Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday's Western: Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine

Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine occasionally devotes an issue to westerns, and the current issue is a fine example.

The works of western author David Lavender are discussed in detail in an article by Jerry Bartholomew, with pictures of dustjacket art and a listing of current market prices.  I had read Lavender's history of Bent's Fort, back when it won the Spur Award, but I had no idea that he had written so many other fine books, both history and fiction.  Lavender's work was lauded by A. B. Guthrie, jr., and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  He even wrote a rather conventional western novel under the pen name of Ralph Catlin.

Also in this issue is a long interesting article on Howard Fast's The Last Frontier (North Castle Books) , Mari Sandoz's Cheyenne Autumn: An American Epic, and John Ford's transformation of the history into film.

Back in February, 2008, Firsts devoted an issue to "The Books of Texas" and featured Elmer Kelton's The Time It Never Rained on the cover.  Inside are articles by Bill Hanrahan and Robin H. Smiley and on the works of Kelton, Benjamin Capps, John Graves, Gail Caldwell, and many others--some of them little known gems.

The September, 2010 issue featured works pertaining to George Armstrong Custer, the works of western novelist Ernest Haycox, and many other fine features.  The books-into-film segment in this issue was The Stalking Moon based upon a book by that sadly neglected author of western novels, Theodore V. Olsen.  The life  and other works of T. V. Olsen are also discussed.

Firsts can sometimes be ordered from Amazon, and you can directly subscribe or order back issues from their website, at this link.

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