100 books like The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard

By Elmore Leonard,

Here are 100 books that The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard fans have personally recommended if you like The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Sharpe's Tiger

Colin Falconer Author Of When We Were Gods

From my list on historical adventures that are colourful and pacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up devouring old Classics Illustrated comics. By the time I was 12, I’d read all the great adventure stories from H. Rider Haggard to Jules Verne. My childhood obsession became my career. My research has taken me down the Silk Road, into the jungles of Mexico and the mountains of the high Atlas, and following opium caravans through the Golden Triangle. I’ve now written more than twenty novels of historical adventure that have been translated into 25 languages.

Colin's book list on historical adventures that are colourful and pacy

Colin Falconer Why did Colin love this book?

This prequel to the Sharpe series covers the eponymous hero’s adventures in India at the siege of Seringapatam before the Peninsular War. For me, Cornwell’s books are a perfect mix of history and breathless action. This one even features a cameo from Wellington. If only they’d let me read this in history at school, I might have stayed awake more often. Cornwell pays great attention to historical detail, and if he messes with it, he does it deliberately. There are sumptuous palaces, epic battle scenes, rockets exploding, and people getting eaten by tigers. There’s also the deliciously nasty Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. What’s not to love? 

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sharpe's Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The brand new novel, SHARPE'S ASSASSIN, is available to pre-order now*

Sharpe's Tiger is the brilliant beginning of Sharpe's adventures

India, 1799

The citadel of Seringapatam is under siege. Navigating this dangerous kingdom of bejewelled palaces and poverty, Private Richard Sharpe embarks on a rescue mission to save a senior officer from the clutches of the Tippoo of Mysore - and oust the Sultan from his throne.

The fortress of Mysore is considered impregnable, but one of the greatest threats comes from betrayal within the British ranks. And the man to outwit enemies from both sides is Sharpe . .…

Book cover of Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Sean Gabhann Author Of Harper's Donelson

From my list on heroic epics escaping into conflicts of the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Epic war novels follow traditions that trace to the earliest civilizations. An amateur historian since high school, I would nook away for hours reading the great campaigns of the past. As a combat veteran, I still love diving into a lengthy tome about Caesar versus the Gauls or the heroic Russian stand at Borodino. Retirement provided the time to indulge this passion by concentrating on the Western Theater of the American Civil War (ACW), an interest I have researched since the ACW Centennial. I enjoy writing rigorously researched stories to give more accurate descriptions of the events, attitudes, prejudices, and consequences of this critical period in American history.

Sean's book list on heroic epics escaping into conflicts of the past

Sean Gabhann Why did Sean love this book?

This was the first series of heroic historical fiction I ever read. Forester’s narratives had the power to pull me into the stories as if I was serving alongside Horatio Hornblower.

The series follows the exploits of seventeen-year-old Midshipman Hornblower in 1794 as he rises in rank and responsibilities to flag rank by 1815. During the course of the series, we watch Hornblower mature from an unsure, bookish teenager to become a self-confident and bold commander. Forester’s ability to meld true historical events and personages into his narratives captured me from the start and is a quality that I strive to accomplish in my own writing. I read these books decades ago and still keep them on my bookshelf for when I need inspiration or want to understand how Forester resolved certain authorly issues.

By C. S. Forester,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Mr. Midshipman Hornblower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join young Horatio Hornblower in the thrilling naval adventure from the author of The Good Shepherd, now a major-motion picture starring Tom Hanks

'A joyous creation, a perfection in words. Young Hornblower is, simply, one of the most complete creations of character in fiction' Conn Iggulden, The Independent

1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Midshipman Horatio Hornblower receives his first command . . .

As a seventeen-year-old with a touch of sea sickness, young Horatio Hornblower hardly cuts a dash in His Majesty's navy.

