Sergio Leone Web Board

General Information => General Discussion => Topic started by: titoli on November 20, 2008, 06:54:56 PM



Title: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 20, 2008, 06:54:56 PM
I think we could made this a sticky, mods?

Anyway, we should post here all books dealing with westerns, both in literature or on film. posting the image would be great.

I start with this book:

(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3008/2865670633_38833d986c_b.jpg?v=0)


I quoted it often lately. Garfield is very idiosynchratic but offers a lot of informations and reflections which make the reading of his book mandatory, I think. Unfortunately the book is more than 20 years old, so a lot of the most recent production is left uncovered. But the production before the '80's is dealt with systematically and some movies I had never heard of are brought to the fore.

8\10   


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Banjo on November 21, 2008, 05:13:27 AM
I don't mind making a sticky book thread.But there are older book threads including one from Cigar Joe so perhaps i should amalgamate them all?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 21, 2008, 06:43:49 AM
I don't think we had one with images though, its nice to see the books


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Banjo on November 21, 2008, 09:02:18 AM
I don't have a digital camera to put my books on here but  here's an image of by far the  best book covering sw's.Titoli i'll delete this post if it goes against your basic idea for this thread.

(http://www.clarebooks.com/ekmps/shops/clarebooks/images/once_upon_a_time_in_the_italian_west_book_isbn_1850434301.jpg)

I give it 9/10 as it doesn't cover every title.


And there's this one from the same author covering all westerns.It includes a detailed chapter about OUATITW that was left out of the above book.

(http://img.tesco.com/pi/Books/L/85/9781845114985.jpg)

8/10


Finally Hughes excellent value pocket guide.

(http://www.pocketessentials.co.uk/images/large/1903047420large.jpg)

8/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 21, 2008, 09:59:37 AM
(http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/8200/swsfraylingne6.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

My first book on Spaghetti Westerns. Not the easiest read 9/10


(http://img147.imageshack.us/img147/4489/lifetimeswesternwj0.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Hyams' is very opionnated, he doesn't cover everything. But it has lots of pictures, 6/10


(http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/5565/westernencyclopediacw2.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

Fagen is a bit of a biased Ford and Wayneophile and you can tell pretty well by the amount of space he allows to both Ford and Wayne , covers a lot of Westerns. 




Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 21, 2008, 11:36:36 AM
Frayling's book on SW is just a Leone's book in disguise. I give it 3\10, at best. He didn't watch the movies, he can't understand italian, he doesn't know much about italian cinema and I have the suspicion he, apart from Leone, doesn't like SW either. The Hughes book on western, as it starts from Stagecoach, I assume doesn't cover the first 40 years of western movies. 


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 21, 2008, 11:41:02 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XHR1NY3TL._SS500_.jpg)

A very good novel. If you liked the movie (I did) it is mandatory reading. 8\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 21, 2008, 11:48:03 AM
(http://www.spaghetti-western.net/images/e/e7/Castagnabookjpg.jpg)

Even if written in italian, is based on pictures, mostly lobby cards and posters. As it is also very cheap (an aspect which differentiates it from the three Glittering Images volumes) it can be bought  without second thoughts.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 21, 2008, 11:56:47 AM
(http://i12.ebayimg.com/08/i/001/16/d0/89cc_1.JPG)

Kezich, a professional movie critic, wrote intensively on western from early '50's on. This is a collection of essays published in the '70's. I can't say I disagree with much that he says (he doesn't like SW much but gives a fair treatment to some individual works. Still, his writing never made me excited, never showed that spark of intuition that makes a book worth re-reading or be kept in mind. 6\10   


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 21, 2008, 02:08:39 PM
(http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/7770/outiifraylingoy3.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

Another Frayling book all Leone that came out with the Autry Museum Leone Exhibit, nice interviews, lots of images 10/10.


(http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/5592/somethingtodowithdeathcc6.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

And of course Frayling's "Something to do with Death" again 10/10 for me.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 21, 2008, 02:31:53 PM
(http://img517.imageshack.us/img517/7407/roughguidewesternsrx6.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

This one has some good information but it has some very weird entries in their 50 essntial Westerns. 5/10

(http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/6696/thegunfightermanormythav5.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

This is a great book about the gunfighters of the West chock full of balistic information from US Army Testing and eye witness accounts on shooting with the old Colts & Remingtons, indespensible. 10/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Tuco the ugly on November 21, 2008, 06:16:38 PM
Maybe it would be nice to put the price, at least roughly.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 21, 2008, 06:26:20 PM
You can check at Amazon.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 21, 2008, 08:22:43 PM
(http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/1747/thegunfightersgy4.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

This book The Gunfighters  is one volume of a Time Life series of books on the West other titles were The Prospectors, The Cowboys, etc., etc. its got a lot of good information and full of images like the one below: 

(http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/6138/gunillustrationstimeliffe1.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

The book below has an amazing amount of incidental information about the West information about the opperation statistics of stage lines, wagon trains, cattle drives, good stuff.

(http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/4431/americanwestzh0.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

Back to books about Leone & Spaghetti Westerns, Eli Wallach's "The Good The Bad and Me" has a chapter on GBU.

(http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/520/thegoodthebadandmesv5.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

And Mickey Knox has info on GBU and other Spaghetti Westerns in his "The Good The bad and the Dolce Vita."

(http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/7052/thegoodthebadandthedlocnh5.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on November 21, 2008, 09:58:19 PM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/10/25/671992c008a06cdf0d24b010._AA240_.L.jpg)


Worth every penny!


(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51N9W3XFNML._SS500_.jpg)

Expensive but great poster book!
A gift from Tony Anthony!


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 22, 2008, 05:42:15 AM
This little paperback has sketches by Dorothy Johnson with good information on 23 notorious outlaws and/or gangs of the West.

(http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/6325/westernbadmenfa7.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

Back to Film Books this one on Altman and McCabe & Mrs. Miller came out very recently, its a good read.

(http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/530/robertaltmansmccabemrsmtr7.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Banjo on November 22, 2008, 06:48:05 AM
The Hughes book on western, as it starts from Stagecoach, I assume doesn't cover the first 40 years of western movies. 

It covers these in the introduction but i suspect that like me many readers wouldn't have much interest in such oldies.

The main part of the book has detailed chapters dedicated to 27 key westerns but also includes discussions about several dozen more.Anyone who's a fan of movies directed by Eastwood,Peckinpah and Boetticher will be well catered for.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 22, 2008, 07:04:21 AM
Yea I have all of those you posted Banjo, Hughes ' books have a lot of inserted type additional info besides the main entries. They are good.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Banjo on November 22, 2008, 09:11:18 AM
He's also written a book about crime thrillers including a chapter covering Once Upon A Time In America.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 22, 2008, 03:53:29 PM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/64/a4/075e024128a0ece7d9bf6010._AA240_.L.jpg)


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518S5Y1M97L._SS500_.jpg)


Cawelti is one of my favourite essayst on mass culture. Without recurring to idiolect or flight of fancies he analyzes in depth and never trivial. His works on western (the second adds little to the first) are old but I think are still among the best introduction to the genre.
I also recommend his work on spy story and his collections of essays.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 22, 2008, 03:57:57 PM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d5/63/8834810ae7a046681911c110._AA240_.L.jpg)



Pronzini (western and hard-boiled novelist) has written two books dealing with the worst in mystery literature befiore turning his atention to the western with this volume. Recommended only to pulp literature aficionados.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 22, 2008, 05:50:55 PM
This book is a great read for anyone interested in a first hand account of the Mexican Revolution, and its a good background for all the Zapata Westerns.

(http://img367.imageshack.us/img367/802/insurgetmexicocu7.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

El Topo, this is pretty much the screenplay with screen shots and includes an interview of Jodorowski, an interesting read.

(http://img357.imageshack.us/img357/5668/eltopouk1.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

Here is the 1991 paperback print of Edmund Naughton's "McCabe" Its a great Western and an interesting comparison piece to both the film and Robert T. Self's recent book on Altman & the film.

(http://img399.imageshack.us/img399/8700/mccabejj2.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

This book is the only Western I've ever found that reads just like a Spaghetti Western if you can find it check it out.

(http://img357.imageshack.us/img357/1507/incidentat20mileea9.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 23, 2008, 10:53:40 AM
Anybody interested in Sibley's New Mexico Campaign as a background for GBU this book covers not only the New Mexico portion but the Texas staging & march to New Mexico and the retreat, highly recomended 10/10

(http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/1338/sibleysnewmexicocampaigvo8.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

For information on the individual battles Valverde below is highly detailed, it features the only lancer charge in the entire Civil War.

(http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/8851/bloodyvalverdemv7.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

For info on Glorieta Pass the book below.

(http://img136.imageshack.us/img136/8338/battleofglorietapassfh1.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

This book on Paddy Graydon is a another good history of both Arizona and New Mexico during the Civil War Graydon was a leader of an Independent Spy Company the North's equivalent to the South's Santa Fe Gamblers (those three long bearded ZZTop looking southern scouts at the head of Sibley's retreating column in GBU). Graydon was the commander who followed the retreating Sibley gathering up the straglers and jettisoned equipment....and according to Leone two guys riding in a southern ambulance..... ;)

(http://img396.imageshack.us/img396/8634/paddygraydonwl4.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on November 24, 2008, 01:49:29 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FZ6HMY71L._SS500_.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 24, 2008, 05:17:25 PM
Never seen that firecracker, looks like a nice one.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 29, 2008, 10:08:35 PM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d1/f2/881e828fd7a060985f8b1110._AA240_.L.jpg)


Must-read for those interested in the early history of westerns. Most of the volume is dedicated to movies made before Stagecoach


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on December 02, 2008, 12:02:25 PM
Never seen that firecracker, looks like a nice one.

A friend of mine wrote it.
I'd pick it up if you could find it for under $20.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on December 03, 2008, 04:47:51 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518S5Y1M97L._SS500_.jpg)

How much more info is in this titoli?

How much more does it cover timewise than the first book I just finnished the first & it seems to cut off at about 1971. Does he go any more into Euro/Spaghetti Westerns?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 03, 2008, 07:00:57 PM
Not much info. Cawelti just updates some of his personal thoughts on western in the light of more recent productions but always in general terms. Little is dedicated to SW.
What do you think of the first volume?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on December 04, 2008, 06:39:49 AM
I thought that is was a pretty good breakdown of the Western Genre and its formulas and the evolution of those formulas over the course of time from the dime novels to 1970. Its a good framework to build a Western story or screenplay on. I was checking Cawelti against the production numbers I came up with (with the benefit of computer research, though the early years production numbers are sketchy) here:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=7622.msg120033#msg120033

They are somewhat close, I was, in the treatise consentrating on the "look" and basic "conventions" of the Westerns more than on formulas though.

In 1958 Cawelti mentions at least 54 Western features made I come up with 43 released though if Cawelti is going by the year they were produced rather than released then 1957 has 57, in 1967 Cawelti has 37 I come up with just 20 don't know what criteria he is going by. But I was again concentrating on the "look" and concerned with volume.
 

I find Cawelti's last statement on the Western that....

"....it's ability to respond to changing cultural themes and concerns--have made the formula successful as popular art and entertainment over many generations, None of these factors is necessarily more basic than any other except perhaps the artistic. For no matter how many social and psychological functions a formula fulfills, it will probably never survive unless from time to time it attracts the interest of original and imaginative artists who are capable of revitalizing its conventions and stereotypes to express contemporaneous concerns."

....to be very interesting, perhaps we are either just in a lull of original and creative artists who can revitalize the convetions and stereotypes of the Western, or there are no apparent contemporaneous concerns that can be expressed in a Western.

However the original and imaginative artists would need some type of financial backing to be able to do that. The money is pointing to blockbusters, comedies, animation. The studio system that was able to sustain the vast majority of Westerns is no more.



Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Le Bon on December 04, 2008, 03:43:16 PM
Here are some of mine...

(http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/1209/img057pq4.jpg)

Italian book with a mixture of photos from US westerns and from the Leone family archive. Strange CD has a couple of Morricones but also Tammy Wynette's 'Stand by Your Man'. The photos are all full page or double page spreads.

(http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/3134/img056dp4.jpg)

Jarach was allowed to visit the Once Upon a time in the West set to take some photos including the ones of Leone with the vintage camera and Robards and Cardinale playing Baseball.

(http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/2956/img061zk4.jpg)

 In the same series as Howard Hughes one on 'spaghetti westerns'. The usual cast, credits and synopsis. No photos.





Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 04, 2008, 04:35:20 PM
CJ, how do you rate Cawelti's book in a 1-10 scale?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on December 04, 2008, 05:50:34 PM
A 9/10 on its subject and only because it probably should of went to 1980 and covered a few more Westerns from the end of the Golden Age. As it is it stopped just before the serious decline of the Western.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 08, 2008, 04:24:06 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/315XJMQJ4BL._SS500_.gif)

Interesting reading, covering the cattle trade and the black presence in it. Full of stories featuring black participants. 


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on December 11, 2008, 12:00:39 PM
That Negro Cowboys book sounds interesting. However the image is too small who is it by?

Here is one I found today at a used book store I've been flipping through it it looks great

(http://img530.imageshack.us/img530/3316/raldrichgp7.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 11, 2008, 03:33:46 PM
That Negro Cowboys book sounds interesting. However the image is too small who is it by?

You mean who is the character on the cover? He's Nat Love, a picture made in 1907 and published in his autobiography. You'll find the picture in the book. I don't own that particular edition of the book but an older one with a different cover which I can't find at amazon. The picture was also used for what I presume is just another release of the Durham book with an altered title:



(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/19/bc/30b0b220dca0a9af8d649010._AA240_.L.jpg)
 


A biography of Nat Love:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Negro-Cowboy-Harold-Felton/dp/0396067263/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229034626&sr=1-4


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on December 11, 2008, 03:38:01 PM
No I actually meant who was the author, of the book.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 11, 2008, 04:41:55 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Negro-Cowboys-Philip-Durham/dp/0803265603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229038869&sr=1-1


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on December 12, 2008, 05:19:59 AM
Thanks  O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Banjo on December 18, 2008, 09:08:29 AM
Due out in the UK in April.

(http://www.kamerabooks.co.uk/images/large/9781842433041large.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 24, 2008, 06:30:37 PM
(http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/x1/x6817.jpg)


Published in 1974, it has the advantage of keeping out the crap the actor made after, discussing Magnum Force and just naming Lightfoot and Eiger. Not very informative about Eastwood personal life (Thank God) it is full of pointed observations on the movies by the author and quotes from other reviewers. About the movies with Leone it tends too much to assign Clint a bigger role than he really had, though K.'s assessments of the movies are fair. 7\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on January 09, 2009, 06:06:53 PM
Here are a few more books. The one below is all about the court & cases of  Issac C. Parker the "Hanging Judge" Arkansas and the Indian Territory.

(http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/5168/lawwestbm2.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

These next two are on the building of the Union Pacific & the various "Hell On Wheels" boom towns that followed its progress:

(http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/5555/westwardzv0.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

(http://img264.imageshack.us/img264/2928/lonesomebp1.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on February 02, 2009, 07:20:49 AM
Western Badmen - Dorothy M. Johnson (sorry can't find a cover to post).

Agile portraits of western outlaws, famous or less famous (but deserving to be more). In spite of the preachy tone (which I thought at the start was ironic) the great storytelling gifts of the author (who based herself both on secondary literature and own researches) makes this a recommended reading (though probably dated) for all the non specialists.



 


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on February 02, 2009, 03:57:15 PM
(http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/6325/westernbadmenfa7.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on February 03, 2009, 08:57:51 AM
The one in the middle is Sam Bass, The one on his right is the one who betrayed him.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 14, 2009, 06:32:06 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EM6PP047L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


I have just received the first edition of this (with the title in the singular) and read it at a sitting. To be read with a grain of salt (some chronology and factual errors are blatant) but mandatory reading for every leonite for the number of infos and the self-portrait Leone delineates.     


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: dave jenkins on April 14, 2009, 08:50:12 AM
In French?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 14, 2009, 11:04:57 AM
Oui, monsieur. But not that difficult, I presume, to read for english speakers.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Tuco the ugly on April 14, 2009, 11:19:24 AM
Oui, monsieur. But not that difficult, I presume, to read for english speakers.

 ;D


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on April 14, 2009, 11:54:38 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EM6PP047L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


I have just received the first edition of this (with the title in the singular) and read it at a sitting. To be read with a grain of salt (some chronology and factual errors are blatant) but mandatory reading for every leonite for the number of infos and the self-portrait Leone delineates.     

Any errors more blatant than Frayling's?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: noodles_leone on April 14, 2009, 12:01:41 PM
More like arrangements of the truth by Leone in order to show that not only he is the greatest director of all time, but he's also always right, i sees everything coming, he wins every argument, he is a great guy, and people around other than his close collaborators are morons.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on April 14, 2009, 12:34:54 PM
Hi all, thought I'd make my first posting although I've been lurking around the boards for a while now.

It's basically Leone in his own words so, as Noodles_Leone puts it, it is pretty one-sided but nonetheless very interesting.

Personally I loved his comments concerning Kurosawa and Japanese cinema and also his lengthy description of the introductory scene to "Leningrad" (soon to be directed by Giuseppe Tornatore!). For some nice Leone exaggerations, check out his claims regarding My Name is Nobody where, in particular, he claims to have personally directed the introductory "barber's shop" scene which is clearly Valerii's work.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: noodles_leone on April 14, 2009, 12:36:41 PM
To me it's the best book about Leone or Leone's work up to date. THE only must-read. And if can't read French, then, learn.

Welcome on board, by the way  O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: noodles_leone on April 14, 2009, 12:40:14 PM
Another interesting thing is what he says about may 68 or Brigitte Bardot. He basically saw may 68 coming (unlike other people) and discovered Bardot.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Sonny on April 29, 2009, 10:54:14 AM
Hi all, thought I'd make my first posting although I've been lurking around the boards for a while now.

It's basically Leone in his own words so, as Noodles_Leone puts it, it is pretty one-sided but nonetheless very interesting.

Personally I loved his comments concerning Kurosawa and Japanese cinema and also his lengthy description of the introductory scene to "Leningrad" (soon to be directed by Giuseppe Tornatore!). For some nice Leone exaggerations, check out his claims regarding My Name is Nobody where, in particular, he claims to have personally directed the introductory "barber's shop" scene which is clearly Valerii's work.

 ;D so, in other words, you're saying Leone was lying? lol I find your post interesting, mainly because you seem to have a firm grip on what appears to be a distinct difference between Valerii's work and Leone's in My Nmae is Nobody. I mean, I understand why it's not always considered a "Leone film" but I never understood the distinct differences everyone else seems to notice between Leone's style and Valerii's. I mean, when I saw My Name is Nobody (after having only seen GBU and FAFDM) I thought of it as a light-hearted version of Leone's other films. And I knew nothing about Valerii's style and didn't bother to compare it to Leone's in My Name is Nobody. To me, Leone is those sudden extreme close-ups, the Morricone scores, and the very intense scenes that take their time to reach an action point.
So I just want to know more about Valerii's style and how it's so distinct in My Name is Nobody.. in other words, how can you be sure that he directed the baber shop scene?

Welcome to the board!  8)






Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: dave jenkins on April 29, 2009, 12:08:27 PM
So I just want to know more about Valerii's style and how it's so distinct in My Name is Nobody.. in other words, how can you be sure that he directed the baber shop scene?
I want to hear more about this as well.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on May 05, 2009, 06:48:10 AM
;D so, in other words, you're saying Leone was lying? lol I find your post interesting, mainly because you seem to have a firm grip on what appears to be a distinct difference between Valerii's work and Leone's in My Nmae is Nobody. I mean, I understand why it's not always considered a "Leone film" but I never understood the distinct differences everyone else seems to notice between Leone's style and Valerii's. I mean, when I saw My Name is Nobody (after having only seen GBU and FAFDM) I thought of it as a light-hearted version of Leone's other films. And I knew nothing about Valerii's style and didn't bother to compare it to Leone's in My Name is Nobody. To me, Leone is those sudden extreme close-ups, the Morricone scores, and the very intense scenes that take their time to reach an action point.
So I just want to know more about Valerii's style and how it's so distinct in My Name is Nobody.. in other words, how can you be sure that he directed the baber shop scene?

Just posted some more evidence here: http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=126.msg127852#msg127852


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Sonny on May 05, 2009, 06:27:40 PM
Just posted some more evidence here: http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=126.msg127852#msg127852

Thanks for the info you posted.  :)

The question does remain, however, about Valerii's style compared with Leone's. I don't doubt that Valerii directed certain scenes of My Name is Nobody (or most of them). I wasn't doubting your sources in determining the barber shop scene direction, etc. I only want to know about the style resonance you were talking about in your earlier post on this thread, when you said that the barber shop scene was "clearly Valierii style". That's what I was talking about.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on May 06, 2009, 06:50:02 AM
Nowadays, in the big homogenized movie industry, it is hard to distinguish any director from another purely on the basis of their use of the camera or what they ask of their cinematographers. I would venture to suggest that the sole exception, of which I am aware, is Giuseppe Tornatore.

Anyone can have similar visual themes which they may or may not have adopted from others. Tarantino is often cited as a great example of a distinctive director but this has nothing to do with camera use. He is rather noted for dialogue, unchecked violence, appropriation of old songs/scores, references to Spaghetti Westerns / Kung Fu flicks etc.

Of the many books that are made into movies, people often say the book is better. When you are dealing with intricate plots, extensive character development etc. this makes perfect sense. Conversely, if a Leone movie like OUATIW were made into a book it would be incredibly dull; OUATIA was indeed based on a book but the link is very loose.

How can you tell a Dali from a De Chirico? Well sometimes its obvious and for other cases there are probably whole books on the topic. Personally I know very little about paintings but I assume it is a very similar situation here between Leone and Valerii although in this case motion is also of paramount importance. As I mentioned to Jenkins in a previous posting, when I have the time I will rewatch some scenes and try to verbalize exactly what I mean but, even after this, the whole thing will undoubtedly still be very nebulous.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Sonny on May 06, 2009, 07:09:43 PM
Thank you for your reply, Novecento. I realize it's difficult to pinpoint the esac t features that might distinguish certain directors from others. And you're right, as the movie industry "progressed" there were less and less noticeable feature one could attribute to directors. Such distinctions became more relative to genre differentiation.

I'm still interested in the topic itself. I'd like to read about your opinion of the distinctions when you get the chance.  :)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on May 24, 2009, 08:21:24 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EM6PP047L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
I have just received the first edition of this (with the title in the singular) and read it at a sitting.     

I'd never noticed that before. Bizarrely mine says "Conversation" on the cover but then "Conversations" on the inner title page.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on June 04, 2009, 05:50:39 PM
;D so, in other words, you're saying Leone was lying?

Have had a bit of free time recently (as exemplified by my numerous postings which will decline again in number soon) and have been reconsidering this topic. This is particularly due to Simsolo's comments in his interview regarding other authors putting Leone in a bad light.

Leone's words in Simsolo's book are "J'ai mis en scène le début, la bataille et le duel final." Notably he uses the verb "mettre (en scène)" here rather than "tourner" which he uses regarding the introductory scene of "Genius": "j'ai tourné le prégénérique où l'on voit l'attaque des faux Indiens".

