BL: … as good as Lonesome Dove! WOW!

Lonesome Dove
BobLee
January08/ 2018

… as good as Lonesome Dove… WOW!

When it comes to historical fiction “sagas”, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry has long been my personal standard for BEST. Everything else is varying degrees of “…good but not “Lonesome Dove good”. I may be making room on that literary pantheon for another historical fiction “saga”.

Gone With The Wind… Roots… and The Godfather were all “pretty good” too.

Most of you know Lonesome Dove from the 1989 made-for-TV mini-series epic starring Robert DuVal and Tommy Lee Jones as Texas Rangers Augustus McRae and Woodrow F. Call on the western frontier in the 1870s. That TV series came from a 1985 novel by Larry McMurty.

If you have seen the mini-series and did not find it VERY special, you and I likely have differing points-of-view on other issues.   I have used “what did you think about Lonesome Dove?” as a determining factor in pursuing friendships.

McMurtry wrote three more books based on the fictional adventures of McRae & Call characters. Chronologically, those books are…
1. Dead Man’s Walk – set in the early 1840s
2. Comanche Moon – set in the 1850–60s
3. Lonesome Dove – set in mid-to-late 1870s
4. Streets of Laredo – set in the early 1890s

I have read them all. Lonesome Dove refers to the whole body of McMurtry’s work about Gus & Woodrow. “Streets of Laredo” takes place after Gus’ death at the end of Lonesome Dove. “Dead Man’s Walk” and “Commanche Moon” are prequels to LD chronicling their early adventures. All four books have been made into mini-series. DuVal and Jones acted only in the original LD.

Robery DuVal says “Gus McRae” was his greatest career role. This coming from “Tom Hagen” – consigliore to both Vito and Michael Corleone.

I remember who recommended I read “this book about The Mafia” back in 1970. It was former Mizzou linebacker Nip Weisenfels.

In 1985, my friend Bob Cohen recommended Lonesome Dove. Bob and I had served as judges for Kansas City Kings’ Glitter Girls tryouts. He was Director of Marketing for the Dallas Mavericks at the time… pre Mark Cuban.

Want me to remember you? … recommend an awesome book I must read and will subsequently never forget. Hard to imagine a more special gift to give to a friend … a wonderful book.

Twenty years ago, I recommended Kid read Watership Down by Richard Adams. She has yet to do so. Some day she will… will understand why… and will think kindly of me… sigh.

You should also read Watership Down… an “epic” about the adventures of a group of rabbits… sounds really exciting, huh. Check it out.

###

Speaking of Kid… THE TWINS ARRIVED YESTERDAY (Sun 1/7/17) after ONLY 22 hours of labor. “Scout” was first at 8 lbs 11 oz and “Ruthie”, right behind her, at 7 lbs 4 oz. 

Mother and daughters are all just fine and healthy as can be. The parenting / grandparenting experiences have formally begun.  For the record, I am requesting to be either “GrandDad” or “GrandDaddy”.  Always thought “Grandpa” sounds too “Dogpatch”.  But not sure I get to make that decision…

My new definition of “fretting / anxiety”= Be 961 miles from your daughter while she endures 22 hours of labor… with a frantic son-in-law who is “not really sure how to text”. Aaaarrgh.

###

Back to great literary adventures…

If Lonesome Dove was special to you, you “get it”. If you are more into the dire need for “indoor practice facilities” and hating Dan Kane and kneeling Kaepernicks then maybe you don’t “get it”.

Anyhow… I recently discovered a series of eight books by Angus Donald about “Robin Hood” as told through the eyes of Alan Dale… one of Robin Hood’ “Merry Men”. I am midway thru book #5.

Angus Donald Books

As you know… I listen to audible books from Audible.com. Each audible novel is 12-15 hours long. I go thru them in about a day/half while multi-tasking.

It’s what I do while some of you are watching ESPN, The NFL The NBA or CNN.

They are available in hardback / paperback from Amazon and BarnesNoble. The first book in The Outlaw Chronicles series is The Outlaw.

Robin Hood was a legendary mythical character. There is no historical proof that such a man actually existed in 1190s-early 1200s in England.

There WAS a Richard The LionHeart and Prince John and The Crusades; but no group of “good outlaws” in Sherwood Forest “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor” and being very good archers. Just as there were no Texas Rangers named Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

The time frame of the eight books has young Alan Dale, a 12-year old boy stealing to survive in 13th century feudal England… joining Robin Hood’s band… and, along with Little John, becomes Robin’s right-hand man and eventually a Knight in a series of high adventures across Europe… including a quest for The Holy Grail.

