Monday, June 20, 2011

June Book Review by Ted

I'm posting Dad's book review this week because I'm off for my last intensive residency for the SHU Master's Degree program. Yes! Graduation is June 26th. Woot. Okay, here's Dad:

Vanishing genre.............................. This morning the news from entertainment is about the death of actor James Arness----for 20 years he was Matt Dillon on CBS's "Gunsmoke." During this period there were as many as 10 weekly shows about the Old West and all the stories it spawned. That was before the plethora of TV channels and programs about a lot of nothing. It is almost as if we are now ashamed of this part of our history. So.......................... Let us return to the days of yester-year. From out of past comes the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost every child waited impatiently for the WJR ( Detroit ) syndicated show to begin the daily adventures of " the Masked Man of the Plains." This same period saw books-- paperbacks--by great Western authors like: Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, Larry McMurtry, Owen Wister,Walter Van Tilburg Clark, and Tony Hillerman. They were on all the books shelves in every bookstore, newspaper stand, and paperback rack. Movies were made from many of them and they spawned such heroes as: The Lone Ranger, Lash LaRue, The Cisco Kid, The Green Hornet! Wait, The Green Hornet!??? A western hero??? Well, for the uninformed, the Lone Ranger's last name was REED. His nephew Dan was in many episodes of the stories. According to the story of the Green Hornet (Bret Reed), his great uncle was the Lone Ranger! That might be worth knowing for a trivia question in a gathering of friends. However I digress. The Western today has about died. I think it is a pity! Another Western author penned this month's selection: "Other Men's Horses" by Elmer Kelton. This book is the eighth book in his nine-volume Texas Ranger series. The ninth, "Texas Standoff" is the
last in the series and the last of Mr. Kenton's books since he is no longer with us, having passed away in 2009. In "Other Men's Horses" Texas Ranger Andy Pickard is assigned what appears to be routine duty. Donley Bannister, a West Texas horse trader, has killed a thug named Cletus Slocum, who stole one of Bannister's horses. Pickard is ordered to find and arrest
Bannister and bring him to trial. WAIT a minute! A trial for someone who shot a horse thief in Texas!?!?!?!? The action gets heavy really fast as there are gunfights, spirited chases, outlaws who are bad but also good.....This book is indeed a "Return to the days of yester-year!" If you haven't ever read a Western or if you have but not in a long while, maybe it is the time for you also to "Return to the days of yester-year." This is a good place to start.

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