Now I need Noodles_Leone's help here regarding my interpretation of the French but I am thinking that the photographic evidence of Leone helping Valerii with the battle and the final duel is solid support of this "mise en scène" but this does not necessarily imply to whom the verb "tourner", regarding the camera, can be applied and when. Consequently, I think that Leone must have been breathing very heavily down Valerii's neck during the introductory sequence (particularly due to it being a send up of OUATIW) which would allow him to classify himself as having done most of the "mise en scène". This does not, however, necessarily mean he was ever behind the camera.

So no, I do not think Leone was lying but I think his statement is easily open to misinterpretation.

So I just want to know more about Valerii's style and how it's so distinct in My Name is Nobody.. in other words, how can you be sure that he directed the barber shop scene?

I am watching the barber's shop scene right now. I know Jenkins wants me to elaborate here too, but I'm not sure how to express it. I may well be fooling myself into believing I can see something which I cannot, but I really do not find it to look like a Leone directed scene. The camera just doesn't seem to me to move in the way it does when Leone is at the helm. I am, of course, quite possibly wrong in all of this but like to think I'm not  :).   


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: stanton on June 05, 2009, 02:30:18 AM
I don't think so.

At least Valerii never did a scene in his 4 previous westerns which was half as good as the Nobody opening scene. Compare his lousy 1972 SW A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die (also written by Gastaldi) with Nobody, and you know who was responsible for MNIN's qualities.
Valerii was only an average director, and his 2 better westerns are as good as their screenplays.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on June 05, 2009, 10:41:51 AM
At least Valerii never did a scene in his 4 previous westerns which was half as good as the Nobody opening scene. Compare his lousy 1972 SW A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die (also written by Gastaldi) with Nobody, and you know who was responsible for MNIN's qualities.
Valerii was only an average director, and his 2 better westerns are as good as their screenplays.

Dubbing James Coburn into English in the full length version of "A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die" is absolutely ridiculous. I didn't finish the movie cos I just couldn't take it! I'd need to watch it again to give it a fair shot but I certainly wasn't enjoying it enough to ignore the dubbing.

What about "The Price of Power"? I've always quite enjoyed that one. Plus it has an excellent score which isn't Morricone's for once! I think the man who directed that could easily have directed the barber's shop scene. Valerri also has some nice touches elsewhere: How about the horseback duel in "Day of Anger"?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: stanton on June 05, 2009, 04:23:34 PM


What about "The Price of Power"? I've always quite enjoyed that one. Plus it has an excellent score which isn't Morricone's for once! I think the man who directed that could easily have directed the barber's shop scene. Valerri also has some nice touches elsewhere: How about the horseback duel in "Day of Anger"?

Both are good SW, but also are far from being great or original. Both would have needed a better director to become really interesting. Valerii was at best only a routine copyist of Leone's style, a copyist who lacks a deeper inspiration.

The barber shop scene, and many, many more scenes in MNIN, have an atmospheric and visual beauty I couldn't find in any of Valerii's previous westerns, which all look rather flat.
MNIN has some conceptual problems, mainly in the integration of the comedy elements to the melancholic twilight western themes, but the directing is mostly superb. There are only a few less inspired looking shots.
How did Valerii come to this superior style after an astonishingly unstylish western he made just before? And how did he manage to loose this class again shortly thereafter by making such a lousy film like Sahara Cross?

My only explanation: Valerii was in the directing chair for most of the film, but Leone was the creative force behind him. Just like he originally planned it to do for Giu la testa. Ask Peter Bogdanovich.


But I will rewatch the barber shop scene one of the next days.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: uncknown on June 07, 2009, 03:01:55 PM

What about "The Price of Power"? .... it has an excellent score which isn't Morricone's for once....

Not officially.
There is no doubt he ghost wrote most of the score.
If you listen to the action music it sounds nothing like Ennio. The rest is unmistakably him.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on June 08, 2009, 06:59:59 AM
Not officially.
There is no doubt he ghost wrote most of the score.
If you listen to the action music it sounds nothing like Ennio. The rest is unmistakably him.

I remember you fighting a losing battle over this on the SWDB: Who really wrote the music for 'The Price of Power'? (http://www.spaghetti-western.net/forum/index.php/topic,1660.0.html) It sounded a lot like my main argument regarding the barber's shop scene ;D

I'm not really a musician so it's hard for me to judge. Really nice score nonetheless: Il Prezzo del potere (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6li2td-3pfE).


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: uncknown on June 08, 2009, 03:38:00 PM


I remember you fighting a losing battle over this on the SWDB:
.

Whaddya mean "losing"
My mule might think you are talkin' about him! >:(


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on June 08, 2009, 04:24:27 PM
I didn't say you were wrong, just that no one was agreeing with you. And I do empathize...


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: uncknown on June 10, 2009, 03:08:07 PM
whaddya expect from a gang of no-good, sun baked, dusty, addle-brained varmints!

ahahahahahahahha!!


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: uncknown on July 02, 2009, 03:07:46 PM
I didn't say you were wrong, just that no one was agreeing with you. And I do empathize...


hey Nove!
you dirty rat ;you double crossed me over at the Spagheeti western Forum

anybody who doublecrosses Uncknown and lets him live; he understands NOTHING about Uncknown :D


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: uncknown on July 02, 2009, 03:09:57 PM
amigos,

i have an extra copy of Frayling's leone Bio STDWD
that i am willing to sell for a reasonable price

combrm@yahoo.com if interested


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on July 02, 2009, 06:06:37 PM
hey Nove!
you dirty rat ;you double crossed me over at the Spagheeti western Forum

anybody who doublecrosses Uncknown and lets him live; he understands NOTHING about Uncknown :D

 ;D

Well after my posting, I thought I would give your argument a thorough consideration. Respectfully I must disagree, although I do believe it still to be theoretically possible if there were solid evidence. However, as I mentioned before, I'm not much of a musician.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: uncknown on July 06, 2009, 03:47:08 PM
;D

Well after my posting, I thought I would give your argument a thorough consideration. Respectfully I must disagree, although I do believe it still to be theoretically possible if there were solid evidence. However, as I mentioned before, I'm not much of a musician.

I can tell you that Luis & Bacalov had a personal and professional relationship. In fact, they COWROTE SOME SCORES!
Circumstantial evidence, yes, but it adds more credibility to my conjecture>


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Novecento on July 06, 2009, 09:17:36 PM
I can tell you that Luis & Bacalov had a personal and professional relationship. In fact, they COWROTE SOME SCORES!
Circumstantial evidence, yes, but it adds more credibility to my conjecture>

Nice interview with Bacalov here (http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/features/sijbold2.asp) where he talks about his relationship with Morricone.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: dave jenkins on August 10, 2009, 02:20:43 PM
I've always thought that Cumbow's chapter on Morricone is the best thing about the book.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on August 11, 2009, 07:51:22 AM
Most of those seem pretty obvious to me, except your point about the immersion in water.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: dave jenkins on August 11, 2009, 05:21:17 PM
Most of those seem pretty obvious to me, except your point about the immersion in water.
I think it's actually Cumbow's point.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on August 12, 2009, 12:57:38 PM
Potayto, tomahto...


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on August 28, 2009, 03:35:55 PM
(http://images.barnesandnoble.com/images/24460000/24465730.jpg)

After an introduction in which Hughes deal with some (the usual ones) major movie made before Stagecoach, 27 movies are dealt with individually. The author gives some background information concentrating on locations and other trivia, never venturing in the kind of criticism which strives to bring attention to itself and not the movie in object. This makes me give a sufficient evaluation of the book anyway, but I can't give it more because for the fan the book has little to offer. It can only be a good introduction for the absolute neophyte. Let's also add that I do not have the impression that Hughes has a more than superficial knowledge of 50's movies. 6\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on September 09, 2009, 12:16:46 PM
(http://media.us.macmillan.com/jackets/500H/9781850438960.jpg)

This is much better than the former. Though there are minor (but how cannot Hughes have realized that italian titles require capital letters only for the first word unless they are proper names?) and major mistakes (Stefanelli - like Lorenzon - made his first westerns in late '50's; Eastwood didn't come back to the USA after the shooting with a copy of Fistful; etc.) it is an interesting reading, full of perceptive (though sometime debatable) interpretations  and lots of infos. Hughes didn't watch as many italian westerns as me or some other member of this forum, but he did a lot of research.  8\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: SilenceSWDB on October 01, 2009, 11:22:13 AM
(http://www.spaghetti-western.net/images/f/f7/Spagetti-Heroes-A.jpg)
I have this one. Very nice book  8).


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 19, 2010, 05:53:05 PM
(http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/t1/t6139.jpg)

Not such a great collection, although it includes some rare and good stories like Vigilante by DeRosso and I.O.U. - One Bullet by Ryerson Johnson. Hopalong Cassidy Sits In has been anthologized elsewhere but it probably has the best poker game in western fiction. The Leonard's story is good also but widely available nowadays. 6\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 21, 2010, 10:30:16 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZTXQ6cqDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Any german contributor read this?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: stanton on April 22, 2010, 02:06:49 AM
Yeah, a pretty good book. More analytical than Frayling, a perfect complement to it. Very comprehensive.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 22, 2010, 10:44:06 AM
Thanx, I'll buy it first chance.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 26, 2010, 10:38:40 PM
The Western Hall of Fame: An Anthology of Classic Western Stories Selected by the Western Writers of America
(1984) Edited by Martin H Greenberg and Bill Pronzini

This anthology of short stories is absolutely top notch as to quality, but I give it "only" an 8\10 for the following reasons:

1) The editors did not make a great job of adequately  presenting the stories and their authors. There is just a short introduction explaining as the stories were selected and giving two-three lines as to their authors background.

2) Some of the stories can hardly be considered as "western". And only a few of the stories are "action" stories. This point is debatable, but I think a western yarn must have some thrilling action.



Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 30, 2010, 05:02:50 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51d-p88y5NL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)


Matheson combines some western lore  (Lincoln County war, Earp etc.) in the guise of an autobiographical journal of a top gunfighter. The best part comes when the protagonist life starts to crumble for various reasons. Not up to the author's horror masterpieces, but very entertaining. 8\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Scalp hunter on May 07, 2010, 11:28:00 AM
Anyone know of any good novels, i was looking for a good, violent, western novel and all i could come up with is blood meridian, but its not my taste. Ive read lots of leonard and l'amour, and i've heard the Edge books are fun......crap, but fun. Any suggestions?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on May 08, 2010, 08:15:08 AM
Check out McCarthy's Border Trilogy, they take place in the 1930's-1940's but once the action crosses into Mexico they practically go back in time 50 years and are like any other Western and very good.

McCabe by Edmund Naughton


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on May 08, 2010, 01:07:10 PM
Jim Kitses's Horizons West is a good read. His chapter on Leone is pretty bland, but the Ford and Peckinpah sections are great.

Paul Seydor's book on Peckinpah is also an excellent read, mixing behind-the-scenes info with detailed analysis.

I threw out two of my Frayling books this week because they were in terrible shape. I'll have to order new ones ASAP.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: sargatanas on May 09, 2010, 11:17:56 PM
cj, remember this'en ? http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00005WMKX/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on May 10, 2010, 03:29:45 AM
cj, remember this'en ? http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00005WMKX/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all

Yea that was a good one with great pictures.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Banjo on May 19, 2010, 05:51:57 AM
I like Hughes's books so i'm tempted by this newish title.

(http://media.us.macmillan.com/jackets/500H/9781845119027.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Juan Miranda on September 23, 2010, 11:08:20 AM
An oldie but pretty damn superb.

(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/aboutjohnford.jpg)

Written with real love and passion, one film maker's appriciation for another rather than an academic work. It includes a candid if often exasperated account of Anderson's real life meetings with Ford over the years. Included are a wealth of great frame grabs and stills. My only quibble is with Anderson's grim determination not to like THE SEARCHERS. Here's a good pic of some Ford/Leone crossover players having a break while shooting THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.


