The best books to generate interest in the Western genre

Bob Giel Author Of Shawnee: The Adventure Begins
By Bob Giel

Who am I?

I have a life-long love of Westerns. I’ve researched the period and the events extensively. One of the first things I look for in any book I read is period accuracy. The books I write are historically accurate, though they are fiction. I’m on a mission, through my writing, to save the Western genre.

I wrote...

Shawnee: The Adventure Begins

By Bob Giel,

Book cover of Shawnee: The Adventure Begins

What is my book about?

Sixteen-year-old Lon Pearce has lost both parents at the hands of local business owner, Carl Teverence. Grief-stricken, he heads into town, half-cocked and ready to take vengeance—only things don’t work out as planned. Teverence and his men see him coming and turn the tables on him. Lucky to escape with his life, alone and hunted, Lon takes to a long and lonely trail. Now known only as Shawnee, he embarks on a journey to learn the skills needed to exact his revenge. Along the way, he lends a hand to those in need—even when it forces him further outside the law.

The books I picked & why

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Riders of the Purple Sage

By Zane Grey,

Book cover of Riders of the Purple Sage

Why this book?

This was the first Western I read when I was young. It made an impression on me, not only as a Western, but as a classic story of good and evil with sharply drawn characters that make it come alive to the reader. Grey’s writing puts the reader right in the middle of every scene. And it has an ending you don’t see coming, but one that fits perfectly.

Riders of the Purple Sage

By Zane Grey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Riders of the Purple Sage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Monte Walsh

By Jack Schaefer,

Book cover of Monte Walsh

Why this book?

Essentially this is an homage to the American Cowboy as it tells of his demise as a lifestyle. While some say this one’s hard to read because of its episodic format, I found it the ideal setting for telling the background of the Cowboy’s life and times. Life doesn’t happen in such a structured way as most stories depict. As Monty fights against the progress that will consume him, the reader sees its inevitability. Lament it if you will, it’s a forward-moving engine that will not be stopped.

Monte Walsh

By Jack Schaefer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Monte Walsh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1963, Monte Walsh continues to delight readers as a Western classic and popular favorite. The novel explores the cowboy lives of Monte Walsh and Chet Rollins as they carouse, ride, and work at the Slash Y with Cal Brennan. As the West changes and their cowboy antics are challenged, the two must part ways to pursue new ways of life. Chet marries and goes on to become a successful merchant and then a politician, while Monte can only find solace in continuing the cowboy's way of life until the very end.


The Man from Laramie

By T.T. Flynn,

Book cover of The Man from Laramie

Why this book?

Classic tale of revenge that transcends the Western genre, yet it fits the genre perfectly. Taut, descriptive narrative adds to sharply drawn, larger-than-life characters playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with a hero who refuses to yield, no matter what is done to him. It all leads up to the solution of a mystery that explodes with boundless, brutal action. It’s one you won’t be able to put down until the end.

The Man from Laramie

By T.T. Flynn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man from Laramie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It’s clear to Will Lockhart that no one in Coronado wants a stranger in town, but he’s traveled a thousand miles through dangerous Apache territory to avenge his brother and no matter what they do to try to run him out, he won’t leave without justice.


Del Rio

By Michael Lee,

Book cover of Del Rio

Why this book?

A new book by a new writer, this is one I had an editing hand in, and one I’ve come to love. It’s a gripping coming-of-age novel set in the 1840s against the backdrop of the vast push west. Both a personal story of a young man forced to survive in a violent land, and an epic story of wagons west along the Oregon Trail, it grabs the reader from the get-go and holds on to the very end. There are as many twists and turns to this tale as were present in the trail west itself.

Del Rio

By Michael Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Del Rio as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

In the bitter Christmas cold of a Maryland winter, Delaino Riodan, orphaned heir to the Conlan family fortune, finally decides that enough is enough and flees the clutches of his abusive family. With him are the only two friends he’s ever known—Tucker, a family slave, and Raj, an exquisitely-trained stallion Del stole from his grandfather’s stables. Together they head west in search of Delaino’s long-lost father, Daniel, and the promise of life and liberty on the far end of the famed Oregon Trail. Drunk on the hope and enthusiasm…


Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

By Elmore Leonard,

Book cover of Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

Why this book?

While this is a short story, not a novel, it is, in my opinion, the quintessential psychological Western. Depicting the struggle of an ordinary man saddled with extraordinary tasks, to maintain his honor and his values in the face of temptation, it delves into the minds of the two participants, and takes the reader on a wild ride as they wait for the train. Tension you could cut with a knife replaces action, keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat until the end.

Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times-bestselling Grand Master of suspense deftly displays the other side of his genius, with seven classic western tales of destiny and fatal decision . . . and trust as essential to survival as it is hard-earned.

Trust was rare and precious in the wide-open towns that sprung up like weeds on America's frontier—with hustlers and hucksters arriving in droves by horse, coach, wagon, and rail, and gunmen working both sides of the law, all too eager to end a man's life with a well-placed bullet. In these classic tales that span more than five decades—including the first…


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