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Charles Wheeler "Traditional Westerns Forever" RSS Feed (The Hills of Indiana)
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The Young Forester: & The Young Pitcher
The Young Forester: & The Young Pitcher
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Forest Ranger and Baseball Player--Ken Ward, February 15, 2015
Content only: The Young Forester is one of Zane Grey's "Ken Ward" books for boys, but don't let that deter you from buying it. It has all the flavor and tenor of any Zane Grey book with its descriptive quality and its action sequences as Ken gets into all kinds of trouble in Arizona riding mustangs, hunting bears, and lions in the Grand Canyon and vicinity. He meets many "characters" along the way who help educate him to the ways of the West. This is a great book of outdoor adventure for the young and the young at heart, and fills out any Zane Grey collection. Enjoy it for what it is and appreciate it as you would any of his books, and watch as a master story teller learns his craft in one of his early works. Highly recommended. The Young Pitcher is the first of the Ken Ward books Zane Grey wrote. He modeled Ken after himself, as ZG was an exceptional baseball player, and the frantic episodes which actually occurred during the league play of the 1880s in Ohio when nearly every town of any size had its own team. Rivalry knew no borders and no bounds; it was "to the victor goes the spoils" no matter how you won, by hook or crook it didn't matter as long as your team won. Fans were really fanatics back then when it came to baseball and the home town. What actually prevented Zane Grey from becoming an even more successful pitcher was the change in distance from the mound to home-plate. After the change from 55 feet to 60 feet 6 inches Zane could never re-master his curve ball which was his stock and trade, so he was forced to go to the outfield and play; and he did quite well out in the field. His brother, Reddy, was a pro-player for a couple of years. This book relates many of his experiences as a player in the early year of baseball as told through the character Ken Ward. Any little leaguer would love this book. Perhaps if ZG's "books for boys" as these were called would be made available in school libraries today, our country and our world would be a better place to live. These books instill values still needed today.


The Young Lion Hunter: Pearl Necklace Books
The Young Lion Hunter: Pearl Necklace Books
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Ward: The Boy We'd All Like to Be, February 15, 2015
Content Only: The Young Lion Hunter is Ken Ward at his best in the Grand Canyon helping capture mountain lions or cougars. This novel is the fictionalized telling of Zane Grey's first visit to the Canyon with Buffalo Jones in 1907 which furnished him with enough material to write his first western, The Heritage of the Desert. Harpers liked ZG's boys' books about Ken Ward, but really did not encourage him in any other fashion, even though he had submitted other books to them and they had resoundedly rejected them. Still, he kept trying because Harpers was THE publishing house. Ken encounters mustangs he must ride, a pack of hounds the likes of which he had never seen before, Native Americans who he comes to appreciate with a new awareness, and landscape so wild and primitive it takes the breath away. A marvelous treatise of how the West still was an hundred years ago. Great book! Ken Ward in the Jungle is a fictionalized re-telling of an adventure Zane Grey experienced for himself in Mexico in 1910 as he searched for the source of the Santa Rosa River whose origin was unknown. He and his companions encountered wild boar, 10 foot long snakes, jaguars, and innumerable bugs the likes of which they had never seen which bit and stung and caused fevers and chills. This was probably the most difficult journey Zane Grey ever undertook of all the treks he made around the world. The river was a raging torrent besides being interlaced with numerous waterfalls and rapids, many of which they had to portage around through dense tropical jungle. Years later Zane Grey would write about it in fuller detail in a story entitled Down a Jungle River in one of his fishing/adventure books, Tales of Southern Rivers. This was the 4th Ken Ward book in the series.


Light of the Western Stars
Light of the Western Stars
by Zane Grey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.99
16 used & new from $5.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Sophisticate Meets New Mexican Western Man, February 15, 2015
This review is only about the content of the novel and not the physical book itself--quality and the like. The Light of Western Stars is one of my favorite Zane Grey romances. And when easterner Madeline Hammond gets off the train near midnight and things begin to happen right away, you know that this is going to be a good one. Gene Stewart, the other half of the romance is a man's man with the traditional western values but who has at first kind of lost his way because of drinking too much. But that gets straightened out through the love of a woman. The cast of characters includes some cowboys, old time cowboys, you will never forget. There's an animal, a magnificent horse, in the story; an automobile, driven by a cowboy who loves to go fast and scare his passengers, and this plays a vital role in the climax of the story as only ZG can describe and tell it. This is another of his books which take place in contemporary times, written when these events were playing themselves out along the US-Mexico border. This is another of his books which is told primarily from the woman's perspective and would indeed appeal to the female reader; it's NOT a bang, bang shoot'em up with street duels and impossible violence, but realistic characters and events. It's a great book for anyone to enjoy, a historical romance set in the West; not a "western". Buy it.