(http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/6264/aboutjohnford2946x617.jpg) (http://img809.imageshack.us/i/aboutjohnford2946x617.jpg/)

Can you imagine being at that that table?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: dave jenkins on September 23, 2010, 02:04:00 PM
Quote
My only quibble is with Anderson's grim determination not to like THE SEARCHERS.
You've sold me! (but why "grim"? Perhaps you really mean "impassive").


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 27, 2011, 12:12:01 PM
You've sold me! (but why "grim"? Perhaps you really mean "impassive").

(I know it is heresy to say this! but) I thought The Searchers was really overrated. There are many, many better John Ford & John Wayne movies


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on February 24, 2011, 02:04:15 PM
(http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/6264/aboutjohnford2946x617.jpg) (http://img809.imageshack.us/i/aboutjohnford2946x617.jpg/)

Can you imagine being at that that table?

Awesome.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on February 24, 2011, 04:07:39 PM
I'm reading Joseph McBride's John Ford bio, it's pretty good so far. I'm only up to his WWII service though.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 10, 2011, 12:55:54 AM
The long running Longarm novels are hit or miss affairs but they're rarely boring.

They're basically romance novels for men, which is essentially pornograpghy.
There is some pretty bloody violence (sometimes disturbingly so, like what happens to Longarm's partner in Longarm And The Railroaders) with graphic sex scenes in between them.
Good ole raunchy fun.
I own about 12 of them.

As I said before, the quality differs , depending on which house author pens the story, but most of them have the aforementioned ingredients that make the engine run regardless how many times it sputters.

(http://im3.ebidst.com/upload_big/6/4/9/1280655057-28608-11.jpg)

(http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n36/n182453.jpg)

(http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n36/n182631.jpg)

(http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n36/n182741.jpg)

(http://www.benbridges.co.uk/covers/whittington%2075.jpg)

(http://im1.ebidst.com/upload_big/1/4/8/1280563864-19638-8.jpg)

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qjUdpuV_KOQ/SosEcqVKQ1I/AAAAAAAABG8/rtVaO1Lljyo/s320/Longarm+26.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 10, 2011, 01:04:08 AM


(http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/6264/aboutjohnford2946x617.jpg) (http://img809.imageshack.us/i/aboutjohnford2946x617.jpg/)

Can you imagine being at that that table?


I can imagine it being quite surreal.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on March 10, 2011, 02:31:53 AM
The long running Longarm novels are hit or miss affairs but they're rarely boring.

I'll check. Sorry, CJ...


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 11, 2011, 12:06:03 AM
I'll check. Sorry, CJ...


Has CJ mentioned these already?

If you're going to check them out I can only speak for the novels made during the period of the first 100 in the series (roughly 1978 to 1987).
I've read that every time they reach a new centennial (within the course of a year they will reach 400!) the style sort of changes as does certain things about the character of U.S. Marshal Custis "Longarm" Long.

I have numbers 2, 3, 19, 24, 27, 28, 33, 58 and 67.

Okay, so I have 9 in total. Plan to get more on my next trip to North Carolina.
There is an antique store there that sells them.

Out of the nine I mentioned the best is between #2 (this one has A LOT of sex) and #58.
The latter has the edge.
Good whodunit plot with eccentric characters and crackeling dialogue.
The only lame duck I read was #33 but it still has its moments.
#3 is great up until the mid-section of the second half then it becomes merely readable.

I've heard wonderful things of the very first one but don't own it.
Probably a good place to start.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 11, 2011, 12:35:57 AM
Here are the covers to the ones I own with a little aside beneath most of them.

(http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n36/n182753.jpg)



(http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/public/mJ9B1CrLceNe1pQgg2KvHk0oNuUBWx9xmu6Vy62f5YmfY92fsFe68YouzttDh1ohf2aGUloxbFm9TlgUMcWVn-1yx_oNP5ANMaVGIQG1xtWRuz0xM0_ZUbjZFNf7Lfm9a2u6EEhq4IQLySU)


(http://www.bookgasm.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/four-corners.jpg)
Longarm is sent to investigate a several stagecoach robberies made by a highwayman in knight's armor.
Wish it stayed more focused on the main premise as it gets WAY TOO episodic (Canyon dwelling Indians, Lesbian femme fatales and Mexican religious fundamentalist all have a part to play)  but I really did enjoy it.

(http://www.fictiondb.com/coversth/th_0515053163.jpg)
Not the strongest of the bunch but a good one.
Longarm is given a partner here that accompanies him through most of the novel.

(http://www.fictiondb.com/coversth/th_0515055832.jpg)
Sort of sequel to #2 as it's the first time since then that Longarm has visited Mexico and he meets a villain that was lurking in the shadows in the second novel.
Not as strong as its prequel but a good light read nonetheless.


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/96/209157559_fc35d466fe_z.jpg?zz=1)
Very very very good.
But it becomes unfocused around the halfway mark and never really regains the momentum it had in the initial 100 pages or so.


(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/cc/b3/b26d419328a00f194406d110.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Average in almost every respect.
The sex scenes are kinda fun as Longarm beds down a woman he normally wouldn't (a slightly unattractive and older one) and there is some fun confrontations along the way.

(http://im4.ebidst.com/upload_big/7/8/1/1280829062-12864-9.jpg)
The best I've read.
As I already mentioned it's a great whodunit.
Never lets up.


LONGARM AND THE OMAHA TINHORNS doesn't have an image on the internet
An unusual entry.
Longarm is sent to investigate some suspicious going-ons at the Nebraska State Fair.
The book seems to have been written for the sole purpose of the sex scenes as Longarm beds women in almost every chapter in this one.
There is a hot air balloon gunfight that ation nuts can look forward to though.
It's light on the gunplay but heavy on the romance and comedy.
I enjoyed it for how atypical it was.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on March 11, 2011, 10:20:29 AM
There are two parallel series to this, you noticed?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 12, 2011, 12:16:10 AM
There are two parallel series to this, you noticed?

The regular and "giant book" series?
Is that what you mean?

There are other "Adult Westerns" put out by the same publishing house that sometimes feature Longarm as a guest.
Gunsmith and Lonestar are two of them but I haven't caught up to these.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on March 12, 2011, 09:56:37 AM


There are other "Adult Westerns" put out by the same publishing house that sometimes feature Longarm as a guest.
Gunsmith and Lonestar are two of them but I haven't caught up to these.

That's what I meant.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 13, 2011, 12:52:18 AM
I've read Longarm is the best of these and since I just got into them I have a lot of ground to cover so I have very little interest in the other series at the moment.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: The Firecracker on March 20, 2011, 10:11:50 PM
More of these great covers (and back)

(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/2-26medium.jpg)
(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/2-29medium.jpg)


(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/7-86medium.jpg)


(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/4-8medium.jpg)
(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/4-11medium.jpg)



(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/5-35medium.jpg)
(http://www.crcstudio.org/longarm/imagelibrary/5-38medium.jpg)





Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on August 20, 2011, 01:57:14 PM
(http://www.datazap.net/sites/64Basque/Livres7/31668.jpg)

Ford's book is almost a Everson's french version, as it devotes half of its pages to pre-Stagecoach movies and serials. But it gives new informations about them, though I have the impression they're all second hand. He dedicates little space to european westerns but then with some informations I hadn't found before, like the early century french series about "Arizona Bill". He also gives some hints about little known movies, like The Command. He is very fair towards Leone and he's not afraid to talk of "grand cinema" about OUTW; that wasn't so usual in 1976. 7\10





Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Richard--W on October 02, 2011, 07:51:41 PM
I used to know a professional editor who used to do contract work for commercial publishers. He claimed he wrote some of the Lonestar novels on a contract basis. He didn't care what he had to write so long as he got paid.  

Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian -- about the scalphunters who ostensibly invaded Texas for bounty paid by the Mexican government in the 1840s -- is a horror western that rises above every western ever written. McCarthy creates an atmosphere of hell on earth under the bright sun.

Recently I discovered the Hopalong Cassidy novels by Clarence E. Mulford. He wrote 28 novels steeped in lore and authenticity between 1906 and 1941. Mulford was the real thing. There are no other western novels quite like his. Forget the movie series. The movie series trivializes and diminishes Mulford's stories. They couldn't be further apart. Literary critics credit Owen Wister with starting the western novel with The Virginian (published in 1906), but I think Mulford started what we know as the western novel with Bar 20 (also 1906) and continued to build on the foundation until he stopped writing. He sustained the genre throughout the 1910s and 1920s and saved it from all those Zane Grey romances. He's one of those writers that other writers go to for inspiration. Now that I'm reading Mulford, I see his influence everywhere in western fiction.

Everybody, read Mulford.


Richard


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on October 02, 2011, 08:44:12 PM
Thanks for the tip  O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Richard--W on November 24, 2011, 11:38:22 PM
The western history I recommend most often is ...

(http://i1035.photobucket.com/albums/a432/Richard--W/SCALPDANCE.jpg)

Includes all the stuff Dee Brown left out of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Bloodthirsty as hell, and it's documented fact.


Richard


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 25, 2011, 06:17:37 AM
Thanks Richard W, I'll have to check it out  O0


Some Historical Narratives that are great (though they deal mostly East of the Mississippi) and are not just dry history and are derived from historical documents, journals, letters, diaries, etc., etc., are those by Allan W. Eckert, he really hooks you in to the Colonial History of North America, once hooked you just go to the bibliography he used and launch from there.

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/WildernessEmpire2.jpg) (http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/WildernessWar.jpg)
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/TheConquerors.jpg)(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/TwilightofEmpire.jpg)
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/The-Frontiersmen-9780945084914.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Richard--W on November 25, 2011, 01:12:04 PM
I've heard good things about Allan W. Eckert historical fiction narratives. I've been wanting to read them, but there's so little time for reading. Right now I'm busy trying to make footnotes match the text so I can't focus on reading for entertainment. However, your post does raise a question that often comes up regarding the geography of the west.

To simplify, the American west took place -- and still takes place -- west of the Mississippi river. If a story happens east of the Mississippi, it's not a western. Why? Partly because the landscape changes, and the landscape largely determines the experience of exploration and discovery and conflict and settlement and the distinct culture that arises from it. There is a middle-ground, however. For example, Mark Twain's historical and autobiographical novels Tom Sawyer (published in 1875) and Huckleberry Finn (1884)  take place on both sides of the river. In real life, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett spent their lives in the southeast but traveled some to the west. The same frontier conditions took place in the east at an earlier time; the Colonial period along the Atlantic coast, and the antebellum south with the Civil War. So Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), The Fighting Kentuckian (1949), Johnny Tremain (1957), Revolution (1985), April Morning (1988), Last of the Mohicans (1992), and The Patriot (2000) from the Colonial period, and Birth of a Nation (1914), Gone With the Wind (1939), Friendly Persuasion (1956), Shenandoah  (1965), Sandburg's Lincoln (1974), Mandingo (1975), Roots (1977), Glory (1989), Gettysburg (1993), and Gods and Generals (2003) from the Civil War period, are not westerns although they operate on all the  elements of the western in a different geographic location and a distinctly different culture. Technically, the period of discovery and conflict and settlement in the American west came to an end in 1912 when the savages were finally penned up and the last of the western territories achieved statehood. In the absence of frontier conditions, western culture continued, so that a movie that takes place in the American west and that is observant of western lifestyles like Arena (1953), The Misfits (1961), Urban Cowboy (1980) and Lone Star (1996) qualify as a correlated genre, the contemporary western. I know that more explanation is required in such a discussion, and I invite you all to discuss it, but you're not going to get it from me.


Richard


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on November 25, 2011, 01:50:10 PM
I personally break it down this way, any film set between the settled edge of the Atlantic seaboard colonies (French, English, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish I guess we should include them all to be accurate) and the Pacific Ocean, and Hudson's Bay South including Mexico prior to the advent of the revolver I call Frontier Films/Epics.
So the time line would be from the early 1600's to say when the percussion cap revolver was (invented by Samuel Colt in 1836) beginning to become widespread say the 1840's.