That quick explanation does not do Angus Donald’s vivid imagination justice.

As with The American Western frontier in the 1870s… 13th century Europe was often quite violent and “live was cheap”. These Robin Hood novels are graphically violent in places with quite bad people doing bad things to good innocent people.

Donald’s characters are colorful as are McMurtry’s.  The heroes are flawed and the villains are REALLY evil.  What do I know… but, I believe he accurately depicts life in those times.

If I have sparked your interest, definitely read them in order starting with The Outlaw. Each of the eight novels builds on the previous adventures.

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ultraviolet
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ultraviolet

I’m into history more than fiction, but this one is set right in the middle of Lonesome Dove country, Empire of the Summer Moon. Gives a great history of the Comanche and of Texas.

Dew Forbes
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Dew Forbes

I generally read The Old Man and the Boy during the holidays
It is about Wrightsville Southport area and hunting and fishing with his grandfathers by Robert Roark

TheCowdog
Guest
TheCowdog

I will chase down The Outlaw series when you tune into McMurtry’s kid’s, musical stylings. James McMurtry. Spotify…Pandora…whatever. Google even.

Oh…Buffalo Hump, if you can trust him, would recommend “The 13th Valley” – John Del Veccio.

fayettewuf
Guest
fayettewuf

Congratulations on the additions to the family. If you like historical fiction, have you read any James Michener? My favorites are Hawaii, Tales of the South Pacific and Centennial (made into a really good miniseries). I recently discovered Edward Rutherfurd. He writes somewhat like Michener. He follows families through centuries. I have learned more history from his books than I ever learned in class. Paris, Russka, Princes of Ireland…If you like very long listens, he is your man. 32 or so hours each. Two of my favorite scenes in Lonesome Dove is Gus demonstrating how to handle a surly bartender… Read more »

RMDownEast
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RMDownEast

Congrats! … Still waiting on #1 son to advise he and DIL are with child. Found out over Christmas DIL is going back to grad school so will patiently wait a few more years.
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I have been told grandchildren are so much fun you will wish you had them first.

Former96Heel
Guest
Former96Heel

Many congrats on the healthy additions. I have a customer whose first grandchild called him Grumps. Needless to say, it stuck and spread beyond the family.

I am investigating Audible. I have missed completely the LD series, and that may make traffic easier to stomach than podcasts.

ENC#1
Guest
ENC#1

Congrats on the arrival of the twins and you will not care what they call you. The first time you visit or they visit you when they can walk, semi-run and they run into you arms will be very special day.

Thanks for all the information/recommendations on books to read….keep the information coming!!!!

Doug
Guest
Doug

Congratulations on the twins and good to hear all are healthy and well. I feel your anxiety about the texting thing with your S-I-L. Hell, my son knows how but was so twitapated when our granddaughter was born, he completely forgot about us down in the waiting room. Cat-5 high anxiety amongst the grandmothers.
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Thanks for the reading suggestions. Could have used them over the past week here in the frozen tundra. Maybe BK can get LB Bradley Chubb to give you some of his reading suggestions from the Hunt Library. ????

JoeH
Guest
JoeH

Congrats of the safe arrival of the twins. I know you and Blondie are most happy.
The new girls won’t be calling you anything for a while but a name that all four in the new family can focus on and refer fondly to you is G-Dad. We use it, and it works.

The Expatriate
Guest

Hoorah for the Little People deciding to show up. Hoorah for Kid and Danny for making it possible. Hoorah for Blondie and BobLee for enduring the long wait. Every one of you will discover such things are precious. Trust me.

PTH
Guest

Lonesome Dove is my all time favorite book and movie, I mean tv series. I wonder if all those cultured people who love Meryl Streep, watched lonesome dove, would they realize that looking constipated is not really entertaining?

Jim Wilkins
Guest
Jim Wilkins

Jim Wilkins here, Sue’s husband. If you haven’t, you need to read Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West. Been around a while so you may have read it. Read it during NCAA bball tournament for real enjoyment.

Tedensky
Guest
Tedensky

Congratulations–being a Grand Dad is awesome work!

