Top 10 Books About the West

There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book on a cozy, winter day. With the holidays behind us and a new year ahead, make a little time for yourself to unwind and regroup. Tales of the west are a good place to start. These books are often steeped in history, adventure and intrigue. Here, we turned to Goodreads, the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, for its top five fiction and non-fiction picks.

Top Five in Fiction

“Lonesome Dove” by Larry McNurty

This Pulitzer Prize winner is sure to grasp you from the start. You’ll get to know an unforgettable mix of heroes and outlaws, loose women and ladies, Indians and settlers. So, buckle up and get ready for a read to remember.

“True Grit” by Charles Portis

Made into a major motion picture, this is a tale of a daughter seeking revenge for her father’s death. She finds a surly old partner in crime to help her track down the despicable outlaw.

“Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West” by Cormac McCarthy

An epic novel that depicts the violence and depravity that accompanied America’s expansion into the west. It’s based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s.

“The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick deWitt

This story is a violent and lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850’s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy and grit of the Old West, and two brothers bound by blood, violence and love.

“All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy

The main character is the last of a long line of Texas ranchers who sets off with two companions to explore what’s across the border in Mexico. It’s idyllic, funny and tearful – all at once.

Top Five in Non-Fiction

“Son of the Morning Star: General Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn” by Evan S. Connell

Custer’s Last Stand is among the most enduring events in American history – 130 years after the fact, books continue to be written and people continue to argue about even the most basic details surrounding the Little Bighorn.

“Undaunted Courage: The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America’s Wild Frontier” by Stephen E. Ambrose

This is one of the great adventure stories of all time – the Lewis and Clark expedition – a recount of explorers in uncharted territory.

“Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches. The Most Powerful Indian Tribe in America” by S.C. Gwynne

A vivid account of the 40-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West” by Dee Brown

A fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century.

“Blood and Thunder” An Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides

A magnificent history of how the west was really won. Here, the Navajo tribe is at the center.

Have some top reads of your own to recommend? Please post in the comments below.  

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