So a film like Black Robe would be an example of a very early Frontier film.  Another early one would be Hudson's Bay about Radisson & Groseilliers taking place between 1660-1680's. Then a bookend film to these would be say The Alamo, Kit Carson, and Jeremiah Johnson.

Once the revolver came into play then I designate the films Westerns but  the boundary changes from the Mississippi to the Pacific and then in the North Alaska the Yukon, & the Northwest Territories South to and including Mexico to 1920. After roughly 1920 I'll call them Modern Westerns.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: marmota-b on January 04, 2012, 09:45:06 AM
I got myself one yesterday, and managed to read most of it (only skipping parts) already.
Not exactly the cleverest thing to do when you need to catch up on your sleep. Whatever.

Karel Jordán: Tenkrát na Západě - Český průvodce světovými westerny. I.e. "Once Upon A Time In The West - A Czech Guide to the World's Westerns"
And most probably the first one to date. Published last year, a bit too hurriedly it seems (so that it could serve as a Christmas gift), because it seems the editor did a sloppy work; the most glaring instance being the author claiming that Riga, the birthplace of an "eastern" actor, is in Estonia (pah!). That sort of mistake makes me feel a little bit less inclined to believe anything the author writes, but as far as I can tell, most of the Western-related stuff is correct.
The sub-title says it all. It's quite a brief but all-encompassing look through the history of westerns (and red-westerns, and easterns). Probably nothing special for people used to the likes of Frayling (whom I still have not got a chance to read, but whom Jordán lists as a source), but quite a revelation in the Czech Republic. Karel Jordán is very obviously a dedicated fan, and very obviously a fan of spaghetti westerns, too. There's a lot about red-westerns and western-like films from countries such as Romania that you don't normally learn on the internet (at least I have not, which does not necessarily mean anything). And it is, also, very obviously Czech, which I love. Fun to read overall. (Might not be such fun for people who are not Czech, because he quotes Jára Cimrman, among other things...)
Oh, and there's a photo of Harmonica and Frank on the cover, and he lists this site among his useful websites.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on January 26, 2012, 09:19:59 PM
I'm only halfway through it (I'm reading a handful of bricks at the same time) but this book is very fascinating.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51G9YGYF7ZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Unfortunately I don't think it was ever translated, so it's only for people who can read german.

Hembus traces an history of American West by chronologically enumerating the most important facts and figures of the period, sometime critically discussing the most important ones. At the same time he includes a list of all the western movies (both hollywoodian and not) which dealt with the same topic, giving some short informations on the plot. You end up having a good (and, most of all, systematic) representation of reality vs. filmic myth. The number of movies (even recent ones) I didn't even hear of (let alone watched)  is endless. Unfortunately the author died a few years ago and the most recent edition of the book (first appeared in 1981) was published in 1996. 9\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: stanton on January 27, 2012, 02:40:36 AM
Joe Hembus died 1985 in the Alps in an avalanche.

He is still sadly missed. All his books about film were very beautifully written and very thoughtful.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on January 27, 2012, 05:15:16 AM
sounds very interesting.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 22, 2012, 07:55:11 PM
Frayling's book on SW is just a Leone's book in disguise. I give it 3\10, at best. He didn't watch the movies, he can't understand italian, he doesn't know much about italian cinema and I have the suspicion he, apart from Leone, doesn't like SW either. The Hughes book on western, as it starts from Stagecoach, I assume doesn't cover the first 40 years of western movies. 

I just re-read parts of Frayling's book "Spaghetti Westerns,"  and I don't see how you can possibly say the above. Frayling has an encyclopedic knowledge of Italian cinema. He discusses SW's extensively. There's no doubt that his particular area of expertise is Leone's works (and Leone's are the most famous and generally considered the best SW's) and he devotes special attention to those movies; but how can you possibly say that Frayling didn't watch the movies? So he's bullshitting when he discusses all those SW's? He never really watched them? How do you know that? And he seems to actually hold Italian cinema in much higher regard than many critics did in the 60's. I have no clue whether or not he understands Italian, and if not, whether he saw those movies dubbed into English or with English subtitles or what. But I can't imagine that he write extensively about all these movies without even watching them.

There are other problems with the book. As cigar joe mentioned above, it is not the easiest read. I found it very difficult to understand much of the terminology. I don't know if it's cuz I am not familiar with lots of movie terminology or cuz he didn't write it well, or some combination thereof. There are mistakes there, though as Groggy mentioned in a recent post, to his credit Frayling included a forward to the reprint where he pointed out his mistakes.

Thankfully, his writing improved tremendously by the time he wrote STDWD. But IMO "Spaghetti Westerns" is an indispensable volume for any Leone fan, and probably an interesting read for any SW fan (though I can't say for sure; I've only seen 5 SW's besides Leone's).


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 23, 2012, 06:17:29 AM
Frayling can't speak italian and, sadly, didn't even bother to learn to read it. He states, honestly, in the preface of one of his books, that he hired an interpreter to interview the italian subjects. I don't remember all the crap he writes, I just remember off the cuff , that he lists Le pillole di Ercole (tr. lit. Hercules Pills: a modern day comedy about some miraculous pills) as a sword and sandal movie (of course the title deceived him). I'd be willing to bet he didn't watch, at the time he wrote the movie, more than 20-30 SW's, but even conceding he watched more, say 50, that wouldn't  authorize him to be dubbed an "expert" let alone write a book on the subject.  About his knowledge of italian cinema, I ought to re-read his book to list all the errors but, believe me, he doesn't know what he's writing about. And it couldn't be otherwise if you don't understand italian, as only a small part of the production was available to english speakers, all the more so at the time when F. wrote his books.
Frayling's work is useful for some  informations not to be found elsewhere but, as I wrote, each of this informations should be checked twice.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Leonardo on July 23, 2012, 09:06:09 AM
Frayling can't speak italian and, sadly, didn't even bother to learn to read it. He states, honestly, in the preface of one of his books, that he hired an interpreter to interview the italian subjects. I don't remember all the crap he writes, I just remember off the cuff , that he lists Le pillole di Ercole (tr. lit. Hercules Pills: a modern day comedy about some miraculous pills) as a sword and sandal movie (of course the title deceived him). I'd be willing to bet he didn't watch, at the time he wrote the movie, more than 20-30 SW's, but even conceding he watched more, say 50, that wouldn't  authorize him to be dubbed an "expert" let alone write a book on the subject.  About his knowledge of italian cinema, I ought to re-read his book to list all the errors but, believe me, he doesn't know what he's writing about. And it couldn't be otherwise if you don't understand italian, as only a small part of the production was available to english speakers, all the more so at the time when F. wrote his books.
Frayling's work is useful for some  informations not to be found elsewhere but, as I wrote, each of this informations should be checked twice.
Titoli, I respect your opinion but I disagree. Frayling may not be an expert on SW in general, but he is certainly an expert on Leone. You cannot crucify the man because he doesn't speak or read italian. Leone didn't speak any english, yet as we all know, his research in the USA was fundamental for the creation of his masterpieces. Frayling has started praising Leone in the 70ies, if not 60ties, when everybody else was still bashing Leone, including almost all italian film critics. And let's face it, as I have stated in a similar thread some years ago, being italian, I feel ashamed that the most exhaustive Leone biography was written by an englishman and not by an italian. There are extremely few italian writers who recognized Leone as a great director 30-40 years ago: Oreste De Fornari and Franco Ferrini are the only ones who readily come to my mind (Gabutti, Kezich and the others followed much later).
Si I'm more then willing to forgive some flaws and small errors here and there in his book, but I still think he has done a great job and he is certainly regarded as an authority when it comes to Leone and rightly so, I may add.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 23, 2012, 10:10:29 AM
Probably you haven't noticed, but we were talking about Frayling's book on SW and his authoritativeness on italian language, SW and italian cinema. On Leone he did what he could, which was much but we have to consider his limitations. I wonder, for example, what he could have made of Morricone's statement on roman bullies.

BTW, if you have read De Fornari's first book on Leone (and the first ever published anywhere) it  was quite critical on his subject, not laudatory and I wonder why he ever did write it.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on July 23, 2012, 10:11:16 AM
Quote
You cannot crucify the man because he doesn't speak or read italian.

I agree wholeheartedly with this. This criticism may be valid with an historian or literary critic, where linguistic nuances can mean a great deal. Concerning films shot for an international audience and readily available in English, however, it's not particularly apt.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 23, 2012, 10:26:57 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with this. This criticism may be valid with an historian or literary critic, where linguistic nuances can mean a great deal. Concerning films shot for an international audience and readily available in English, however, it's not particularly apt.

Don't play the jenkins, please. The westerns were shot for an international audience, but were thought up and directed by Leone in roman, not even italian. All the collaborators were romans, or italians living in Rome. Only the actors were international. But then, even assuming what you write is true (and it isn't) then on the basis of your linguistical limitations you should discuss the movies and stop there. If you decide to penetrate the author's background, his frame of mind and his mental and cultural development, then you should first acquire the knowledge of the language through which this development was possible, of the cultural products he absorbed and so on. Frayling is absolutely unable to do that and he isn't even ashamed to have to admit it.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Groggy on July 23, 2012, 10:30:41 AM
Don't play the jenkins, please.

What did I ever do to deserve this? :D


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 23, 2012, 11:08:56 AM
What did I ever do to deserve this? :D

I won't take from him the pleasure to explain.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 23, 2012, 04:00:48 PM
Titoli - Leonardo makes a great point about how Leone did amazing research for his movies, all about America, despite never learning English. And the fact that Frayling.... gasp... hired an Italian interpreter to interview Italians?? I mean, wtf else should he do? Leone brought along Fulvio Morsella to act as his interpreter in the meetings with Harry Grey (and probably many other times). He had English speakers (I think Morsella again) translate The Hoods to him. I understand that if you are Italian and understand the nuances of the language yes, it bothers you that someone else who doesn't speak the language can't understand the nuances and therefore perhaps can't understand everything as perfectly as if he could. But that's not really a valid criticism. (It's like with OUATIA, there mistakes that Orthodox Jews can point out. Even though they had Stuart Kaminsky fix up the script to make it Jewish, Kaminsky may have been a traditional Jew and known about their customs and he did a pretty damn good job, but I don't think he was Orthodox and there are some errors that an Orthodox Jew would spot -- eg. Jews would never enter their stores on Passover under any circumstances -- but 99% of viewers wouldn't realize it, so who cares. It's not a perfect analogy but the general point remains). Yeah, I am sure that there are nuances that only an Italian or a Roman could pick up on, but to I have to disagree with the assertion that someone is unauthorized to do research on Leone or on Italian cinema if he doesn't understand Italian. I think a researcher has to be clear and honest about his limitations and do his best with them. So, Frayling should be commended for saying honestly that his interviews with Italians were done by interpreters, and for his preface to his Spaghetti Westerns book where he corrected the mistakes of the previous editions. I think honestly is most important. And with the limitation of being an English speaker, I think he did a damn fine job. Unless you think he really never watched those movies he discusses. In that case, yeah, he should be given zero credibility. But I don't see how you can say that. I haven't seen the movies  myself but when someone discusses movies, in many cases in-depth, I think it's reasonable to assume that he's seen them! Weren't these movies either dubbed into English or with English subtitles?  (Besides,  all this is assuming your statement is correct that he really speaks no Italian; just because he couldn't speak it well enough to interview Italians, does that necessarily mean he couldn't understand it well enough to watch an Italian movie?)

