What's the best Louis L'Amour Western?
February 3, 2006 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I've got a Comstock Lode-size folder of electronic Louis L'Amour Western novels. Which one should I begin with? I haven't read any of his books and I'd like to start off on the right hoof.
posted by soiled cowboy to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've only read a couple--I haven't had the luck to acquire such a folder (where would one acquire something like that anyway?)--but I thought Silver Canyon was pretty good.
posted by fidelity at 1:34 PM on February 3, 2006

Response by poster: where would one acquire something like that anyway?

One (not this one, of course) could click here. But I wouldn't advocate that.
posted by soiled cowboy at 2:00 PM on February 3, 2006

Best answer: Some modern readers consider L'Amour's writing too clich├ęd, but this view discounts his extraordinary longevity as an author... he birthed many of the constructs critics accuse him of appropriating, or was at least the first to use them to great effect in the Western milieu.

For example, you can read The Sackett Brand for the quintessential western revenge story, written years before the release of Eastwood's Unforgiven.

One of the best-kept secrets of L'Amour's work, however, is his proficiency in non-western settings; particularly England and America in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, where a blade was often a surer weapon than a firearm.

My favorite L'Amour stories, Fair Blows the Wind, Sacketts Land, and To the Far Blue Mountains, are set in this time period.
posted by The Confessor at 2:39 PM on February 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

the confessor's right--but forgot about 'the walking drum'. If you want to read westerns, start with 'the first fast draw'. if you want swordplay, nothing beats 'fair blows the wind'. 'sackett's land' is also a good novel to start.
posted by lester at 2:55 PM on February 3, 2006

Best answer: You can just about pick up any of his books and enjoy them. His earlier stuff tends to be pretty simple... fast reads, but fun. Later he got more sophisticated, but I believe he always thought of himself as a teller-of-yarns more than a writer-of-stories.

I've never read anything by him that I didn't like. The two that I enjoyed the most were probably Comstock Lode and The Walking Drum (one of his last.) And the Sackett stories are probably his signature line... I believe there are 13 Sackett books. Amazon should have the series listed in order so you know where to start, if it's not obvious from the books themselves. I think the Sacketts are a good series to read in order... start at the first, and go to the last.

Fun books... you've gotten yourself a treasure! Enjoy. :)
posted by Malor at 7:33 PM on February 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you happen'd to acquire Smoke From This Altar, read it. It is unlike anything else published under the Louis Lamour banner. What is it? A book of poetry. And it is amazing.

So if your Comstock Lode doesn't contain it, go buy it.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:57 PM on February 3, 2006

Many of my books on readers' advisory suggest readers new to Louis read Hondo.
posted by AlexanderBanning at 9:11 PM on February 3, 2006

Keep "Hondo" near the end of your reading list. Hondo is not as good as most of his books. Too much macho ego of the author showing through.

I have read about thirty of his novels . Most of them are good.

I have just finished reading one called "Galloway" (one of the Sacketts stories) . I think it is a good start.

LAmour and Dick Francis are the only two English writers whose books I will bother to read again and may be again.

I miss authors like them. Now you have Dan Brown (bad writing but good plot) , and worse, James Frey.

I have a lot of ebooks by Dan Brown, John Grisham, etc . I am interested to trade some of them with your Louis LAmour collection.

Please let me know by sending me an email.
posted by studentguru at 4:48 AM on February 4, 2006

I liked The Lonesome Gods, even though it has it's critics. Handles the Indians in a less than stereotypical fashion.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:09 AM on February 4, 2006

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