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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle and fast paced study of the human character
This is unlike any Western you are likely to read, although it has many of the essential ingredients that characterise this style - arid landscapes, outlaws and plenty of trouble - this is not what this book is about. The book is much more. It puts a colourful mix of characters together and shows how they face tough situations, themselves and ultimately how they try to...
Published on 7 Jun 2002 by Karsten

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars prickly hero
The story and the characters are a little bit different from what you usually get in a western.
The characters have some depth, even if you still can devide them into good and bad. The hero enters the story haltingly and he is not a guy you warm up to easily.
Published 5 months ago by Biker-Joe


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle and fast paced study of the human character, 7 Jun 2002
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This is unlike any Western you are likely to read, although it has many of the essential ingredients that characterise this style - arid landscapes, outlaws and plenty of trouble - this is not what this book is about. The book is much more. It puts a colourful mix of characters together and shows how they face tough situations, themselves and ultimately how they try to make sense of each other. To say all this though and not mention the darker theme this book presents would not do it full justice. Leonard makes a number of subtle points about the characters, which he weaves into the story from the outset and it isn't until almost the very end that you think you've grasped the understanding. Then, as quickly as it fell into place, it's taken away again at the climax leaving you guessing and wondering. It's really no wonder they turned it into an excellent film of the same name - 'Hombre.'
Still not convinced - then just remember that even if you aren't a fan of the Western this is from the same author that wrote Out Of Sight and Get Shorty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HOMBRE, 28 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Hombre (Kindle Edition)
You can't stop the film superimposing itself as you read. Newman's gone now of course as is Leonard himself, as are all the main actors of the film's cast. Sounds morbid but in fact it's sad and that sadness edges round the page and you feel that feeling of times past and if you let it, it adds something.Because what is Hombre if not a ghost of something long gone. Elusive till the end. Can you pin him down, do you really understand. It's a question Leonard asks you time and time again and I don't know if I can answer it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic in its Genre, 30 July 2010
This review is from: Hombre (Paperback)
Prolific pulp and screen writer Elmore Leonard made his bones as a writer of clever crime and Western tales in the heyday of men's magazines, graduating from short stories in such venues to the silver screen as a script writer. Along the way he turned out numerous well-received longer works, too.

Hombre, which became the Western movie classic of the same name with Paul Newman, is one of Leonard's most well known tales in this group and one that has entered the mythos of modern Westernophiles, among whom I count myself. Although I tend to favor the Western in film more than in fiction, the novels and stories of this genre have long provided the seed and soil of the filmed tales. From Jack Schaefer's Shane to Lonesome Dove and Broken Trail, it's the books that movie makers have so often looked to for inspiration. Hombre is no exception.

Leonard's Western heroes are typically hard loners, isolated from the larger Anglo society around them either because of their Indian or Mexican heritage or other factors that have combined to set them apart. They just don't quite fit in. John Russell, the Hombre of this tale, is one of these. Three parts Anglo and one part Mexican he was kidnapped at the age of five or six and raised by the Apaches until the age of twelve when he is returned to white society, adopted by a lonely man named Russell and given his Anglo name, a name that, like the clothes he is forced to wear or the society he is forced to endure, never quite seems to suit him.

At seventeen he flees to the Apache reservation and works for a number of years as an Apache policeman where he wins the name "Tres Hombres" after a remarkable fight with bandits. All this is told quickly in the backstory because Leonard, a master of narrative movement, doesn't dither long over the past, giving us just enough to get our first fix on the character of the man and what he is likely to turn out to be as the story unfolds.

The best of Leonard's Westerns are character studies of a particular type, men like John Russell, a man who has returned to Anglo society only reluctantly after learning of the death of his benefactor and of the inheritance of land the man has left to him. It is this return that sets the stage for the action which will soon unfold, quickly, brutally and with deadly results.

Russell is a man the others in the small group on the "mud wagon", hired to take them all to a distant town, cannot fathom. A filthy Indian to several of them when they discover his background (he refuses to disavow having Indian blood), a dangerous enigma to the hardened Frank Braden who is fresh out of Yuma Prison on a mission of his own.

It's a tight tale taking place over a few weeks with most of the action occurring in the last few days as those traveling with Russell soon learn that he alone holds the key to their survival. His unique Apache mind and the life he has led sets him apart from his companions in the only way required by the hard land and circumstances in which they find themselves. When the small group is finally beleaguered by outlaws on the grounds of an abandoned mine it falls at last to Russell to decide whether he is more white than Indian. In the end the choice he makes is a white man's but the way he does it is all Apache.

