Book Reviews of Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove
Lonesome Dove
Author: Larry McMurtry
ISBN-13: 9780671504205
ISBN-10: 0671504207
Publication Date: 6/13/1985
Pages: 843
Rating:
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 105

4.3 stars, based on 105 ratings
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

59 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I have had this book for such a long time, and only read it for a challenge to read a big book. And this certainly qualifies.

But, the book was amazing. It is more than just a western--it is a character study and *what* characters inhabit this book! There are the Texas Rangers, cowboys, ladies, old and new loves, and outlaws. it is an easy book to follow and understand.

There were several laugh out loud moments as well as several cry-worthy ones. I now see why this book is so popular and why it won the Pulitzer. It is an excellent book.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This amazing book was sitting on a table in a cottage we rented. I ran out of things to read and picked it up. I had never read a western before and did not have high expectations. I could not put it down! I loved it. The story is mesmerizing, the characters leap off the pages. I can not imagine anyone not enjoying this book. It is probably on my top ten books list.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Im not sure I can pull my thoughts and emotions together to write a full-fledged review for this book. LONESOME DOVE was a book that came onto my radar because it is one of my colleagues favorite books ever. He recommends it to every one of our students, he donated two copies to my companys library, he borrows those very two copies that he donated every few months to pass around to friends. Finally I happened upon an ex-library copy at a book sale and decided that itd probably be worth at least two dollars to check it out. I wasnt expecting the invaluable find of one of the best books Ive ever read, a stunning achievement of characterization set in the Old Wild West.

LONESOME DOVEs strength lies in how effortlessly Larry McMurtry conjures up a varied cast of characters. Easily a dozen characters take turns narrating over 900+ pages, and some of these characters really pissed me off with how slow/idiotic/selfish they acted. And I loved all the emotions that McMurtry was able to stir up in me. Spending time with childish Jake Spoon, depressed and selfish Elmira, damaged Lorena, and others made me realize how little I read from the points of view of characters I dont like, and how valuable it can be.

Oh, dont worry: there arent only despicable characters in this book. But no one is perfect, and theres not necessarily one protagonist to cheer on the whole way through. McMurtry breaks your heart by letting bad things befall good characters, or not letting bad characters receive their comeuppance. In the end, however, you understand why people are willing to follow Gus and Call in their endeavors: the two of them, so different in personality, are impressive leaders in action.

Most of us have seen a scene or two of the Wild Wild West, but Larry McMurtry really makes readers live it. McMurtrys Old Wild Wests main feature is the variety of rough characters one comes across on the road or in saloons, whores and gamblers and trigger-happy cowboys. A writer can write as much as he or she wants on the setting, but it is the people in LONESOME DOVE that really make you feel the dust between your teeth, snowblindness in your eyes, wet boots and socks through powerful Midwestern storms.

The characters in LONESOME DOVE are so strong that Im almost reluctant to say anything critical about the book, because I can forgive just about everything in light of such splendid characterization. But if I had to make criticisms about the book, two things come to mind. The more minor one is how incomplete the ending felt. It seemed almost like McMurtry was writing along, and then, around the 900-page mark, got bored with his story, while at the same time also realizing how successful it could be, and thus raced through the end, slapped on a few satisfying conclusions but also left a lot of things frustratingly open for a sequel.

A more major concern I had was its treatment of POC characters. All the American Indians that appear in this book are heartless, cold-blooded murderers; Deets, the sole black man of the Lonesome Dove outfit, is wise, knowledgeable, and dutiful, one-with-the-earth in a prophetic way. I get it that the nineteenth-century American West was not the most non-racist period in American history, and while I felt that the characters behaved synchronously with their time, I was disappointed that a twentieth-century author couldnt do better than rely on stereotypes for creating his POC characters.