I am as frustrated as anyone else is by some blatant mistakes I've seen in Frayling's works. That's why I try to post about them, for the record, (even though I know that my posts won't even be read by 1% of the people who have read his books or watched his commentaries). But you know what, these movies were made a very long time ago, many of those involved are now dead, the ones who are alive are old and it was many years ago, people have very conflicting accounts of what happened, and in some cases people intentionally lie to take credit away from others. So this research is not easy. But I think he presents his research -- and it definitely is exhaustive -- in a careful and honest manner, stating all the various versions of the (many) stories where recollections differ. There was recently a book released called "Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius"  http://www.amazon.com/Einsteins-Mistakes-Human-Failings-Genius/dp/0393062937      apparently his doctoral dissertation was riddles with mistakes; the point of the book is not to criticize Einstein, but on the contrary, to show how humans are flawed, even the most brilliant.

Finally, I have to say that I am a FAR bigger Leone fan than I am a fan of SW's or Italian cinema in general. (Thus far, I've only seen 5 non-Leone SW's, and I can't think of any other Italian movies I've seen besides La Strada. They're in my queue; I hope to start watching 'em soon). So I really can't speak for certain about Frayling's expertise on SW's or Italian cinema in general. All I know is the number of movies he discusses, and if he's really seen those movies, then yeah, he knows quite a lot. And if he has not seen all those Italian movies he has discussed, well in that case he is the biggest phony that ever lived. But somehow I doubt that.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 23, 2012, 04:36:43 PM
 I told you that I prize some informations picked up by Frayling, but I warn you they ought not to be accepted face value. About The Hoods, Leone read it in the italian translation, published I think in the '60's. And as to OUTIA, I consider it an american movie, as it was shot with an entirely american cast and written by an american (apart from the fact that it is not an italian production but an entirely american one).  Whatever you write about his last movie cannot be taken as an example of his MO for his previous movies.
I can grant  Frayling's honesty, but that doen't make him more dependable. And when you'll have a deeper knowledge of italian SW and italian cinema you'll probably be aware of his limitations (almost) like I am. Believe me, his book on SW is mediocre at the very best.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 23, 2012, 06:30:34 PM
I told you that I prize some informations picked up by Frayling, but I warn you they ought not to be accepted face value. About The Hoods, Leone read it in the italian translation, published I think in the '60's. And as to OUTIA, I consider it an american movie, as it was shot with an entirely american cast and written by an american (apart from the fact that it is not an italian production but an entirely american one).  Whatever you write about his last movie cannot be taken as an example of his MO for his previous movies.
I can grant  Frayling's honesty, but that doen't make him more dependable. And when you'll have a deeper knowledge of italian SW and italian cinema you'll probably be aware of his limitations (almost) like I am. Believe me, his book on SW is mediocre at the very best.

I disagree that OUATIA is an American movie, I think the Italians were as heavily involved as with Leone's movies. But that's besdide the point. When I (and presumably Leonardo as well) was talking about the fact that Leone did meticulous research on American history to make movies about America despite never having learned English, I wasn't just talking about OUATIA; I was talking about the Westerns as well. My point was just that you can know about a culture, including its movie culture (and Leone sure had vast knowledge of American movies) even without speaking English, so I presume that not speaking Italian isn't necessarily an impediment to Frayling's knowledge of Italian cinema. Whether or not he actually has that knowledge, I can't say for certain. There is no doubt that you know more about Italian cinema than I do. I don't know shit. So it's easy for Frayling to convince me that he knows a lot about it. You may well be correct that he doesn't know that much about it; I cannot honestly speak to something I don't know about. But the bulk of Frayling's work is about Leone. And that's why I bought his books. And even he wouldn't deny that; I mean, he clearly notes how the bulk of his writings is dedicated to Leone's SW's. (And that makes sense, since those were most influential; like most discussions of AW's would focus heavily, though not entirely,  on John Ford).
That's why I read his works -- because I want to read about Leone -- and (despite the frustrating mistakes), I love them and think they're great.

But he has chapters on SW's (eg. "Spaghettis and Politics," "Spaghettis and Society,") that discuss a shitload of non-Leone SW's. ( I've hardly seen any of them, but) why are you saying that you believe he hasn't seen them? Are you saying he hasn't seen the ones he discusses? or that the ones he discusses are only a tiny fraction of the total? Frayling himself talks about the fact that hundreds of SW's were made ("a terrifying gold rush," in Leone's words) and that many of them were shit. And he focuses on the more significant ones, of course (eg. those by Corbucci and Sollima). Do you want him to write chapters about all the shitty ones? Even the best books about the American Westerns probably do no mention the names of 95% of the total AW's that have been released. The books focus on the most significant/influential ones. And Frayling definitely discusses the significant ones. So again, I clearly do not have the knowledge of SW's that you do, but I I'm not exactly sure what your criticism is: are you saying Frayling has not seen all the SW's that he discusses? or that he's seen them but misinterpreted them? or that he's only seen the few he discusses but no others?

It seems to me, as an American, that Frayling set out to write a book, from an English perspective, on the Spaghetti Western, with a heavy emphasis on Leone's works. And to that extent, he largely succeeded. I readily admit that our opinions may differ because I am an American who is focused on Leone, while you are an Italian  seem to want a work that truly focuses on Italian cinema as a whole. (Similar to what Leonardo mentioned above, I'm sure it's frustrating for Italians that no Italian has undertaken as thorough a work on Leone, and that STDWD is the only definitive biography on him. But let's not blame Frayling for the fact that no Italian has undertaken a work on Leone as extensive as he has).




(But it's definitely vital point out any mistakes that he or anyone else makes, to correct them for the record. And that's why I contributed so heavily to the thread discussing mistakes in Frayling's commentaries, just as I pointed out the mistakes made in Cinema Retro in a different thread [neither of those threads were started by me], but then that dickhead Cinema Retro editor Bruce who calls himself UNCKNOWN criticizes me and says that I must have no friends cuz I live to correct others' mistakes, as if we'd be better off without those mistakes being corrected. And of course dj jumps on for a cheap laugh, even though he is the one who initially encouraged me to correct the mistakes for the record. But hey, what else can I expect from a Cinema Retro editor who took personal offense, and dj? Not much. [I am NOT criticizing Cinema Retro or any other of that magazine's contributors who are on this board; I think they do very important work and I am happy that they exist; just that one edition I saw had many mistakes]. But I digress......)  ;)



Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on September 05, 2012, 03:42:20 AM
http://www.ebay.it/itm/Rieupeyrout-La-grande-aventure-du-western-1894-1964-ed-du-Cerf-/380459211123?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_71&hash=item589522d973

This is a reprint, I presume, brought to date of his book published in 1954 with the title: Le western où le cinéma américain par excellence. I've found at the flea market last sunday the italian edition published in 1957: the two versions seem to be apparently very rare as I can't find them on line. Anyway this is a disposable book except for some pictures I've never seen before. It has little critical value as it doesn't even mention some movies which are considered classic (f.e. The Gunfighter). The author consider the movies as a kind of filmed history of the Far West, with just the insertion of stories to make them palatable to the audiences. Shane is considered as the first movie which can do without the history side and reading it one can't but think that those words can suit better to the Leone movies a decade after. Some interesting notes on locations (Monumental Valley being never mentioned under this name). 5\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on September 05, 2012, 04:03:46 AM
Are you saying he hasn't seen the ones he discusses? or that the ones he discusses are only a tiny fraction of the total? Frayling himself talks about the fact that hundreds of SW's were made ("a terrifying gold rush," in Leone's words) and that many of them were shit. And he focuses on the more significant ones, of course (eg. those by Corbucci and Sollima). Do you want him to write chapters about all the shitty ones?

No, but if I should write a book on a genre I would try to watch everything, not just limit myself to the most "significant ones" because somebody else who didn't watch the rest like me wrote there aren't other ones to be taken into consideration.


Quote
Even the best books about the American Westerns probably do no mention the names of 95% of the total AW's that have been released.

That means that  "probably" you haven't read the Garfield's book.

(http://www.briangarfield.net/images/Western_films_p-330.jpg)


Quote
It seems to me, as an American, that Frayling set out to write a book, from an English perspective, on the Spaghetti Western, with a heavy emphasis on Leone's works. And to that extent, he largely succeeded.

That proves my point. He just wrote, at best, a slightly different version of STDWD  with a different and misleading title.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Yellowhead on September 07, 2012, 07:57:55 AM
"The American West"-The Pictorial Epic of a Continent by Lucius Beebe & Charles Clegg


I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy illustrations or artist representations from the Old American West.
It's basically a compilation of newspaper articles, paintings, wanted posters, and other photos dating back from the early 1600s to the early 1900s.
It's a fantastic book, really.


(http://www.goodbooksinthewoods.com/pictures/39569.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on September 07, 2012, 06:14:45 PM
Its best to upload the photos to photobucket then link them to here.  O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Yellowhead on September 07, 2012, 06:41:21 PM
OH haha  :D I didn't see the "Insert Photo" button there. Thanks much! O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on September 08, 2012, 02:43:33 PM
"The American West"-The Pictorial Epic of a Continent by Lucius Beebe & Charles Clegg


I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy illustrations or artist representations from the Old American West.
It's basically a compilation of newspaper articles, paintings, wanted posters, and other photos dating back from the early 1600s to the early 1900s.
It's a fantastic book, really.


(http://www.goodbooksinthewoods.com/pictures/39569.jpg)

I had this one years ago, in the 1960's, I enjoyed it a lot.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: johnk on January 21, 2013, 05:43:23 AM
I remember reading the Dollar seies books many years ago. I refer to Coffin full of dollars,milliondollar bloodhunt etc.....and what puzzled me that the main protananist was always discribed with the features of Lee Van Cleef in all the books.......Bit odd unless there was intention to get him the parts on film.
Anybody else think this was odd ??


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Tex on February 23, 2013, 07:07:57 PM
I thought I would throw a few more novels into the mix. CJ, mentioned McCarthy's Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain), and I would easily put those has my favorites, especially The Crossing.

Blood Meridian is another, grittier, McCarthy novel.
(http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/8953/bloodmeridiancover.jpg)

Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove is a classic, and an award winner to boot.
(http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/9013/lonesomedovecover.jpg)

And finally, the Josey Wales stories. I read somewhere that Carter actually wrote the book with Eastwood in mind.
(http://img803.imageshack.us/img803/9585/joseywalesbook.jpg)


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 20, 2013, 07:07:31 AM
(http://giotto.ibs.it/cop/copj170.asp?f=9788880336365)

A slim volume (170 pages) divided into 2 parts: the first  one is a general overview of the genre, the second is dedicated to the analysis of a handful of exemplary movies. The author doesn't adopt the jargon of many smart-aleck pseudo-commentators but he's quite readable and never trivial. Lots of informations and reflections and even some good photos. Recommended to those who can read italian. 8\10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on November 30, 2013, 09:15:09 PM
(http://sellerio.it/upload/assets/files/841,it,6991/3605-3.jpg)

This recent Camilleri's true crime release reads, actually, like a sort of sicilian western (it is said explicitly in the book itself and the author himself called it a "western" in the interviews). I don't think it will be translated in english (apparently only Montalbano's misteries are thought to be worth the effort, wrongly) but I wouldn't be surprised to watch a movie transposition of this story about a family fighting an armed war against mafia in the '20s. 8\10 


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on October 13, 2015, 12:36:17 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DJ9xHintL._SL500_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

This is a collection of 25 biographies of western actors, mostly active before or just after WWII: published in 1976. Now, it is worth noting that you don't find biographies of major figures like Fonda or Ford, but you can find Lee Van Cleef! And SW is considered positively, as a hail back to more realistic flicks. I didn't know, or had forgotten, BTW, that Sinatra didn't play Dirty Harry because of a hand injury.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 13, 2015, 08:51:26 AM
I've heard that there were other factors in Sinatra not getting the Dirty Harry role, including his preference that the movie be shot near his Palm Springs home.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on December 31, 2016, 07:34:48 PM
(http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1474373355i/2278933._UY389_SS389_.jpg)

A good survey of the genre by themes with lots of original musings. 8/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: noodles_leone on January 02, 2017, 08:13:12 AM
ENCYLOPEDIE DU WESTERN

(http://referentiel.nouvelobs.com/file/14693229.jpg)

I got this for christmas. It's by Patrick Brion, whose well documented and illustrated CLINT EASTWOOD and MARTIN SCORSESE books I've owned for years. I don't always agree with him but his heart is on the right side.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 02, 2017, 08:32:30 AM
ENCYLOPEDIE DU WESTERN

(http://referentiel.nouvelobs.com/file/14693229.jpg)

I got this for christmas. It's by Patrick Brion, whose well documented and illustrated CLINT EASTWOOD and MARTIN SCORSESE books I've owned for years. I don't always agree with him but his hearth is on the right side.

