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Brave Cowboy Paperback – 31 Dec 1992

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reprint edition (31 Dec. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380714590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380714599
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 554,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The Thoreau of the American West. --Larry McMurtry"

Abbey is a fresh breath from the farther reaches and canyons of the diminishing frontier. --Houston Chronicle"

Abbey writes with fierce eloquence of landscape and city, of stunted souls and drunken despair. He can be funny and poignant at once --Publishers Weekly"

We are living among punishments and ruins. For those that know this, Edward Abbey s books remain an indispensable solace. --Wendell Berry" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The classic novel that inspired the motion picture Lonely Are the Brave a stirring and unforgettable tribute to the American hero and American West.

A classic of modern Western literature, The Brave Cowboy follows Jack Burns, a loner at odds with modern civilization. He rides a feisty chestnut mare across the New West a once beautiful land now smothered beneath airstrips and superhighways. An anarchist cowboy, he lives by a personal code of ethics that sets him on a collision course with the keepers of law and order. After a prison breakout plan goes awry, he finds himself and his horse, Whisky, pursued across the desert toward the mountains that lead to Mexico and to freedom. With local law enforcement, the feds, and the military on their tails, the cowboy and his horse race toward their destiny.

One of the best writers to deal with the American West. Washington Post

The Thoreau of the American West. Larry McMurtry" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
I am so pleased to see that this very fine book is still in print. First written in 1956 by Edward Abbey, it has become something of a cult classic, as has the Kirk Douglas film "Lonely are the Brave" that was based on it. The book contains some memorable prose and opens thus. "There is a valley in the West where phantoms come to brood and mourn, pale phantoms dying of nostalgia and bitterness". And so it goes on. The book is a mournful elegy for the old West and a simpler way of life.

It is a contemporary Western story about John W "Jack" Burns a roaming ranch hand. In the story Burns is a cowboy who rejects modern technology and is unable to embrace modern society. He would not like todays computer age! He hates fences that restrict freedom of movement. Burns has no social security card, no driving licence and refuses to register for the draft. In short something of a rebel. When a close friend is jailed, he thinks nothing of deliberately getting himself arrested and trying to spring his friend. There is a very entertaining scene where he fights a one armed man in a bar to achieve this. In jail his friend refuses his help so Jack escapes anyway and takes to his splendid horse "Whisky". Together they head towards the mountains and Old Mexico beyond. They are pursued by the law making full use of modern technology in the form of vehicles and helicopters. Jack has an appointment with destiny and a climactic ending. Abbey describes a scene where Jack and Whisky climb up a tortuous mountain route. "Behind him rose the dark mountain. Far above, remote in time and space, the glittering stars wheeled to the beat of a cosmic drum".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book in so many ways. It’s an essentially simple story, yet told with immense skill. It has atmosphere, including some fine descriptive writing. There is character. Apart from Burns, Bondi and Sheriff Johnson stand out in particular, though other sharply-defined minor characters, not to mention the mare, are extra delights. There is action and suspense, slowly building up to the chase and dramatic climax.

What, perhaps, I had least expected was humour, yet found myself convulsed with laughter on a number of occasions, especially relishing the jail scene dialogue between Burns and Bondi and the dry humour of Morey Johnson, containing his frustration at the idiots around him, as well as expressing his basic humanity.

Beneath all, it is a serious book. However, the ending excepted perhaps, Abbey never explicitly collars the reader. Throughout, the intelligence and literary savvy of the author work side by side with the presentation of simple decency and a reverence for the natural world in which his protagonist remains in the face of exploding urbanisation.

Unlike most, I imagine, I came to this novel, with no knowledge of “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, nor of the Kirk Douglas film based on “The Brave Cowboy”. I shall now set myself to rectify both omissions.

Over the last few years I have read some fine western novels: “Blood Meridian”, The Border Trilogy”, “Lonesome Dove”, Incident at Owl Creek” and others. Most recently I encountered and was overwhelmed by “Warlock”. I had not expected to fall upon another novel of this calibre this year. “Brave Cowboy”, on the surface anyway, is less ambitious than most of these, but certainly in my view fit to stand beside them. A most rewarding find!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought as the film is a firm favourite of mine, with Kirk Douglas as the cowboy Jack Burns. The book is set in 1949 going on the birth date and age of Burns as stated in the book. The Hollywood version appears to have been set contemporary to its making C 1962. Abbey is contrasting Burns belief in a maybe simpler life closer to nature with the attitudes of the urban characters more comfortable with the emerging technological age, contemptuous of the wild open spaces they find themselves in when pursuing Burns. Abbey obviously sympathizes with Burns, the cowboy physically lean and hard in contrast with the negative effect of a more modern lifestyle on the health of the truck driver. There is a dose of realism; Burns friend Paul describing him as effectively born a hundred years too late. The film has suspense and still successfully gets its message across in my view. The book goes in for more moralizing and philosophy and slows accordingly, especially during the jail scenes. Only in the last few chapters when the scene switches to the mountain is any sort of suspense and excitement communicated. Having said that Abbey's descriptive ability is not to be denied and makes for a satisfying read.
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"Lonely are the Brave" has long been one of my favourite films and, if memory serves me correctly, I think this was also Kirk Douglas' favourite film. The film stuck pretty close to the book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel for the first time. One annoying aspect of the Kindle version is the number of transcription errors such as "111" instead of "I'll" and "hell" instead of "he'll". Apart from this minor irritation, well worth the money.
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