Despite those quibbles, however, I still wholeheartedly recommend this book. LONESOME DOVE is an epic read that will easily be, if not the greatest book youve ever read in your life, then at least the best Western youll ever read in your life.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
If you haven't read McMurtry this is the definitive jumping off point. Hard to find a western any better than this. Great convoluted plot, believable characters, thrilling...
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 582 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One word: magnificent, November 9, 2002
Reviewer: Candace Scott (Glendora, CA USA)

I have never been a fan of the literary western genre and confess that I read this book solely because I watched the movie based upon this book. Incredibly, the book supercedes the movie and McMurtry's characterization of Woodrow and Gus are truly stunning. It's the characters that turn this book into a compelling classic, rarely does the reader encounter such deftly-drawn and intriguing men as McCall and McCrae. You feel as if you are in Lonesome Dove with these men, and with them every step of the way from Texas to Montana. It's a magnificent journey and McMurtry is a superlative writer.
Even if you've never read a western book in your life, this is a literary masterpiece, the Shakespeare of the range, so to speak.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 330 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
When people talk about the romance of the west they must be crazy. The west was a hard and horrible place or so this movie shows us. A herd of cows, horses, green cowboys and two pigs from Texas to Montana where they encounter some rather rough characters, Indians, old lovers and live long enemies. I loved this book, loved how the characters would come and go and how the storylines built on themselves and then twisted back to the beginning to tell the whole story.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Loved it...Loved it...Loved it...Great story of the wild west. Great set of characters...
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 351 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Set in the late nineteenth century, Lonesome Dove is the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana -- and much more. It is a drive that represents for everybody involved not only a daring, even a foolhardy, adventure, but a part of the American Dream -- the attempt to carve out of the last remaining wilderness a new life.

Augustus McCrae and W. F. Call are former Texas Rangers, partners and friends who have shared hardship and danger together without ever quite understanding (or wanting to understand) each other's deepest emotions. Gus is the romantic, a reluctant rancher who has a way with women and the sense to leave well enough alone. Call is a driven, demanding man, a natural authority figure with no patience for weaknesses, and not many of his own. He is obsessed with the dream of creating his own empire, and with the need to conceal a secret sorrow of his own. The two men could hardly be more different, but both are tough, redoubtable fighters who have learned to count on each other, if nothing else.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Im not sure I can pull my thoughts and emotions together to write a full-fledged review for this book. LONESOME DOVE was a book that came onto my radar because it is one of my colleagues favorite books ever. He recommends it to every one of our students, he donated two copies to my companys library, he borrows those very two copies that he donated every few months to pass around to friends. Finally I happened upon an ex-library copy at a book sale and decided that itd probably be worth at least two dollars to check it out. I wasnt expecting the invaluable find of one of the best books Ive ever read, a stunning achievement of characterization set in the Old Wild West.

LONESOME DOVEs strength lies in how effortlessly Larry McMurtry conjures up a varied cast of characters. Easily a dozen characters take turns narrating over 900+ pages, and some of these characters really pissed me off with how slow/idiotic/selfish they acted. And I loved all the emotions that McMurtry was able to stir up in me. Spending time with childish Jake Spoon, depressed and selfish Elmira, damaged Lorena, and others made me realize how little I read from the points of view of characters I dont like, and how valuable it can be.

Oh, dont worry: there arent only despicable characters in this book. But no one is perfect, and theres not necessarily one protagonist to cheer on the whole way through. McMurtry breaks your heart by letting bad things befall good characters, or not letting bad characters receive their comeuppance. In the end, however, you understand why people are willing to follow Gus and Call in their endeavors: the two of them, so different in personality, are impressive leaders in action.

Most of us have seen a scene or two of the Wild Wild West, but Larry McMurtry really makes readers live it. McMurtrys Old Wild Wests main feature is the variety of rough characters one comes across on the road or in saloons, whores and gamblers and trigger-happy cowboys. A writer can write as much as he or she wants on the setting, but it is the people in LONESOME DOVE that really make you feel the dust between your teeth, snowblindness in your eyes, wet boots and socks through powerful Midwestern storms.