Looks cool  O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: dave jenkins on January 02, 2017, 12:21:21 PM
Yeah, it does.  O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on January 02, 2017, 05:58:12 PM
 O0 O0


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on January 05, 2017, 04:20:05 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71RK1N1QPJL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_.gif)

A classic, though dated, survey of the James Gang and the Wild Bunch vicissitudes. Still good for the Cassidy and Sundance story, though. 8/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on January 05, 2017, 05:05:43 PM
(http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1320773815l/1142312.jpg)

A completely invented story about some western outlaws figures, which some had the grit to compare to True Grit. It is good reading, but hardly a masterpiece like Portis'. 7/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Moorman on January 27, 2017, 12:36:00 PM
ENCYLOPEDIE DU WESTERN

(http://referentiel.nouvelobs.com/file/14693229.jpg)

I got this for christmas. It's by Patrick Brion, whose well documented and illustrated CLINT EASTWOOD and MARTIN SCORSESE books I've owned for years. I don't always agree with him but his heart is on the right side.

I would love to have these books, but not at $400 on Amazon...


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: noodles_leone on January 29, 2017, 09:42:47 AM
As I understand this one shares the same content as the cool box in a much simpler way (just 1 book, soft cover, no box) and at a more interesting (although still high) price:

https://www.amazon.com/Encyclop%C3%A9die-du-Western/dp/2753303150/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485708087&sr=8-2&keywords=Encyclop%C3%A9die+du+western


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on March 12, 2017, 11:50:31 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/ViIAAOSwQiRUoWOq/s-l300.jpg)

I don't know how much "true" these stories are. They're told in fictionalized fashion and the facts are diverging from those that can be read at wikipedia. Still they make entertaining reading and prod to check on some obscure characters like Ben Thompson or "Bear River" Tom Smith or the circumstances surrounding's Belle Starr murder. But the strangest item is the final story about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: nothing else than a short novelization of the movie by a certain Van Hetherly. I wonder how this came about. The book was published in 1971. 7/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 05, 2017, 06:23:51 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/a/(KGrHqJ,!rgE+jbzd2ZzBQFFsLHHEw~~/s-l300.jpg)

Western Stories Omnibus ed. by William Targ

First published in 1945 it had some reprints, even in those Armed Forces strip format editions, but the content is really disappointing. Hard to dig how the 19 stories were selcted, but they're generally mediocre, with some exception (Mulford, Gruber, Lomax) which doesn't make though the "good" rank, just passable. 4-5/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 20, 2017, 10:45:12 PM
(http://www.oldscrolls.com/shop_image/product/024050.JPG)

Great Tales of the American West ed. by Harry G. Maule.

Published in 1945, it has a high literary level, as far as the genre can reach. But there's little of the boom-boom fare (the best being the Hopalong Cassidy story, the dud being the Tuttle's mediocre Sunset). I give it 8/10   with the recommendation to shy away from it if you're interested in actioin stories.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 23, 2017, 12:27:24 AM
There's a new book out called Dodge City, by Tom Clavin. About Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson and all the other characters in that legendary Western city. Here is a review of that book, from The Wall Street Journal. The review was written by Stephen Harrigan:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-ballad-of-wyatt-and-bat-1488576938?emailToken=JRrydP15Y3uUi9czaMwg1FBtZKAMD%2BaFA1TZaW/bM1TQ8XXTraerzrlw3ofn8T7wGxchtw%3D%3D

The Stuttering Kid, Stink Finger Jim, Squirrel Tooth Alice, Big Nose Kate, Cockeyed Frank Loving, Dirty Sock Jack, Cold Chuck Johnny, Deadwood Dick, Prairie Dog Dave Morrow, Mysterious Dave Mather, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh : When it comes to nicknames, has there ever been a more exuberant time and place in America than western Kansas in the 1870s and 1880s? Dodge City, the subject of Tom Clavin’s absorbing if moseying book, didn’t have a punchy moniker like some of its infamous inhabitants or passers-through, though it was neatly summed up by a Chicago newspaper editor in a famous phrase: “the beautiful, bibulous Babylon of the West.”

Wyatt Earp didn’t have a nickname either, and didn’t need one. His real name was already a kind of definition of the grimly determined Old West lawman. He is one of the two main characters in “Dodge City.” The other is the Canadian-born, bowler-hatted Bertholomiew Masterson, who under the shortened first name of “Bat” patrolled the streets of Dodge City with Wyatt Earp, where they perfected the art of “buffaloing” (i.e., rendering unconscious with a smart rap from a pistol barrel) troublesome Texas cowboys.

Mr. Clavin’s many books have included subjects as diverse as Louis Prima and Joe DiMaggio, but he is best known as the co-author (with Bob Drury ) of a sweeping history of Red Cloud’s War, “The Heart of Everything That Is,” and of the World War II Naval saga “Halsey’s Typhoon.” This book is different in concept and tone, not just because it’s a solo outing by Mr. Clavin but because there’s no climactic destination like a typhoon or an Indian battle. Mr. Clavin takes due notice of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral but gives it only a few pages, since it happened in Tombstone, Ariz., and not Dodge City. In fact, the book steadily builds to a “High Noon”-style face-off that evaporated before it could even happen. “For purely dramatic purposes,” the author notes with wry wistfulness of his non-climax, “it would be wonderful to describe the wild shoot-out that followed.”

This may sound like a problem, but it’s not. “Dodge City” is meant to be not a cycloramic narrative but a series of sketches and biographical tableaux that the reader encounters at an easy narrative gait. It’s fun and revealing all the way through. The main sketch, of course, is of Dodge City itself, the town that grew up around a U.S. Army fort on the Arkansas River and became the emblematic untamed American place. It was a frontier town of rampaging outlaws, “soiled doves,” rambunctious “waddies” just off the cattle trails and peace officers, like Wyatt Earp, whose commitment to law enforcement did not get too much in the way of their own casual criminality.

Dodge City emerged out of the prairie, Mr. Clavin writes, because of “three uncontainable forces that intersected there: buffalo, railroads, and longhorn cattle from Texas.” It was as close as any place to being the epicenter of the great bison slaughter of the 1870s, when hunting crews swarmed over the plains armed with Sharps rifles and skinning knives to satisfy a newly developed market for buffalo hides. The hides were shipped east on freshly laid railroad tracks, which also sparked the great trail drives that delivered cattle all the way from south Texas to Kansas railheads like Dodge City.

When the cowboys were in town, it was a busy time for Earp and Masterson and the other marshals and sheriffs engaged in the business of “lawing.” “It is hip-liiphurrali till five in the morning,” a Kansas City Times reporter wrote, meaning that the Long Branch and other Dodge City watering holes teemed with drunken trail drivers violently unwinding after escorting 3,000 head of cattle 700 miles through Texas and the Oklahoma Indian Territory.

Since the lawmen were paid $2.50 per arrest, the hip-liiphurrali times also meant a significant bump in pay, but lawing was hazardous work that drew men like Earp who were, in the words of his friend Masterson, “devoid of physical fear.” Before he was a Dodge City lawman, Earp was a horse thief, brothel bouncer, buffalo hunter, freight hauler and bereaved widower. (His next three wives, according to Mr. Clavin, would all be prostitutes.) He was also resolutely sober, the result of a nauseating, head-spinning first encounter with alcohol that he did not care to repeat.

Maybe the fact that Earp was both devoid of fear and devoid of drink was responsible for the laconic personality that helped slot him into the role of enduring American hero. Mr. Clavin gives Earp his due, but one of the virtues of his book is the welcome light it shines on its other protagonist, Bat Masterson, who comes across as much more interesting, human and fun. “Now in the legend of the West,” went the theme song to a long-ago 1950s western about Masterson, “one name stands out of all the rest.” That wasn’t exactly true then, and it isn’t exactly true now. Masterson’s name recognition is probably far below that of Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday (who is also one of the book’s westernis personae), but “Dodge City” should help give him a much-deserved boost to the A list.

Far from a sidekick to Wyatt Earp—“no one’s Walter Brennan, Andy Devine, or Slim Pickens”—he is a force in his own right in Mr. Clavin’s book, a “chunk of steel” who was in the thick of the action at the 1874 Battle of Adobe Walls, in which the Comanche chief Quanah Parker led a disastrous assault on a buffalo-hunting outpost in the Texas Panhandle. In the Red River War that followed, Masterson served as a scout for Col. Nelson Miles and was one of the men who negotiated the surrender of a Cheyenne band under Stone Calf; he also rescued two young girls, Katherine and Sophia German, whom the Indians had captured the year before. At the time he was only 21, with his whole reputation as a Dodge City lawman before him and after that—as Mr. Clavin relates—a whole other reputation as a popular sportswriter and man-about-town in New York. Indeed, the most eye-opening revelation in a book full of shoot-outs and saloon brawls may well be that Bat Masterson, former buffalo hunter, Indian fighter and frontier marshal, ended up being a mentor to gossip columnist Louella Parsons.

Such droll little fact-bombs abound in “Dodge City,” along with guest appearances by Frank and Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, Tom Mix, Belle Starr, Theodore Roosevelt and other Old West marquee names who crossed the many trails of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Not on the marquee, but indelible nonetheless, is the dance-hall girl who went by the name of Prairie Rose and who bet a visiting trail driver $50 that she would walk naked down the main street of Ellsworth, Kan. “At five the next morning,” Mr. Clavin writes, “a naked Prairie Rose did walk down the street, but she held two cocked six-shooters and shouted out that she would put a bullet in the first cowboy face that appeared in a window.”

That’s what you call a showdown.

---
Mr. Harrigan is the author, most recently, of the novel “A Friend of Mr. Lincoln.”


