1897)
Frederic Remington, Sundown Leflare (1899)
Frederic Remington, John Ermine of the Yellowstone (1902)
Mary Austin, Isidro (1905)
Roger Pocock, Curly: A Tale of the Arizona Desert (1905)

Reviewed June 6, 2011
Other writers. I’d planned to read a whole lot more recent western and historical fiction. My TBR stack reaches the ceiling. But I kept finding more early-early writers, and so most of the leisure reading got put on hold. I look forward to the day I can thoroughly indulge myself among the many, many later western writers who have contributed and are still contributing to the genre. Here’s what I did get to:

Loren D. Estelman, Roy & Lillie
Max Brand, Best Western Stories, 3
Max Brand, South of Rio Grande (1936)
Charles Gramlich, Killing Trail
Johnny Boggs, Lonely Trumpet
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
Axel Brand, The Dead Genius
Edward A. Grainger, Adventures of Cash Laramie and Miles Gideon
H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines (1885)
Gerald So, We Might Have: Poems
Charles Whipple, A Matter of Tea and Other Stories

Reviewed June 14, 2011
Movies. I came up for air about once a week to watch and review a western movie. Most were from the 1950s, a great period of “adult westerns” before the MPAA introduced the rating system, and movies coming out of Hollywood really changed. These were, in no particular order:

Man in the Shadow (1957)
The Naked Spur (1953)
“Doc” (1971)
Broken Lance (1954)
The Man From Laramie (1955)
Springfield Rifle (1952)
Face of a Fugitive (1959)
My Outlaw Brother (1951)
Rio Bravo (1959)
3 Godfathers (1948)
The Missing (2003)
Rancho Notorious (1952)
Pursued (1947)
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
Yellowstone Kelly (1959)
Crossfire Trail (2001)

So I’ll be posting less frequently in the months ahead, doing a slow countdown of those last ten titles. You can be sure I’ll let it be known when they’re done.

Coming up: Old West glossary, no. 18


  1. Your project sounds fantastic. Please keep us posted.

  2. What a great run! Keep at it as you can. Are you packing up to leave the desert as well, or have you already shuffled off?

  3. I definitely want to pre order a copy of this two volume book. Please be sure to let us know when we can order one.

  4. Count me in as well. It will be a great resource.

  5. You've had a busy summer and all three lists are impressive. You'll have to try whittling down your TBR list, but I'm sure you are like some of the rest of us - it grows bigger instead of smaller.

  6. This will also be my last year in the classroom (42 years). Good luck with your project. I discovered Zane Grey this summer, can’t believe I have left him out of my reading all these years.

  7. I enjoy this kind of thing too, the summing up. It's good to get a feel for where you are and where you're going. We have to do a faculty update each year in August for our Dean so I'm doing some of this for the academic stuff right now too. And thanks for the mention.

  8. Great list! I've always known I missed a great deal but didn't realize how much of the important I missed, such as all those great writers and their stories.
    I'm always interested in a western. When I can't find one I haven't read (like the many in your list that I missed) I'm forced to write one. Mine, however usually include Canada of which there isn't enough.

  9. Great use of summer. I wonder how hard most of these fabulous books will be to find. What a great history of the old West.

  10. Laurie, thanks. I hope readers find the finished product interesting and informative.

    Richard, I'm commuting now.

    Walker, the news when there is any, will be on the blog.

    Mark, that's my hope; that it will be a useful resource.

    Oscar, TBR is on hold; no new purchases until I can start whittling.

    OGR, 42 years is a good run. I took some time off for other pursuits, so my years don't add up to so many.

    Charles, same here. I have to turn in an "activity report" every year.

    D.M., I'm including a few Canadians in the study, so they won't be left out.

    Patti, all of these are available free at various places online. I'd never have been able to read them otherwise.