The characters in LONESOME DOVE are so strong that Im almost reluctant to say anything critical about the book, because I can forgive just about everything in light of such splendid characterization. But if I had to make criticisms about the book, two things come to mind. The more minor one is how incomplete the ending felt. It seemed almost like McMurtry was writing along, and then, around the 900-page mark, got bored with his story, while at the same time also realizing how successful it could be, and thus raced through the end, slapped on a few satisfying conclusions but also left a lot of things frustratingly open for a sequel.

A more major concern I had was its treatment of POC characters. All the American Indians that appear in this book are heartless, cold-blooded murderers; Deets, the sole black man of the Lonesome Dove outfit, is wise, knowledgeable, and dutiful, one-with-the-earth in a prophetic way. I get it that the nineteenth-century American West was not the most non-racist period in American history, and while I felt that the characters behaved synchronously with their time, I was disappointed that a twentieth-century author couldnt do better than rely on stereotypes for creating his POC characters.

Despite those quibbles, however, I still wholeheartedly recommend this book. LONESOME DOVE is an epic read that will easily be, if not the greatest book youve ever read in your life, then at least the best Western youll ever read in your life.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
In my opinion, the best novel ever written in the USA (or anywehre) and the best Pulitzer Prize winner as well. Perfect!
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 269 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I never thought I could get into a cowboy novel, but I simply couldn't put it down. I had to read all the other books in the series, too.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Of McMurtry's many outstanding literary achievements, "Lonesome Dove" has to stand at the top. (LD was a Pulitzer Prize winner.) Rare is the story that can blend period authenticity with fictional characters and provide a larger-than-life tale that encompasses the old West so perfectly. You'll laugh, you'll cry - you'll even fall in love with the villains! A once in a lifetime read - not to be missed!
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Im not sure I can pull my thoughts and emotions together to write a full-fledged review for this book. LONESOME DOVE was a book that came onto my radar because it is one of my colleagues favorite books ever. He recommends it to every one of our students, he donated two copies to my companys library, he borrows those very two copies that he donated every few months to pass around to friends. Finally I happened upon an ex-library copy at a book sale and decided that itd probably be worth at least two dollars to check it out. I wasnt expecting the invaluable find of one of the best books Ive ever read, a stunning achievement of characterization set in the Old Wild West.

LONESOME DOVEs strength lies in how effortlessly Larry McMurtry conjures up a varied cast of characters. Easily a dozen characters take turns narrating over 900+ pages, and some of these characters really pissed me off with how slow/idiotic/selfish they acted. And I loved all the emotions that McMurtry was able to stir up in me. Spending time with childish Jake Spoon, depressed and selfish Elmira, damaged Lorena, and others made me realize how little I read from the points of view of characters I dont like, and how valuable it can be.

Oh, dont worry: there arent only despicable characters in this book. But no one is perfect, and theres not necessarily one protagonist to cheer on the whole way through. McMurtry breaks your heart by letting bad things befall good characters, or not letting bad characters receive their comeuppance. In the end, however, you understand why people are willing to follow Gus and Call in their endeavors: the two of them, so different in personality, are impressive leaders in action.

Most of us have seen a scene or two of the Wild Wild West, but Larry McMurtry really makes readers live it. McMurtrys Old Wild Wests main feature is the variety of rough characters one comes across on the road or in saloons, whores and gamblers and trigger-happy cowboys. A writer can write as much as he or she wants on the setting, but it is the people in LONESOME DOVE that really make you feel the dust between your teeth, snowblindness in your eyes, wet boots and socks through powerful Midwestern storms.

The characters in LONESOME DOVE are so strong that Im almost reluctant to say anything critical about the book, because I can forgive just about everything in light of such splendid characterization. But if I had to make criticisms about the book, two things come to mind. The more minor one is how incomplete the ending felt. It seemed almost like McMurtry was writing along, and then, around the 900-page mark, got bored with his story, while at the same time also realizing how successful it could be, and thus raced through the end, slapped on a few satisfying conclusions but also left a lot of things frustratingly open for a sequel.