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on April 23, 2017, 08:03:41 AM
Are you gonna read this book?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 23, 2017, 06:53:59 PM
Probably not  ^-^


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 02, 2017, 02:36:40 AM
(https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9780345030528-uk.jpg)

(https://img.fantasticfiction.com/images/n33/n166223.jpg)

Dorothy Johnson published 2 collections of short stories, including 3 which spawned 4 movies. This one was originally titled Indian Country and then again as A Man Called Horse to exploit the movie's success.  There is little to say, the general level of the stories vary from good to excellent (of course, TMWSLV being one of these). What is amazing is the attitude towards Indians, not seen as devils or victims: and we were in the '50's. I can't but give it a 10/10 hoping to find soon the other collection.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2017, 07:39:31 AM
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_SEgRJg7KOVk/TNLXPwlhtKI/AAAAAAAADvo/9iNLbm8KztE/s640/Spurs+West+-cov.jpg)
Any pulp fan knows very well the name of the editor of the pulp magazine Black Mask and probably even knows that he collected some stories from that american hard-boiled fiction arena in an anthology. But few, very few (in facts I never found it quoted in the dozens of essays in any form which quote him in some way), know he also collected this anthology of western fiction: this could happen only in internet times. How this collection came to be assembled is anybody's guess. At that time (1951) Shaw was a literary agent, having long gone abandoned the directorial desk of the magazine which made him famous and that  it was to fold in the same year. In spite of the good intentions explicated in the preface (you can read it here: http://davycrockettsalmanack.blogspot.it/2010/11/forgotten-books-spurs-west-edited-by.html), the level is quite uneven. At least 5-6 of the stories are mediocre; the 2 rodeo ones acceptable but too similar to other dozens of the genre. The Thompson story is probably the best one with the Haycox. The other two are good , but unoriginal, travel stories. 6/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Spikeopath on May 09, 2017, 07:51:51 AM
Currently reading "Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla" also purchased "William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times" and "Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre"


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 11, 2017, 10:52:56 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51J9ozX7y2L._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

A very good anthology (1975) for the high school divided into three parts: history, fiction and criticism. Apart from a miss (Zane Grey's Canyon Walls) the level of contributions varies from good to excellent. 9/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 13, 2017, 11:42:00 AM
Great Western Short Stories (1967) ed. by J. Golden Taylor

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41HksIAH2-L._SY373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

An excellent anthology of literary western literature. The problem with it is to understand what is meant by "western": stories set in the West, I'd say. That means that if you're looking for action stories you must steer away from it.  I was impressed though by a story by Van Tilburg Clark called Hook. If you can get ahold of it, read it. That story alone makes me give this one 9/10.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 21, 2017, 05:33:24 PM
(http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1407106187i/85222._UY400_SS400_.jpg)

I give this an undisputed 10/10. Sure, the quality of the 30 stories varies, but only from good to excellent. Each one of them possesses an originale twist or element which makes it interesting, the writing is never dull (and these are the very first things Leoinard ever published).


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 26, 2017, 03:55:08 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/SjcAAOSwHaBWidOO/s-l300.jpg)

The Mammoth Book of the Western.

Excellent anthology of literary and action stories. I give it 9/10 because a handful is vastly collected in previous releases.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on May 31, 2017, 10:37:13 PM
(https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1267282852i/7152564._UY200_.jpg)

Classic Cowboy Stories ed. by Michael McCoy (2004)

A good combination of both fact and fiction, with some very well known material and some more rare offer (see the moronic Cowboy Golf (!) by Zane Grey). All the stuff comes from late 19th early 20th century period.  Not a place to start from, but worth catching up with. 8/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on June 07, 2017, 03:57:04 AM
(https://img.fantasticfiction.com/images/t1/t5046.jpg)

The Arbor House Treasury of Great Western Stories

Excellent collection of both classic and newer (i.e. post IIWW) stories. One of the best of its kind, though it includes often printed items. But a good place to start from for those interested in the genre.  9/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on June 13, 2017, 01:43:08 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/514vJfmQZqL._SX371_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

The American West in Fiction ed. by Jon Tuska

This collection could be worthwhile if only for the introduction and the extensive prefaces to the single stories, very informative and competent.

The second edition, re-titled The American West (but careful: there's a reprint of the first edition by the same title(https://books.bibliopolis.com/books/images/clients/hartsfinebooks/320x600/5621.jpg)), is quite different from the former, as half the stories are different, so it is to be recommended as the former.



Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 18, 2017, 03:04:16 AM
Book review in The Wall Street Journal of “Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West," by Christopher Knowlton. Book review is by Stephen Harrigan

---

https://www.wsj.com/articles/from-open-range-to-closed-frontier-1496436056

From Open Range to Closed Frontier
The Old West’s “Beef Boom” lasted barely 25 years, but it gave us the cowboy forever. Stephen Harrigan reviews ‘Cattle Kingdom’ by Christopher Knowlton.

 ‘I wish that I had never heard of a horned beast.” So concluded the Earl of Rosslyn, a British investor in the 19th-century American cattle boom. He isn’t a major character in Christopher Knowlton’s lively and sweeping chronicle, but his disappointed summation leaps out of its pages with a familiar echo. In other eras, the earl might have wished that he had never heard of tulips, or dot-coms, or credit default swaps.

“Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West” touches the bases you might expect from its title, and Mr. Knowlton writes well about all the usual fun stuff: trail drives, rambunctious cow towns, gunfights and range wars. What makes it a “hidden history” is the way it enlists all these tropes in support of an intriguing thesis: that the romance of the Old West arose upon the swelling surface of a giant economic bubble.

The author’s most obvious debt is to Walter Prescott Webb, whose 1931 classic, “The Great Plains,” described the all-conquering technology—six-shooters, barbed wire, windmills—that carried white civilization west into what used to be known as the Great American Desert. Mr. Knowlton graciously acknowledges this debt by way of an epigraph quoting Webb: “To be a cowboy was adventure; to be a ranchman was to be a king.”

But “Cattle Kingdom” is “The Great Plains” by way of “The Big Short.” It tracks how the startlingly swift and near-complete extermination of the buffalo by hide-hunters in the 1870s resulted in the equally swift introduction of a grass-munching replacement: longhorn cattle, derived from the stock of Spanish conquistadors, that were driven north from Texas to satisfy a national demand for beef and sparked the brief golden age of the open range.

It was a sudden boom fueled by a frenzy of speculation, notably among 20-something American aristocrats and their landed, restless soulmates in the United Kingdom and Europe—all of them confidently expecting a reputed 33% return on their investment and eager to forge a bracing new identity in the rugged West.

“It was here the romance of my life began,” Mr. Knowlton quotes the young Theodore Roosevelt saying of his ranching days in the Dakota Territory. For a book like “Cattle Kingdom,” which tells its story in large part through interlocking character portraits, Roosevelt is unavoidable and irresistible. His health was low and, after losing his wife and mother on the same day, his spirit was shattered when he took a break from politics and followed his friends from the Harvard Porcellian Club west in 1884. He arrived with a bespoke buckskin suit, a custom-made bowie knife from Tiffany & Co. and a vocabulary that included such un-cowboy expressions as “Hasten forward there.” But after punching out a belligerent cowboy in a bar fight and daringly apprehending a gang of thieves, he was soon generally considered, to quote one of his Dakota friends, as “a fearless bugger.”

Roosevelt’s Badlands saga has been sung in multiple biographies. Less familiar are some of the other characters Mr. Knowlton deploys, like the blue-blooded Owen Wister (future author of “The Virginian”) or the unlikely French cattle baron (with “hooded, haughty eyes” and a waxed mustache) known as the Marquis de Morès. Perhaps most memorable is the British aristocrat and exquisitely hapless entrepreneur Moreton Frewen, aka “Mortal Ruin.” Frewen, who would become the uncle by marriage of Winston Churchill, impulsively decided that the outcome of a horse race would determine whether he should go to Ireland to become Master of the Kilkenny Hounds or cross the Atlantic to reinvent himself as an American cattle rancher. After his horse lost, he followed through and set sail, displaying such mismanagement and enduring such misfortune as a cattle baron that he went on to earn inclusion in a book titled “Studies in Sublime Failure.”

The bubble that he and Roosevelt and the marquis bought into with such elan began to burst around 1884 with declining beef prices, rising freight charges, and more and more cattle competing for the grass of the open range. Then there was the killing blow, the apocalyptic, blizzardy winter of 1886-87, known as the Big Die-Up. Roosevelt’s losses were representative—more than half of his herd perished. The Big Die-Up led not just to financial ruin among the cattle barons but, for the elite members of groups like the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, to homicidal desperation. One of the best chapters in “Cattle Kingdom” is its harrowing summary of the Johnson County War, sparked when the open-range gentry rose up to form a vigilante army to kill encroaching settlers and assassinate local sheriffs.

The kingdom they were protecting with such ferocity had been a short-lived but splendid one. There was so much of what Moreton Frewen called “dear vulgar money” in Cheyenne, Wyo., for instance, that according to Mr. Knowlton it had the highest median per capita income of any city in the world. “It wasn’t long before Cheyenne . . . had become one of those haunts of the wealthy,” he writes, “like Florence or Capri in Italy, Heiligendamm on the Baltic Sea, Nice on the French Riviera, or the hill stations of India, where the nineteenth-century idle rich freely indulged in their privileged lifestyle.” Mr. Knowlton notes that, in the 1880s, Cheyenne cattlemen “were dressing for dinner in black tie, smoking Cuban cigars, and quaffing French champagne and grand cru vintages.”

The days when cattle ranchers dressed for dinner in black tie are long gone, but in the author’s opinion the cattle kingdom represents more than a cultural legacy. It was the all-purpose incubator of modern America. The slaughterhouse automation that was invented to kill and process cattle led to the development of the assembly line and mass manufacturing. The joint-stock companies set up by English and Scottish investors in American beef paved the way for the hedge funds of today. Teddy Roosevelt’s experiences and the insights he gained in the West were crucial to the rise of the conservation movement. The search by an epidemiologist named Theobald Smith for the origins of the cattle disease known as Texas fever opened up new horizons in medicine.

The author drives this argument to the brink of exhaustion when, pondering our fascination with the figure of the cowboy, he posits “that a direct link connects vigilante justice on the open range and U.S. involvement in Vietnam, or Iraq, or most recently our vigilante-like drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere.” I sometimes wished that Mr. Knowlton hadn’t felt the need to think quite so hard, especially since his book otherwise coasts along just fine on the strength of his curiosity and storytelling ease.

And his empathy. He pauses to shed a tear not just for bankrupt land barons and bushwhacked settlers but for the real central players in the cattle-kingdom story: the cattle themselves. They sure had a hard journey on their way to a plate at Delmonico’s steakhouse—harried forward for thousands of freezing or parched miles, crowded into stock cars, bludgeoned to death by two-pointed hammers in Chicago slaughterhouses. The starving cattle that managed to survive the snows of the Big Die-Up “smashed their heads through the glass windows of ranch houses or tried to push through the doors; in their frantic hunger they ate the tarpaper off the sides of farm buildings.” Mr. Knowlton resists the temptation to chastise the past about animal rights from our supposedly more enlightened century, but he steadily, sneakily reminds us that, even as the cattle bubble was bursting and the shareholders were being thrown into ruin, it was their four-footed commodity that did the real suffering.

---
Stephen Harrigan is the author, most recently, of the novel “A Friend of Mr. Lincoln.” He is at work on a history of Texas.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 12, 2017, 07:50:28 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41-ww2MB4DL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Greatest Cowboy Stories Ever Told: Enduring Tales Of The Western Frontier

A combination of fiction and autobiography of uneven quality and which has the added minus of being made up of excerpts from whole books. I likes the Pecos Bill stories and the excerpt from Frank Harris' reminiscenses on which the Daves movie Cowboy was based. But then I'll have to buy the whole book. 6/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: cigar joe on July 12, 2017, 08:10:02 AM
Quote
Cowboy Stories
in Montana is a euphemism for bull shittin'.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 12, 2017, 11:00:15 AM
in Montana is a euphemism for bull shittin'.

I don't think that goes only for Montana.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 18, 2017, 04:51:17 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pImOFuw3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Louise Barnett - Touched By Fire

An excellent biography, giving a full picture of the times where Custer and his wife (as much a protagonist of the book as her husband) lived.  The debates on Custer's figure and his life won't ever end, but I presume, not being an expert though, this is the best book to start from. 10/10


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: Cusser on July 18, 2017, 06:48:25 AM
Not a book, but August/September issue of "Cowboys and Indians" magazine has Clint on the cover and an article about Clint, Leone, and the spaghetti westerns.   Mrs. Cusser bought a copy for me, she saw it at the grocery store.


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 18, 2017, 08:12:06 AM
an article about Clint, Leone, and the spaghetti westerns. 

Written by?


Title: Re: Western Books
Post by: titoli on July 19, 2017, 11:57:35 AM
(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/Xj4AAOSwB-1Y6c6j/s-l500.jpg)

A Century of Great Western Stories - ed. John Jakes

A good anthology with classic and newer material, including a not very good novel by Ed Gorman. In his intro Jakes confirms everybody's view  that the end of the western movie came with the appearance of Star Wars. 8/10