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Deadwood [Paperback]

Pete Dexter
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1989
Wild Bill Hickok may be getting old, but he can still shoot a small glass off the head of a bulldog at 30 paces. He and partner Charles "Colorado Charley" Utter have come to the brawling boom-town of Deadwood to do some gambling. By the author of "Paris Trout".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin/ Putnam; 1st edition (Jun 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140127291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140127294
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Pete Dexter is the author of the National Book Award winner Paris Trout and of God's Pocket, Deadwood, Brotherly Love, The Paperboy and Train. He was born in Michigan and raised in Georgia, Illinois, and eastern South Dakota. He lives on Puget Sound, Washington. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need not like Westerns to love this book 19 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Peter Dexter's western Deadwood is a work of American Literature that stands up on its own. Calling it a 'western' unfairly limits the scope of its appeal. Like Dexter's other works, Deadwood is a book about America and Americans. Through course and revealing dialogue Dexter Dexter illuminates how we think grandly, why we act poorly, and why we continue to struggle for hapiness, joy, and a good lay. Dexter's characters also speak plainly and to the point. There are wonderful points in this book, for example, when you can hear the characters lying to themselves. There are other points when you can see them flailing against a recognizable and tragic fate. All in all, this is a fine book, written by a fine writer. After you read this you'll need to read Brothery Love and God's Pocket, which are Dexter's next two best books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At that moment the roof blew off the theatre... 14 Dec 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The star of Pete Dexter's book is not Wild Bill Hickock, or even Calamity Jane, but Charley Utter, Wild Bill's friend and partner towards the end of his life. It is through Charley we experience the events of the novel, the vast majority of which are based on real lives and actual events. Calamity Jane Cannery is real, as is China Doll the Chinese whore, and Bill's wife Agnes Lake, Mrs Langrishe the actress, Captain Jack Crawford and Wild Bill's assassin Jack McCall. Sheriff Seth Bullock and his business partner Solomon Star are real as are the Methodist Minister Henry Hiram Winston Smith and Pink Buford and his fighting bulldog. All of the characters bar one (a younger brother of Charley's wife) were in Deadwood at the time. Dexter's original research has been prodigious, but Dexter's real talent lies in what he has made of the facts. He has brought them alive on the page in a feat of marvellous creative imagination. Forget all the cowboy and Indian stuff - this is a story about real people doing real things in a time when it really was a struggle just to survive.

This is a tremendous book, packed with action from beginning to end and replete with a deeply realistic flavour of the times. There were still Indians in the Black Hills in 1876, when this novel begins, and Deadwood was a town of two halves - the respectable quarter and the low dives and whorehouses, along with prospecting miners, muleteers and Chinese labourers. The novel takes real incidents and fleshes them out with names and characters from the newspapers and record books of the times, giving their lives colour, energy and wild-west grit, blood and bones. It's a wonderful read from Pete Dexter, winner of America's National Book Award for Fiction for his earlier book, Paris Trout. Bleak, fatalistic, riotously funny, deeply engaging and poignantly unforgettable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting 1 July 1998
By A Customer
I started the book and had trouble with the context of the wild west and the characters in the beginning. I began to be swept up by the words of the author somewhere around page 60 and I was a bystander talking and listening to the characters in the book. Dexter's development of characters is very rich and knitting of paralell storylines is extrordinary. I enjoyed it immensely! Especially the conversations between the Bottle Fiend and Charlie.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining tale of the old frontier! 20 July 1997
By A Customer
Reminiscent of "Lonesome Dove", Deadwood takes you back to the late 19th century, in the lawless west, and brings such historical characters like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane to life. Full of humor this book almost makes you wish to have lived in such a time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent if uneven historical novel 1 Jun 2011
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Like many fans of the HBO series, I came to this novel hoping to experience the wonderfully colorful characters from another angle. This book definitely succeeds at that: you get Charley Utter, Seth Bullock, Al Swearingen, and Calamity Jane in very different form and interpretation, in many ways more deep and certainly as a coherent, serious novel.

The following will contain no spoilers. In this, the principal character is Utter. He is too big a personality to merely be Hickok's sidekick: smarter and more thoughtful, he has greater depth of character and is not on the same path to self destruction. Bullock and Swearingen, while vital actors in the politics of the town, are mere shadows in this version, appearing now and then. Jane is also more fully center and is the same caring drunk with fanciful illusions. As the greatest celebrity of the Wild West, Hickok is in syphalitic decline, losing his sight and strength, even his will to live; living only in the moment, gambling and barely keeping it together. While trying to take care of him, Utter begins to see him in a new way. Though Utter lives largely in the present as well, he cares for others in a diplomatic and ethical way, defending himself when necessary with typical violence of the times, but merciful if not always compassionate. You like him, admire his business competence, and believe in him more than any other character. The plot is about his survival and good works. There is a roster of highly unusual characters, such as Hickok's wife Agnes, the bottle man, and the actor's wife, all of whom existed. For the most part, the characters are multi-facetted and extremely subtle. It has the best fictional interpretation of Hickok, for example, that I have ever seen. This is at times first rate.
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