Yet from the moment he is ordered to board a French merchant ship…

Book cover of Master and Commander

Tristan Nettles Author Of The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale

From my list on books to read when living on a small island.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading, mostly due to a speech impediment that left me awkward and shy. I was lucky enough to experience world travel at a young age. My parents' divorce set me on a different path. Five middle schools and seven high schools later, I volunteered as a Marine Corps infantryman. I left the USA in 2015 to travel the world, from Micronesia to Nepal to Honduras and even Ukraine, where I fought with the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. 

Tristan's book list on books to read when living on a small island

Tristan Nettles Why did Tristan love this book?

This book is the penultimate adventure story set on the high seas during the Napoleonic Wars. The characters are expertly made and presented around a plot line that takes every pain to stay true to the truth of past events while still offering the reader a series of novels that will keep even the greenest of landlubbers glued to their seats.

By Patrick O'Brian,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Master and Commander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of a life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

Book cover of The Broken Gun

Thomas Leo Ogren Author Of Cowboys Don't Shoot Magpies

From my list on that are packed with action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am best known for my books on allergies and horticulture. But my first love was always writing fiction, and the first two books I ever sold, were both novels. I know a lot about exciting historical novels because I’ve read so many of them. I read; I don’t watch TV. I love history, and historical fiction that has good, strong characters that I can give a hoot about. And I love books that are full of action, where something exciting is always happening or just about to. A plug: I believe I’ve now written some books myself that fit that bill.

Thomas' book list on that are packed with action

Thomas Leo Ogren Why did Thomas love this book?

The Broken Gun has one of the tightest plots of any of the many Western novels from the late, great Louis L’Amour. L’Amour’s Westerns are almost all set in the mid-1800s. His good guys are good, and his bad guys bad. His books are all fun, easy to read, full of action, and keep you turning the pages. Some readers think Louis L’Amour was a 2nd rate writer…but he knew what he was doing & literally millions of folks have loved his books. Many, like myself, have read all of his Westerns, some of them several times. When I go camping I always toss in a few of his paperbacks. When it’s too windy to fish, I kick back and re-read a Louis L’Amour Western. Always fun.

By Louis L'Amour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ninety years ago the Toomey brothers, along with twenty-five other men and four thousand head of cattle, vanished en route to Arizona. When writer and historian Dan Sheridan is invited to the missing brothers’ ranch by its current owner, he jumps at the chance. The visit fits right in with his plan to solve the century-old mystery—but it turns out that his host isn’t a fan of books, writers, or people who don’t mind their own business.

Soon Dan is living the dangers of the Old West firsthand—tracked through the savage wilderness by vicious killers straight out of the most…

Book cover of The Hanging Tree and Other Stories

Steve Hockensmith Author Of Holmes on the Range

From my list on Westerns that will take you to the frontier.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I grew up with a fondness for Western movies thanks to my John Wayne-loving dad, I never seriously explored the genre until I began writing my Holmes on the Range mystery series. What I discovered when I began regularly reading books about the West took me a bit by surprise: I loved them! Since then I’ve read dozens of history books, novels, and short story collections that bring the Old West to life.

Steve's book list on Westerns that will take you to the frontier

Steve Hockensmith Why did Steve love this book?

Once upon a time, writers could make a good living selling short stories to American magazines. Those days are almost as long gone now as the Wild West. But the stories live on…provided you find the right used book store. First published in 1957, The Hanging Tree and Other Stories collects some of the best work by a prolific specialist in short fiction about the frontier: Dorothy M. Johnson. Years before Little Big Man, she was writing sympathetically and convincingly about Native Americans. Her stories could also be funny, thrilling, and surprising. It’s no wonder Hollywood turned to her for inspiration so often: The classic Westerns The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and A Man Called Horse are based on Johnson stories.