This is a very fine Western though, perhaps, the film spoiled it for me. As when I read Dashiel Hammett's The Maltese Falcon (Crime Masterworks) after seeing the film (The Maltese Falcon [1941] [DVD]) and could not get the actors out of my head, I had the same experience here. Try as I might, I couldn't shake the picture of Paul Newman (Hombre [1967] [Dutch Import]) as I followed John Russell leading the stricken passengers in a desperate effort to save themselves after the abortive hold-up -- or of Fredric March as the crooked, pusillanimous Indian agent, despite the fact that he looked nothing like the description of Dr. Favor in the book. Or Richard Boone's sneering, brutish and overbearing Braden.

The novel and the movie are very close and, if Westerns are your thing -- or good, really tight writing is -- then Hombre should be, too.

Stuart W. Mirsky
author of The King of Vinland's Saga
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good In Flight Read., 28 July 2010
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Elmore Leonard wrote this novel way back in 1961, when firmly entrenched in his western period, before he went on to gain fame and fortune writng his crime novels. Leonard develped his skills during this period, and demonstrates in this novel just how comfortable he was with the genre. He knows his subject well, especially the South West heartlands of the Apache where this film is set. His novel "Valdez is Coming" was set in the same area. The novel is relatively short, but not short enough to be included in his "The Complete Western Stories".

The story, for such a short one, is rich in character development. The central theme is racial tension, which is directed at the main protaganist, who is ironically a white man who has lived amogst the Apache. The characters undertake a stagecoach journey where our hero encounters much hostility, but when things go badly wrong, it is to him that they all turn as their only hope of salvation. The question is, should he put his own life at risk to save the very people who have demonstrably loathed him? The novel was made into a very good film in 1966 starring Paul Newman. I have already reviewed the film which remained faithful to the book. There are some good scenes, my particular favourite being when the villain of the piece comes to parley under a flag of truce. When he is fully exposed our hero casually asks him how he is going to get back to cover without being shot. A good point well made! Whilst I would not describe it as a classic, it is certainly very good, and a book that can absorb you enough to read in one sitting. A good in flight read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just A Western, 18 Jun 2009
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Bookworm (Yorkshire Dales) - See all my reviews
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Having seen the film numerous times, I half expected to be disappointed when I read the book recently. Not a bit of it, the book is subtlety different to the film, but this rather adds interest. An enthralling read, and only goes to confirm how very good the original actors in the film, really were.
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3.0 out of 5 stars prickly hero, 7 Feb 2014
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Biker-Joe (Gent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hombre (Paperback)
The story and the characters are a little bit different from what you usually get in a western.
The characters have some depth, even if you still can devide them into good and bad. The hero enters the story haltingly and he is not a guy you warm up to easily.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As good as the Film ?, 14 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Hombre (Kindle Edition)
As soon as I started to read this novel , the first that I have read by Elmore Leonard, I had the feel of the true old west , as in the flavour of Alan Le May. I have seen the film , staring Paul Newman and all and rated it as a superb film of its kind , the story in the
book was slightly different , but , better in my opinion. The book focused more on the racial tensions of the time between the whites
and native americans , with posing questions for both sides .Much of the script in the film came directly from the novel, perhaps the only role that I found better in the film than the book , was that of the one played by Pat Boone , he played that so well , but other than that , a great read and one that I know I shall go back to now and then , if only for Leonard,s introduction to John Russell ,
the enigmatic anti hero of the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Rave from the Grave, 8 Nov 2013
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Although the book did seem a little dated I enjoyed the story and Elmore Leonard's lean writing style. Well worth going back to.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Just boring, 9 Oct 2013
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I ordered this book as I was listening to chapters from it as an audio book on BBC4 (I think it was the book of the week). It sounded like an exciting story to read. In fact it isn't. Very plain language, very slow story - I'd imagine it would be excellent as a movie, but as a book I feel it's a rather dull read. I use it to fall asleep on it, I've been reading it for 3 weeks now and haven't got further than the first 40 pages. It's 160 pages all together anyway..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Tale, 24 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Hombre (Kindle Edition)
Elmore Leonard sadly passed away recently, prompting me to read this, one of his first books. I am glad I did. This book is completely gripping, forget about whether you like or dislike westerns, this story is about a group of people in a situation and how they interact. What a great writer. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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Hombre
Hombre by Elmore Leonard (Paperback - 3 Nov 2005)
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