A more major concern I had was its treatment of POC characters. All the American Indians that appear in this book are heartless, cold-blooded murderers; Deets, the sole black man of the Lonesome Dove outfit, is wise, knowledgeable, and dutiful, one-with-the-earth in a prophetic way. I get it that the nineteenth-century American West was not the most non-racist period in American history, and while I felt that the characters behaved synchronously with their time, I was disappointed that a twentieth-century author couldnt do better than rely on stereotypes for creating his POC characters.

Despite those quibbles, however, I still wholeheartedly recommend this book. LONESOME DOVE is an epic read that will easily be, if not the greatest book youve ever read in your life, then at least the best Western youll ever read in your life.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 472 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have never a fan of westerns, so I was hesitant to read "Lonesome Dove". I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it a lot. This book has it all, humor, scope, characters, drama and action. If you haven't read this book, you need to.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 14 more book reviews
A classic! Wonderful story and great characters.
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Larry McMurtry, in books like The Last Picture Show, has depicted the modern degeneration of the myth of the American West. The subject of Lonesome Dove, cowboys herding cattle on a great trail-drive, seems like the very stuff of that cliched myth, but McMurtry bravely tackles the task of creating meaningful literature out of it. At first the novel seems the kind of anti-mythic, anti-heroic story one might expect: the main protagonists are a drunken and inarticulate pair of former Texas Rangers turned horse rustlers. Yet when the trail begins, the story picks up an energy and a drive that makes heroes of these men. Their mission may be historically insignificant, or pointless--McMurtry is smart enough to address both possibilities--but there is an undoubted valor in their lives. The result is a historically aware, intelligent, romantic novel of the mythic west that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 4 more book reviews
I've never been a fan of Westerns, but this is now one of my most favorite books of all time. This novel, with its varied cast of characters, speaks for itself. Go read it now.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 113 more book reviews
Larry McMurtry can sure write. Love this book! The characters and history are fascinating.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on
This is one of my all time favorites.
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What a wonderful adventure!
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 373 more book reviews
100% of the people I know who have read this book have loved it. Count me in that 100%. I detest westerns. I loved this book. I hate horses. I loved this book. I don't care for deserts, plains, spurs, or dusty tumbleweeds. But I loved this book.

This is the ONE singular Pulitzer Prize-winner I've read that unequivocally deserves the award and all accompanying accolades. If ever a book was an epic, sweeping novel of American life that encompasses the hardships, the joys, and the spirit of American life, this is it. This embodies and encapsulates the pioneer spirit of America. Do not go through your life without giving this one a read.

The experience of reading this was a great pleasure for me. It's not often you get a little ways into a book only to realize it's going to be a five-star book. You can sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.

How to do this book justice in a review? You'll have to read it for yourself. It's the epic struggle of humanity in an often inhuman world. You'll grow to love your own humanity through the struggles and successes and mistakes of Gus, Call, and Lorena. (BTW, McMurtry handles the scenes involving violence toward women VERY well). Living and dying in this world is something we have to do. This novel shows that it's better to do it together, with others.

My only complaint would be that it was slow to start but McMurtry, I think, meant it to be that way, as the "story" didn't move until the ranchers did. The groundwork for character development was needed and I came to appreciate that time before the journey north to better understand the characters. It's too perfect a novel not to be planned that way.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 3 more book reviews
A descriptive tale of the last of wild west. Capt. Call and Gus are former Texas Rangers who decide to drive cattle from the southern most point of Texas to Montana. Their journey, along with a vast cast of characters, is filled with danger, seduction and heartbreak. A Pulitzer Prize winning novel it has a slow beginning but worth reading all the way through.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 15 more book reviews
WOW... a must read. This book broke my heart over and over but the worst was when I turned the last page and the great adventure was over. Truly unforgettable, a real American masterpiece.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 588 more book reviews
A love story, an adventure, an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove, and meet the kinds of unforgettable characters we have come to expect from the author of Terms of Endearment and The last Picture Show --heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic, LONESOME DOVE is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream and remember.
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I love Lonesome Dove. The author also wrote Terms of Endearment. The characters he introduces you to in this little Texas town keep your attention to the end.
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this is a great book
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I would give it 10 stars if I could!

