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Great Stories of the American West: Nineteen Tales of the Frontier by

Great Stories of the American West: Nineteen Tales of the Frontier by

by Martin H. Greenberg, John D. McDonald (With), John Jakes (With)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An unexpected novella by Ed Gorman that deftly blends the crime and western genres anchors this adequate follow-up to Greenberg's 1994 anthology Great Stories of the American West I. The 17 other stories here come from sources both predictable and unlikely. Expectedly, Bret Harte is represented, with the masterful ``The Idyl of Red Gulch,'' about a proper schoolmarm and her intriguing and ambiguous relationship with the inhabitants of Red Gulch, especially one pupil, and so is Owen Wister (The Virginian), who shows up with ``Timberline,'' a tale of violence and unsolved murder. Also on hand are Louis L'Amour, Jack London and Stephen Crane, with his familiar ``Blue Hotel,'' a yarn of gambling, grudges and death. On the other hand, Erle Stanley Gardner, remembered almost exclusively for his Perry Mason mysteries, is represented by ``Singing Sand,'' and John Jakes, the godfather of epic historicals about the American Revolution, shows his roots in standard genre fiction in ``The Naked Gun.'' Mark Twain leavens the mix with criticism, a viciously funny assault on ``Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses'' in the Deerslayer, with Twain finding Cooper guilty of 114 artistic crimes out of a possible 115. Given its eccentricities, this volume is better suited to those already enamored of this peculiarly American art form than to those seeking an introduction to its pleasures. (Feb.) ~ Mystery
Wes Lukowsky
The recent resurgence of the western in film and literature has led to a revival of interest in the western short story. Like its predecessor, this second in a series from veteran anthologist Greenberg brings together a group of fine stories, many written by authors known for their work in the mystery genre. Marcia Muller, Loren D. Estleman, Bill Pronzini, and Ed Gorman are among the contemporary authors here, sitting shoulder to shoulder with Mark Twain, Jack London, and Louis L'Amour. Highlights include Evan Hunter's "Killing at Triple Tree," in which the most vocal advocate of a lynching reveals himself; Muller's "Sweet Cactus Wine," in which a desert widow handles an unsavory suitor; and Hamlin Garland's touching "The Return of a Private," an everyman tale of the hard but welcome life awaiting returning Civil War vets. Toss in a typically rousing L'Amour tale, "War Party," for a thoroughly satisfying collection.

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Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.24(w) x 6.72(h) x 1.05(d)

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