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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the real wild west, 24 Jun. 2002
This review is from: Dead Man's Walk (Paperback)
This book completely strips away the Wild West as we know it, thanks to all those Hollywood spaghetti western movies. It's a gruesome read in parts, but it's a gripping story of survival against the odds and the tragic waste of lives that was involved in what at times must have seemed a futile struggle to claim the West from the native Indians.
Forget reality TV, this book and it's sequels are the story of real survivors, ordinary men and women in search of the better lives promised to them in the new world, and the Indians trying to defend their homeland from the invaders. They were a pretty brutal bunch but one can't help feeling a certain sympathy towards them. They were not without their dignity and the white man who was not afraid of them was a fool.
McMurtry has a 'can't-put-it-down' style of writing with no frills attached. Read this book.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best fiction based around real places and people., 29 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Dead Man's Walk (Paperback)
"Dead Man's Walk" is one of those books that kept me glued to its pages, and there aren't many of such books. It is not one of those predictalbe - a cowboy rode into town, killed a few men, won the girl stories. It is a brilliant book probably as close to the truth as any, although at times the descriptions of scalping and torture make it a little bit gory. But it is also very sentimental, aspect which is represented by Matty Roberts and her growing feelings for old Shadrach. Often you cannot feel anything but sympathy for the characters, as they go from one hardship to another. The individual descriptions of each incident as they took place, evoke, I think the exact emotions which they are supposed to. When Woodrow and Bigfoot are forced to drink horse urine to survive, you know they have to, but you still feel just as disguisted with this act as the characters do. When Bigfoot is selected to be executed, one can only feel sorry for him and say out loud, that 'It's not fair! He's been with them from the beginning, he has to live!'. Gus McRae, when he wonders off whilst on duty, makes me angry for his disobedience, and all I could say when he got lost was 'Serves you right, for not listening to.' Both Caleb Cobb and Chevallie are poor examples of leadership, hell bent only on what they can achieve from these expeditions. Cobb's cool blood can be commendable, under some circumstances, yet I cannot but feel that he should have been hunged a long time before he had a chance to organise an expedition to Santa Fe.
Although I knew that the two main characters will have to survive their adventure, since they are the subjects of three further tales, at times it was hard to believe that they would. The suspense in some instances, e.g. who will draw the white colour bean, was immense. It was impossible to tell what was going to happen next, as all the characters are as unpredictable, as the thoughts of Larry McMurtry. Above all it was very good to know how the lives of the two friends were thrown together. Also to see what has made Gus and Woodraw become the men they were in Lonesome Dove, and how the hardships they have faced on those very first treks across the Comancheria has changed them, and helped them to face the 'real world' of the wild west.
I was most impressed with McMurty's portrayal of Comanche Indians. They are human beings leading lives so much unlike their white counterparts, and they are presented as such. Even though the descriptions of scalping and torture curdle the blood in my veins just reading about them, thanks to McMurty it is possible to understand why Comanches, and indeed Native Americans, behaved in such way, and even to forgive them for such behaviour. I have a great admiration for Native American's, and "Dead Man's Walk" has provided me with some of the better descriptions of what it was like to be a Comanche in 1840s. One only has to close one's eyes to see the skill with which Buffalo Hump hunts his pray. The talent which Kicking Wolf possesses to steal horses literally from under the enemy's nose, is beyond comprehension, however well it is pictured in the book. Although it would be unheard of to give a young boy a gun to fight in a white world, Indian's taught their children to fight from very early ages, and that is represented by Buffalo Hump's son, killed by corporal Call. Overall I think "Dead Man's Walk is a great book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in reading about the wild west, but also to those knew to this genre of writing. Most of all I will praise Larry McMurtry for his representation of the relationship between the Native American's and their white nemesis. The way in which he incorporated the real character of Buffalo Hump into the story, is definiteyly something to be proud of, for although a great deal might be known about his life, no one can account for every day of it. Furthermore, the descriptions of places like Llano Estacado, had me reaching for the atlas and history books, and deep down I'm hoping that perhpas such two people like gus and Woodrow really did exist and live through those adventures. They are definitely not the typical cowboys you see in western movies, these can only be real people.
