What Are Some Well-Reviewed Western Books?


Quick Answer

Some well-reviewed Western novels include John Williams’ “Butcher’s Crossing,” Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” and Larry McMurty’s “Lonesome Dove.” These popular Western novels also received substantial critical acclaim.

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Full Answer

John Williams’ novel “Butcher’s Crossing” tells the story of a 19th-century Harvard dropout who, inspired by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, heads west in search of a connection to nature. Winding up in the tiny Kansas town of Butcher’s Crossing, Will Andrews takes up with a crew of buffalo hunters who journey to Colorado in search of herds to hunt. Snowed in during the course of their expedition, the novel unfolds as the men confront their inner demons.

Cormac McCarthy’s 1985 novel “Blood Meridian” is one of the most acclaimed Westerns of its time, winning comparisons to the works of Herman Melville and William Faulkner. Focusing on the exploits of a violent gang hunting Native Americans for scalps along the Texas-Mexico border, this violent, deeply philosophical novel introduces readers to The Judge, one of the most notable villains in recent fiction.

Larry McMurty’s “Lonesome Dove” is an archetypal Western tale that won the Pulitzer Prize and spawned a succession of television miniseries. Following the adventures of a group of retired Texas Rangers driving a cattle herd from Texas to Montana, the novel combines romance, adventure and historical detail into an all-encompassing Western.

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