This is one of the best books I've ever read. No wonder it won a Pulitzer!

It was beautifully written. So much so that I felt as if I was transported back into that time period.

I saw the film long before I even knew it was a book and I can say they got the casting right! I could clearly picture every character and they all felt right to me.

It was slow paced, but not in a bad way. It truly told the whole story without a lot of time skips or with the reader having to forgive the author for not giving a better explanation of things. When I started the book, I felt like I already knew the story, but I know I was wrong. NOW I know the story.

As big and epic as the book is, it will find its way to my re-read shelf with The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and all the other books that can make me cry.

I'm usually better at reviews, but this book was so fantastic I don't even know what to say about it. It speaks for itself. I cannot wait to read the other books in the series!
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 29 more book reviews
Excellent story
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A wonderful story about life in the old west. The characters are wonderfully drawn and compelling. McMurtry at his finest!
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A cattle drive at the end of an era, searching for a place to be who they are
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A great Novel of the west.
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A Pulitzer prize winner epic - Masterpiece of the American west.
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McMurtry's epic adventures of Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae continues as the aging pair set out to collect and drive a cattle herd to Montana, meeting and occasioally creating adventure along the way. McMurtry is overly dependent on coincidence -- his vision of the Great American Plains seems to be that they are like the neighborhood pub -- if you hang around long enough, everyone you know will show up -- but the sweep of the story almost makes you forgive him that fictional convenience.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 384 more book reviews
This book is one of the best westerns written. being a western, i thought i would not like it,but it is well written and the charachters leap off the page at you and you will carry their sprit for a long time
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Pulitzer prize-winning epic masterpiece of the american west.
Same author who wrote TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 19 more book reviews
The epic novel does not get better than this. McMurtry's best work.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 17 more book reviews
What a great story...someday it will make the Classics list.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 128 more book reviews
I absolutely loathe western books, but my husband talked me into reading this, and what a book! This could be the best book I've ever read. The characters are so deep and full of life, you feel every moment of this story. Unforgettable read.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 6 more book reviews
Awesome book and I have read many times. And will read again.
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This was one of the best books I've EVER read. Epic & Unforgettable.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 18 more book reviews
This is one of the funniest and most fun books I have ever read.
reviewed Lonesome Dove on + 5 more book reviews
Great book,great movie. He definately knows the west.
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A love story, an adventure, an epic of the frontier about the last,defiant wilderness of America.
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Loved this book! fantastic! I was worried about liking it, and it did take me a while to read it, but it was a great book!
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Wow, I have read every book in this GREAT , ingenious series. The characters I remember vividly, was Gus. 5 star book , 5 star series.
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i love this book. having watched the series several times it is nice that it is pretty much exactly the same.
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This novel is just outstanding. Funny - I'm a 52 year old woman with no particular love of westerns, yet I couldn't put this down. The characters are beautifully drawn and the dramatic events both shocking and absolutely real. There is not a cliche in it. It takes you out of our spoiled, self-centered modern world to a place of true character, brotherhood and raw survival. It is also a very witty book. Reading it prompted me to rent the TV mini-series, which is very faithful to the original and considered one of the best mini-series ever produced. It was also excellent.
I highly recommend this as a modern classic - check it out.
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Truly great novel. The best he wrote.
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I really enjoyed this story although I am not a fan of westerns. The colorful descriptions and character development allows one to totally immerse themselves in the story. There are some hilarious one-liners as well. Highly recommend.
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Absolutely fantastic book. Difficult to put down once you start.
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One of the best epic adventures ever written.
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A great read. Felt like I was there hot,cold,wet,scared and happy!
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THE BEST western I have ever read, one of the best books period.
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I haven't read the book would love to eventually read it but,just didn't get into it the last time I tried but,maybe someone else can get into reading it.
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From my Daddy's bookshelf. You'll enjoy it.
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McMurtry's very best. If you like the flavor of the West, you'll savor this one.
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Great.
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Moving story of the old west.
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Pulitzer Prize winner
NY Times Bestseller