Thge Lost Wagon Train
Thge Lost Wagon Train
by Zane Grey
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars No Sympathy From Me, February 13, 2015
This review is from: Thge Lost Wagon Train (Hardcover)
These Collier editions with orange boards and the embossed horse on the cover are quite collectable. They date from the 1930's and 40's. About the story: I'm sorry, but this is one Zane Grey book I do not like. I have only managed to read the entire thing just one time. It's boring; it's flat; it's unbelievable. Stephen Latch, the main character, is not some one you can have any sympathy for, or at least be able to think, well, maybe, perhaps; or even have any mercy for. I'm not some one to criticize an author for what he writes because I know he has something he wants to say, or an opinion; but I just don't understand what Zane Grey was doing with this book. My advice is skip it, and pick a better one and then come back to this one. I know not every book an author creates is perfect, or great; Zane Grey just missed this time out.


Majesty's Ranchero
Majesty's Ranchero
by Zane Grey
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from $19.00

5.0 out of 5 stars His Daughter's Ranch, February 13, 2015
This review is from: Majesty's Ranchero (Hardcover)
I am looking at my set of Walter J. Black editions as I write this review. In this the sequel to The Light of Western Stars written twenty years earlier, we are introduced to Madge Stewart, the daughter of Gene Stewart and Madeline Hammond, the hero and heroine of TLofWS. She is a fun-loving, "modern" girl that trouble always seems to find, and Lance Sidway, an ex-Hollywood hopeful because of his great horse, Umpqua; he himself shied away from being an actor, and he hated doubling for the "handsome Apollos" of the silver screen. This novel has gangsters and kidnappers, and cattle thieves who use trucks--just like those good old Gene Autry movies I love to watch. Is the book dated? Yes, somewhat, by the exaggerated slang ZG uses, and for which in later years he was harshly criticized, but overall this is a good book, a very readable one, an enjoyable time with the written word as only Zane Grey can produce. And these WJB editions will last through repeated readings; but I still don't know how you tell when they were published other than the band widths at the top of the spine--the oldest ones have a narrow band; those published in the circa 1960's have a slightly wider one; and the last ones produced circa 1970's an even wider band. How else they can be told I don't know; I wish someone could tell me. My set has all three widths but most of them are the widest ones.


The Earthbreakers
The Earthbreakers
by Ernest Haycox
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from $1.59

5.0 out of 5 stars They Broke New Ground in Oregon, February 12, 2015
This review is from: The Earthbreakers (Hardcover)
My copy is also an Sears Readers Club edition, but does not have the drawings as depicted in the picture of the advertized book. Different printing? I have no idea. But I do know this book is 405 pages of small print that keep you turning the pages until you reach the final one. A great historical novel, not a western. With this novel Ernest Haycox became a legend in the publishing business. That is not to say he was not already considered one of the best writers in the world. But here he puts together everything he had hoped to accomplish as a writer--in-depth characters, great accomplishments by these characters, conflict, co-operation, set amidst the back drop of a country wild and free. If the openning pages of this book do not grab hold of you and make you want to read the rest, then I don't know what would. Rice Burnett is one of the most complicated personages you will ever want to meet, and George Collingwood an apt counterpart. There are two women to add in the mix as well, Edna, and Katherine--which will Rice choose? This is a sprawling epic, some of which is predictable, and some not as Ernest Haycox has a way of putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and extricates them as only he can do it. This is one book not to miss, if you love historical novels filled with lots of characters.