Larry McMurtry is truly a gifted writer. There is magic coming from every page, not allowing the reader to put the book down, one simply has to know what will happen next. I laughed and cried with the characters, and now I shall go on to read so that I can see how their adventures finished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The West as it was, 28 Jun. 2010
People who read this book will possibly be those who are familiar with The Lonesome Dove saga, and want to know more about the beginnings of the characters. If this book does nothing else, it takes away any notions that being a Texas Ranger was romantic and glamourous. It holds nothing back in terms of descriptions of torture and capture that people who lived in those times must have lived in fear of every day. The cruelty suffered by the indians' victims is graphically portrayed, and leaves nothing to the imagination. It does however hint that there were elements of this behaviour on both side, but its still shocking. This isn't a book that has a happy ending, but takes you through the early chapter of Gus and Call's early rangering life. It is however essential reading for any fan of Gus and Call, the ultimate rangers, and shows how they became the characters portrayed in future books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than an Introduction., 10 May 2012
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Bluecashmere. (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I came to this book with some apprehension as I had already read the wonderful "Lonesome Dove". While it lacks the full power and maturity of the later novel, it was far from disappointing. It introduces Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call,but as in the later novel has its own cast of wonderful secondary characters, presented with colour and conviction and yet with the same restraint that is a powerful feature of "Lonesome Dove". The storyline draws the reader in, subjects him to some harrowing experiences but never relinquishes a tight hold on him. There is tension, pain, humour, sickening brutality alongside simple decency and humanity. A fine novel in its own right and an enticing introduction to its even finer sequel. A superior western. Thoroughly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of the American West in the 1800's., 14 Jun. 2013
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B. D. Compton "Gettysburg" (Johannesburg,South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove) (Hardcover)
This novel by Larry McMurtry depicting the Texan military expedition from Austin to Santa Fe, with disastrous consequences to the participants, is one that could be read by anyone who loves a well told story that is both descriptive of the times and has characters that will make you wonder how people survived in those days, as well as making us think what easy lives we lead today but lacking, in most cases, the wonderful experiences these pioneers experienced figuratively but not practically.

I could hardly put the book down and felt all the hardships and moments of wonderment the characters went through, with the writing capturing brilliantly the harshness and beauty of the countryside and life in general.

It is a wonderful read, even for those not interested in the American West and after reading the book, i thoroughly recommend the film of the same title that faithfully brings the book to life on the screen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious novel as all of the Larry McMurty novels on ..., 26 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove) (Hardcover)
Glorious novel as all of the Larry McMurty novels on the Lonesome Dove theme are,as one who never cared for the cowboy/ western genre I'm a convert.The characters are fascinating,the descriptions of the territory make you feel the heat & taste the dust. In all a marvellous adventure.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Man's Walk, 16 July 2009
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Mr. J. Powells "mandojmmy" (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove) (Hardcover)
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry, the prequel to the prequel to the great Lonesome Dove is a must-read for all those who have been captivated by the western classic. It finds two of the most well drawn characters of the West, Woodrow Call and Gus McRae, so beloved and famous now that they have almost passed into folklore like Robin Hood in England, in the rawness of their youth. Like all McMurtry's books, it is a revelation of human nature. The two friends are recently-joined Texas Rangers and their gauchness and lack of experience mean very hard lessons to learn when pitted against the evilness of malefactors and the pitiless terrain. Even at this early stage, we see the seeds of Call's unique brand of uprightedness; his innate sense of right and wrong. Gus is the more human, the more faulted personality, but he exhibits those remarkable traits of loyalty and humour that we love so much in Lonesome Dove.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 21 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove) (Hardcover)
This book was excellent and in very good condition. I only wish I could buy a similar one of Comanche moon from the stock of ex library books. It was a great read and could not put it down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great series, 25 Sept. 2013
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Mr. P. Hughes (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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The start of the great Lonesome Dove series, a down to earth account of life on the Mexican border around the time of the civil war.
Gritty and memorable. A must read
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4.0 out of 5 stars Family favourite, 28 May 2013
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This was bought at the behest of my son who'd become interested in the story having watched the TV series Lonesome Dove. It's now been read by most family members
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Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove)
Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove) by Larry McMurtry (Hardcover - Sept. 1995)
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