By Dorothy M. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hanging Tree and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title story, The Hanging Tree, is based on a true episode in Montana's gold-mining past. Three amazing characters meet: the cynical Doc Frail; the boy robber named Rune, whom Doc saves and enslaves; and Elizabeth, the young easterner who survives an Indian assault and comes under the care of Doc and Rune. In the gold-mining camp of Skull Creek Elizabeth becomes the mysterious Lucky Lady. A vigorous, psychological western, The Hanging Tree was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper. The stories in this book consolidate Dorothy M. Johnson's reputation for authenticity and artistic integrity. "Lost Sister" is based…

Book cover of Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917

Laurie Marr Wasmund Author Of My Heart Lies Here

From my list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in the American West, I have watched the explosive growth in Colorado with dismay. In my lifetime, metro Denver has grown from a population of about 500,000 people to more than 5.5 million. The Colorado of large ranches and wide, open spaces is disappearing. I have named my publishing company “lost ranch books,” in honor of the ranch where I grew up, which was sold and developed with cookie-cutter houses. I’ve now set out to recapture historic Colorado by writing about it. My award-winning books center on Colorado’s and the American West’s history, for not only is it fascinating and, often, troubling, but it still resonates today.

Laurie's book list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”

Laurie Marr Wasmund Why did Laurie love this book?

Punke’s book chronicles a story of heroism and company greed that isn’t that far in the past of America’s labor battles. It tells of a fire that spread through the underground tunnels of the copper mines belonging to J.D. Rockefeller’s Anaconda company and others. The book centers on the men trapped underground who exhaust every possible option in a dire bid to survive, including some ingenious methods and some which hasten their demise. Punke touches as well on political, labor, and business wranglings that put the workers at risk. He also follows Butte’s history to present day, demonstrating that the Montana city has never quite recovered from its past as a copper city.

By Michael Punke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Revenant -- basis for the award-winning motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio -- tells the remarkable story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history.

A half-hour before midnight on June 8, 1917, a fire broke out in the North Butte Mining Company's Granite Mountain shaft. Sparked more than two thousand feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour, more than four hundred men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days, one hundred and…

Book cover of Roughing It

Fedora Amis Author Of Have Your Ticket Punched by Frank James

From my list on that bring a touch of humor to the Old West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history and I love to laugh. That’s why I brand myself as a writer of Victorian Whodunits with a touch of humor. I’ve spent decades learning about 1800s America. I began sharing that knowledge by performing in costume as real women of history. But I couldn’t be on stage all the time so I began writing the books I want to read, books that entertain while sticking to the basic facts of history and giving the flavor of an earlier time. I seek that great marriage of words that brings readers to a new understanding. As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” 

Fedora's book list on that bring a touch of humor to the Old West

Fedora Amis Why did Fedora love this book?

Mark Twain is my writing idol. Before Roughing it, I’d never read a book written during the Civil War era which didn’t take sides and grind axes. From it, I learned detachment, that personal adventures can live side-by-side with even the most earth-shattering events. And that hilarious stories like “Bemis and the Buffalo” are the best antidote for the chaos and pain of war.

By Mark Twain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The celebrated author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn mixes fact and fiction in a rousing travelogue that serves as “a portrait of the artist as a young adventurer.”*
In 1861, young Mark Twain found himself adrift as a newcomer in the Wild West, working as a civil servant, silver prospector, mill worker, and finally a reporter and traveling lecturer. Roughing It is the hilarious record of those early years traveling from Nevada to California to Hawaii, as Twain tried his luck at anything and everything—and usually failed. Twain’s encounters with tarantulas and donkeys, vigilantes…

Book cover of Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

The public was introduced to Wyatt Earp’s story by Walter Noble Burns and Stuart Lake around 1930, but the novelistic liberties taken by these two writers produced two books of fantasy. Other writers who reacted to this fiction swung to the other end of the spectrum and wrote damning indictments against Wyatt Earp. Tefertiller gives us the facts and leaves it to the reader to parse Wyatt Earp, the man.

I have visited many a Sonoran Desert site with Mr. Tefertiller—places where events in the Earp saga took place. There we have engaged in conversations and batted around ideas. I judge him to be a most reliable and dedicated researcher/writer.