The Adventurers by Ernest Haycox Hardback 1954
The Adventurers by Ernest Haycox Hardback 1954
by Ernest Haycox
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars They Came to Make Homes, February 12, 2015
I have this exact same book and have had for 30 years--mylar dust jacket and all. Been read many times too. The Adventurers is the kind of novel Ernest Haycox had wanted to write from the time he began his literary career. Sadly, he died before he could write any more about the land he loved so well--the Great Northwest. This book, along with The Earthbreakers are testament to the genius he was when it came to putting words on paper so the average person could feel, and experience his characters as they struggled to find their way through life. It was Haycox's strength of inner personality, and ocassional violent action which separates him from the run of the mill western writer, and helped to make westerns acceptable reading. Building a town, creating a community, a place described on the dust jacket of some of his other works as 'Haycox Country' is an apt description of this book. I heartily endorse it; it's a great read.


Stagecoach
Stagecoach
by Ernest Haycox
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
3 used & new from $7.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Harsh Land the Coach Went, February 12, 2015
This review is from: Stagecoach (Mass Market Paperback)
I am looking at this exact edition of this book as I write this review. I have had it for more than thirty years and it still looks good--no foxing nor yellowing of pages, and the print is still quite dark. As to the stories in this volume: Stage to Lordsburg was the story the movie Stagecoach was taken from which made John Wayne a star in 1939. Yet you will not find the "Ringo Kid" in the short story. The character is called Malpais Bill. The whiskey drummer is there, the gambler, an Englishman, a cattleman, the shady lady, and the army girl, and the main plot line. Yet one can "see" how this story affected the screenwriter as he composed his screenplay. The other eight stories take you into "Haycox Country" as only he could do--accurate to description and history; filled with boldness and danger at every turn of the trail--an untamed land. The hard back edition is titled By Rope and Lead, so you get the idea of how harsh this country was on law breakers and "bad" men. You want be disappointed in this book of stories.


Guns Up (Center Point Western Complete (Large Print))
Guns Up (Center Point Western Complete (Large Print))
by Ernest Haycox
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from $7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars The Feud Had to End or Everyone Would Die, February 12, 2015
I cannot comment on the large print edition of this book, but this is the contents: The bloody Boadley-Champifer feud had gone on for years, but on one hot morning it seemed as though it was about to come to an end--in the bloodiest battle of them all. This is not my favorite Haycox short novel, but it has its moments; and still, it is Ernest Haycox, and better than anything being published today.


The Mysterious Rider (Zane Grey Classic American Westerns Book 13)
The Mysterious Rider (Zane Grey Classic American Westerns Book 13)
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Stranger and a Life Renewed, February 12, 2015
I cannot comment on the delivery system as I do not own an e-reader. I still believe in physical books. But the two novels involved are as follows: The Mysterious Rider perhaps would have been better titled, Beauty and the Beast, and I am not in any way being disparaging. Zane Grey used the same type of plot lines for many of his books, and then added an extra character to bring the book to its logical conclusion. A young girl, the adopted daughter of a wealthy rancher, is forced to marry the rancher's no-good, drunk of a son, while the young girl loves another cowboy as different from the son as could possibly be--a similar scenario is found in Heritage of the Desert. But here a "mysterious stranger" is on the scene to make things right. And we can all guess who this "mysterious stranger" is, can't we? If you can't guess, I'm not going to tell you and ruin the book. Still, having said that, this book is a good Zane Grey romance told as only the master of historical romance could tell it, and worth reading--even more than once. Perhaps, with the exception of Riders of the Purple Sage, Heritage of the Desert is the best western Zane Grey ever wrote. It combines every thing one expects to find in the genre, and then adds a little bit more you don't expect to find. It is the basic story of a young man, John Hare, who has come west to regain his health and to find his place in life only to be branded "Dene's spy" and becomes a hunted man. There is the Mormon element, only in this book they receive favorable treatment by Zane Grey; there are animal heros; a faithful Indian companion to the heroine, a half-Indian girl, Mescal; rustlers and land thieves; a favored son gone bad; and the canyon country of Utah described as only the master detailer can depict it in all of its glory and spendor. With this book Zane Grey set the standard by which he himself had to live up to with each succeeding novel, and HE DID. P.S. There is also an unexpurgated version of Heritage titled Desert Heritage in hardback available.


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