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Larry McMurtry, in books like The Last Picture Show, has depicted the modern degeneration of the myth of the American West. The subject ofLonesome Dove, cowboys herding cattle on a great trail-drive, seems like the very stuff of that cliched myth, but McMurtry bravely tackles the task of creating meaningful literature out of it. At first the novel seems the kind of anti-mythic, anti-heroic story one might expect: the main protagonists are a drunken and inarticulate pair of former Texas Rangers turned horse rustlers. Yet when the trail begins, the story picks up an energy and a drive that makes heroes of these men. Their mission may be historically insignificant, or pointless--McMurtry is smart enough to address both possibilities--but there is an undoubted valor in their lives. The result is a historically aware, intelligent, romantic novel of the mythic west that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Not Your Everyday Cattle Drive!!! This book is set in the Old Wild West as many of the author's are. The reader is introduced to Captain Woodrow Call and his friend Gus Mc Crae who are both former Texas Rangers. The two of them leave the one horse town of Lonesome Dove and begin a cattle drive to Canada. Along the way they encounter various characters who are all very memorable particularly an educated Rancher by the name of Wilbarger who likes to read such Classics as Milton.There are over 300 characters in this book and Mr. McMurtry makes every one of them believable. It came as no great surprise to me that he won the Pulitzer Prize for this novel back in 1986. This book is a wondrous Epic of times past and Mr. McMurtry invokes the Spirit Of The Old West with a skilled hand. This book is compulsive reading.
Overstays its welcome by about 200 pages You won't find a better relationship in any book than Gus and Call, and it's these characters that carry the book through it's lulls and oddly placed Hollywood moments. I've seen this book described as 'magnificent' and for the most part it is, I just didn't enjoy any of the romance. Granted it doesn't get much more romantic than the idealistic cross-country cattle drive, and of course a love story belongs in an epic tale such as this, but I just found myself drifting off when the women began taking center stage. This book is at it's best when the testosterone kicks up and the men become men and the women become collateral.Great writing from a writer with insight LONESOME DOVE grabbed me right from the start. The reader is part of the action in a way that is rarely felt while reading a book. The first chapters are wonderful character developers and intertain us along the way. Gus Mcrae and Woodrow F Call are of course the heart and soul of the story, but Newt,Deets,Pea-Eye and Jake Spoon help to make up one of the most colorful casts that has ever been on paper. The great thing that Mr. McMurty was able to do, was to give us so many characters and not one time bore us while we get to know them. The book has a nice mellow start with Gus and the pigs, and this reader was lulled into just enjoying an old Texas Rangers perspective on life. That the book would take off and drag us on such an epic journey was mind boggeling. The description of the geography in the beginning was not compromised in any of the following chapters,and enriched the wonderful cast of characters and story lines. The vast plots and sub-plots were all tied neatly together in the end, and the ones that needed to be cut loose were done so with class. With great writing that you'll find in the books of Jackson McCrae (BARK OF THE DOGOOD) and expert pacing that can be compared to his STREETS OF LAREDO, this is one of the finest books I have ever read, and if anyone deserver a Pulitzer for their work it was Larry McMurtry. And he got it.