NCSU68Grad
Guest
NCSU68Grad

Congratulations on your new prides. Treasure and Cherish them. I did. As to “doing the dirty” with the baby’s undergarments. I ran Granddaddy Daycare for almost 4 years. Opened with a 3 YO that was partially potty trained and a 3 MO. I changed about 3000 diapers on my sweetie pie. I have TALES to tell at her wedding….and she KNOWS IT. GK’s can “con” at early ages. My GD, when she began toilet training, would only let me assist her. Not her mom or Nana. BUT, we were at a Red Robin one time and she said…”Nana, I gotta… Read more »

triheel
Guest
triheel

Congratulations! So thankful the twins were stubborn and waited until term. I delivered babies for 25 yrs and my most common complications had to do with premature labor and delivery of twins. Have been nervous since you announced it 6 months ago.
Back to action books, you have probably read the Nick Petrie series of Peter Ash novels. If not, Lee Child says Peter Ash is the closest to recreating Jack Reacher yet. Start with The Drifter and follow with Burning Bright.

Bill
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Bill

Happy New Year and congratulations on the safe arrival of your granddaughters! Too bad they don’t live closer to you. Three of our five live nearby and having them with us is always the highlight of any day. Missing the other two is a source of a bit of sadness. Facetime helps, but it isn’t the same. . Living in LA, I chose “Grumpaux” for my nickname. Has the added benefit of letting them know early on that I’m not a soft touch. Ha! . For books, permit me to suggest something that it mostly factual (an “historical novel”) and… Read more »

john
Guest
john

congratulations to all of you

Porgie
Guest
Porgie

Congratulations on the arrival of the granddaughters. Let me pass on some of the Grandfather “ advice” that I have gleaned over the years. First it is your prerogative not to change soiled diapers unless absolutely necessary and no one else is available. That chore is for Mom, Dad, and Grandmothers. People will naturally assume that you will “spoil” the 2 of them. I have “never” spoiled any of my 5, but they are treated with the care and respect they so richly deserve. My namesake Grandfather was once asked if any of his 12 Grandkids ever gave him any… Read more »

OldWuf Vet
Guest
OldWuf Vet

I believe it’s Robert Duval’s 87th Bday today. Congratulations! I figured you’d be angling for PeePaw????. Unfortunately, it seems gp’s often don’t get to choose

BC.SA.TX
Guest
BC.SA.TX

Happy New Year! Hope you guys are great. Thanks for the mention. Funny, I also LOVED Watership Down. I decided to dig up the movie on You Tube not TOOO long ago. Still a good one. Not sure what is but always thought it was a great story. . In the world of coincidences, Tommy Lee Jones lives on my street. It isn’t that we live in the Alamo City’s version of Beverly Hills. Far from it. Tommy Lee Jones just likes things simple I think. He spends most of his time at his ranch in Sabinal or wherever. Nobody… Read more »

Rivlax
Guest
Rivlax

When lots of Russians were visiting Durham in the early ‘90s via the Sister Cities program, I’d tell them all that if they wa need to understand America they should read Lonesome Dove. If they spoke and read English I’d give them a copy.

P.S. congrats on your new grandfatherhood.

WP
Guest
WP

Great piece today BobLee. Lonesome Dove is still my favorite fiction of all time. I remember reading it on a cross-country flight in 1988 and getting to the scene where Gus rescues Lorena from Blue Duck’s bandits…I got so excited I had to get up and run around the plane for a while. Nobody cared back then.

DM Carpenter
Guest
DM Carpenter

BL: Congratulations upon the safe arrival of grandchildren. One of my Christmas presents was DARKEST HOUR. (I have not yet seen the movie.) It focuses on three speeches, early in WSC’s Premiership. I enjoyed the book, and expect to enjoy the movie. Judging from the commercials, Oldman seems to play WSC nearly as well as Robert Hardy did in CHURCHILL: THE WILDERNESS YEARS (on YouTube, and worth watching). One line in the book did make my eyes roll. Page 150, WSC flew to Paris to meet with the French leadership. The book notes that he flew in a DeHaviland Flamingo,… Read more »

Bo
Guest
Bo

BobLee, If you like the Robin Hood Series by Angus Donald, you must begin reading/listening to books by Bernard Cornwell. Many about England in the Middle Ages… Try the Saxon Tales series, with the first book The Last Kingdom. Also, the Grail Quest series, beginning with Harlequin, or the Warlord Chronicles, which begins with Winter King. He also has a Civil war series called The Starbuck Chronicles, beginning with Rebel. All are excellent! He also has a 20+ book series about the Napoleon Wars as seen through the eyes of an English soldier named Richard Sharpe which is excellent. I… Read more »

BC.PV
Guest
BC.PV

BL, your advice regarding books has always been “spot on”. I will begin these next.
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Congratulations of the birth of your granddaughters. I know they will not be spoiled!