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The Virginian (The Cortero Pantheon Series)

Author: Owen Wister
Pages: 349
Publication Date: 2010

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The Greatest Western Novel Ever Written

In 1989 the New York Times wrote the following about The Virginian: "The 1902 novel, ancestor of the classic western, turned out to be not only corny and flag-waving but also intolerant and reactionary by today's standards. The story includes sentimental lectures on Americanism that sound like a jingoist speech by Theodore Roosevelt, to whom the book is dedicated."

God forbid that a book, in the eyes of the Times, should be “flag waving” or view America as an exceptional place. But credit must be given where credit is due. The Times was right; The Virginian does all that and more. In fact, it established the rugged, individualistic, self-dependent, cowboy as a cultural icon in our society. Indeed, it can be said that the western fictional genre began the day this book was published; and it was the best selling book of its day.

You would be hard pressed to find a better endorsement for any book than to have the New York Times condemn it as containing… dare I say the words… “sentimental lectures on Americanism.” You would also be hard pressed to find a better western novel. Zane Gray, Louis L’Amour, Larry McMurtry, and all the others began right here.

The First True Western Novel - Condemned by the New York Times - Now Available to You

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