By Casey Tefertiller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Quite impressive. I doubt if there has been or will be a more deeply researched and convincing account." --Evan Connell, author Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn "The book to end all Earp books--the most complete, and most meticulously researched." --Jack Burrows, author John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was "The most thoughtful, well-researched, and comprehensive account that has been written about the development and career of an Old-West lawman." --The Tombstone Tumbleweed "A great adventure story, and solid history." --Kirkus Reviews "A major contribution to the history of the American West. It provides the first…

Book cover of Heresy

Chantal Noordeloos Author Of The Outlander

From my list on the Wild West and the ladies who rule it.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love for both the Weird and the Wild West started somewhere in the 90s. I watched many movies and adored playing Deadlands (TTRPG) with my friends. I picked this theme because most Western-themed books and movies were very male-orientated, yet I always found myself drawn to the heroines in these stories. While I loved characters like Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hickok, I could better relate to Calamity Jayne or Belle Starr. During our Role Play game nights, I often played female gunslingers. That’s how I ended up creating Coyote, who inspired me to write her story in a series of novels. 

Chantal's book list on the Wild West and the ladies who rule it

Chantal Noordeloos Why did Chantal love this book?

Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw,” but sometimes life just hands you a rough deal. Especially if you are a woman in the Wild West. This novel is an interesting journey of strong women choosing to take fate into their own hands. They don’t want to end up on their backs to make money, and decide they rather take the money they feel the world owes them. Heresy is a classical Wild West tale with a bit of a female twist. A good read for any lover of this genre.

By Melissa Lenhardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Parker-LaCour Gang. The first and only all-female band of outlaws in the American West. Ignored during their time. Written out of history.

Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw.

After being run off their ranch by a greedy cattleman, their family is left destitute. As women alone they have few choices: marriage, lying on their backs for money, or holding a gun. For Margaret and Hattie the choice is easy. With their small makeshift family, the gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.

Though the newspapers refuse to give the female gang credit,…

Book cover of Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier

Mary Stockwell Author Of Unlikely General: Mad Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America

From my list on the history of the American West.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in Ohio, the “First West,” I was trained by top historians of the American West at the University of Toledo where I received my doctorate in American History. I’ve worked as a university and research fellow, a writer in the business world, and a professor of history and department chair at Lourdes University. I left my teaching and administrative career to become a full-time writer. Along with Unlikely General, my recent books have included The Other Trail of Tears: The Removal of the Ohio Indians and Interrupted Odyssey: Ulysses S. Grant and the American Indians. Currently, I’m writing a dual biography of William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh.

Mary's book list on the history of the American West

Mary Stockwell Why did Mary love this book?

In Westward Expansion, Ray Allen Billington takes up the story of the American West where Morison left off. This is a sweeping narrative with Billington acting as a travel guide across the successively moving frontiers beyond the Atlantic Coast. He leads us to the crest of the Appalachians, and then over Ohio and down to Tennessee toward the Mississippi. Next, we race to the Pacific and then come back over the Rockies before finally heading onto the Great Plains west of the Mississippi. Yet Westward Expansion is more than a travelogue. In its pages, we travel with everyone who ever lived on these many frontiers: farmers, workers, soldiers, Indians, immigrants, townspeople. The list goes on and on. It’s America’s story with every triumph and tragedy bound up in constant motion. 

By Ray Allen Billington, Martin Ridge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When it appeared in 1949, the first edition of Ray Allen Billington's 'Westward Expansion' set a new standard for scholarship in western American history, and the book's reputation among historians, scholars, and students grew through four subsequent editions. This abridgment and revision of Billington and Martin Ridge's fifth edition, with a new introduction and additional scholarship by Ridge, as well as an updated bibliography, focuses on the Trans-Mississippi frontier. Although the text sets out the remarkable story of the American frontier, which became, almost from the beginning, an archetypal narrative of the new American nation's successful expansion, the authors do…

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