Share 10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

Caitlin Kleinschmidt is part of the sales team at Workman Publishing. She has previously held positions at Viking/Riverhead, Simon & Schuster, Oxford University Press, and Macmillan. A Navy brat, she lived on both coasts and credits the Dear America series for her lifelong love of history. She has a special place in her heart for narrative nonfiction, as well as books about Eastern Europe and ballet.

The expansive frontiers and jagged mountains of the West have long occupied an exalted space in American mythology. Here we celebrate the stories that make us want to lose ourselves in a never-ending field of prairie grass.


Plainsong
by Kent Haruf

Set near Denver, this National Book Award winner is utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life in the High Plains. From the unsettled lives of four generations emerges a vision of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station.

Plainsong
Kent Haruf

Set near Denver, this National Book Award winner is utterly true to the rhythms and patterns of life in the High Plains. From the unsettled lives of four generations emerges a vision of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station.

MENTIONED IN:

10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | July 7, 2015

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The Oregon Trail
by Rinker Buck

At once a majestic journey, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, this is the journey of a lifetime: an epic quest to travel the length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules. A wildly ambitious work of nonfiction, it is a book with a heart as big as the country it crosses.

The Oregon Trail
Rinker Buck

At once a majestic journey, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, this is the journey of a lifetime: an epic quest to travel the length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules. A wildly ambitious work of nonfiction, it is a book with a heart as big as the country it crosses.

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An Unfinished Life
by Mark Spragg

Moving from a trailer home in Iowa to a sprawling ranch in Ishawooa, Wyoming, this is the extraordinary tale of the irrepressible courage and great spunk it takes to turn grievous loss, wrath, and recrimination into reconciliation, homecoming, and forgiveness.

An Unfinished Life
Mark Spragg

Moving from a trailer home in Iowa to a sprawling ranch in Ishawooa, Wyoming, this is the extraordinary tale of the irrepressible courage and great spunk it takes to turn grievous loss, wrath, and recrimination into reconciliation, homecoming, and forgiveness.

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10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | July 7, 2015

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Brokeback Mountain
by Annie Proulx
In gorgeous and haunting prose, Annie Proulx’s classic examines a difficult, dangerous affair between two cowboys which survives everything but the world’s violent intolerance. It is an original and brilliant contribution to contemporary literature.
Brokeback Mountain
Annie Proulx

Many of us have seen the ineffably beautiful Ang Lee film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, but how many have read the Annie Proulx short story that was the basis for it? Originally published in The New Yorker in 1997, this elegant literary work manages to convey the magnitude of the film in very few pages—and is a revelation for those who believe the short story too narrow to contain multitudes. If you love this story, you'll want to read the original story collection, Close Range.

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Badluck Way
by Bryce Andrews

Following the parallel lives of a young man and a wolf on a remote, windswept ranch in southwest Montana, this gripping memoir celebrates the breathtaking beauty of some of the harshest land in the world.

Badluck Way
Bryce Andrews

Following the parallel lives of a young man and a wolf on a remote, windswept ranch in southwest Montana, this gripping memoir celebrates the breathtaking beauty of some of the harshest land in the world.

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10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | July 7, 2015

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My Ántonia
by Willa Cather

This novel is the unforgettable story of an immigrant woman and her family as they struggle to build a life amid the fields of waving grass and tall corn that dot Nebraska’s hardscrabble plains. Willa Cather’s masterpiece is an elegy to those whose persistence and strength helped build the American frontier.

My Ántonia
Willa Cather

This novel is the unforgettable story of an immigrant woman and her family as they struggle to build a life amid the fields of waving grass and tall corn that dot Nebraska’s hardscrabble plains. Willa Cather’s masterpiece is an elegy to those whose persistence and strength helped build the American frontier.

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The Heart of Everything That Is
by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

The enthralling true story of the conflict between the expanding American West and the Sioux warriors who stood in its way, this acclaimed bestseller recounts the life of Red Cloud, the only Native American in history to defeat the United States Army in war.

The Heart of Everything That Is
Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

The enthralling true story of the conflict between the expanding American West and the Sioux warriors who stood in its way, this acclaimed bestseller recounts the life of Red Cloud, the only Native American in history to defeat the United States Army in war.

MENTIONED IN:

10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | July 7, 2015

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A River Runs through It and Other Stories
by Norman Maclean
This semi-autobiographical novel about the power and beauty of nature inspired the classic film of the same name. The story of a Presbyterian family from turn-of-the century Montana for whom "there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing," it focuses on the relationship between two wildly disparate brothers.
A River Runs through It and Other Stories
Norman Maclean

This semi-autobiographical novel about the power and beauty of nature l inspired the classic film of the same name. The story of a Presbyterian family from turn-of-the century Montana for whom "there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing," it focuses on the relationship of two brothers: Older Norman who is try to straighten out his wild younger brother, Paul.

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Lonesome Dove
by Larry McMurtry
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the American West, this Pulitzer Prize–winning classic is one of the grandest novels ever written about the nation’s last defiant wilderness. Richly authentic, beautifully written, and always dramatic, this is a novel to make us laugh, weep, and dream.
Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry

A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, this Pulitzer Prize— winning classic 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 an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic this is a book to that will make you laugh, weep, and dream.

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The Whistling Season
by Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig, who passed away earlier this year and was one of the frontier’s great chroniclers, revisits the American West in the early twentieth century in this evocative novel, bringing to life a society that has long since vanished and the eccentric individuals and idiosyncratic institutions that made it thrive.

The Whistling Season
Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig, who passed away earlier this year and was one of the frontier’s great chroniclers, revisits the American West in the early twentieth century in this evocative novel, bringing to life a society that has long since vanished and the eccentric individuals and idiosyncratic institutions that made it thrive.

MENTIONED IN:

10 Must-Reads That Celebrate the Expanse of the American West

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | July 7, 2015

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