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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BobLee
  • ultraviolet Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I read that one several years ago. I’ve read several about Quanah Parker and that era of the Commanches.

  • Dew Forbes Reply
    3 months ago

    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

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      “Coming of age” books are always good.

  • TheCowdog Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      My “musical stylings” interest stopped when The Statler Brothers retired.
      .
      13th Valley sounds like Apocalypse Now. I will order it.

      • TheCowdog Reply
        3 months ago

        More like “Platoon” which I think was hand grabbed from Del Vecchio.
        Shoot. Inish Scull can’t close his eyes to that rip-off.

  • fayettewuf Reply
    3 months ago

    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 and Gus demonstrating how to handle someone doing the chicken dance.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Certainly familiar with Mitchner but have never tackled one of his 30 hour opuses… but I will one day. Chesapeake has a special appeal.
      .
      Swapping “favorite scenes from LD” is a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon. Gus’ deathbed scene is my #1. Woodrow “don’t tolerate bad behavior” and Jake Spoon’s hanging are two good ones too.

  • RMDownEast Reply
    3 months ago

    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.
    .
    I have been told grandchildren are so much fun you will wish you had them first.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I am convinced I am THE FIRST person to EVER have grandchildren… so I am ignoring all the advice and How-To stories. 🙂

  • Former96Heel Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      “listening to books” is not for everyone. Blondie was doing it a year before I joined in five+ years ago. Gone forever are cassette tapes or CDs… its all MP3s stored in your smartphone / computer. They eat up virtually no storage. I annually “read” over 100 of all sorts of genre. Audible.com has 30,000+ titles and becomes more popular all the time. Actually I use the Audible app so nothing is actually stored on my phone but my entire library is quickly available. I never reread a book but I could with every one I have purchased.
      .
      I find Audible.com one of if not THE best on-line retailer I deal with. They are owned by Amazon so VERY efficient, customer-friendly and very tech-reliable. It takes seconds to order and have the “book” in your library. i NEVER have a tech-issue. I put on a pair of bluetooth earbuds first thing in the AM and pretty much wear them all day… turning them on to listen when I’m driving, at the gym, grabbing lunch, shopping, etc. The average novel is 8-15 hours of listening… you can adjust the speed of the narrator if you wish. Each “book” is $11.00 regardless of size or popularity.
      .
      I appreciate that “holding a boo or Kindle “in your hands” has an appeal. After listening to well-over 500 audible books I can no longer “read a book”. Give it a try and let me know what you think … 🙂

  • ENC#1 Reply
    3 months ago

    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!!!!

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      This is my favorite type of column. I RESOLVE more of them in 2018.

  • Doug Reply
    3 months ago

    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.
    .
    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. 😎

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      BWHAHAHAHA… Julius Peppers said he went into UNC’s Wilson Library once… to get out of the rain.

  • JoeH Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Ruthie and Scout have two living sets of GrandParents to make these BIG decisions about.

  • The Expatriate Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I’m pretty sure I am THE FIRST Grandfather EVER. I am treading where no man’s has trod before …. Right? 🙂

  • PTH Reply
    3 months ago

    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?

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      LD was “special”. We had dinner tonight with a Serious LD fan … we swapped favorite lines.

  • Jim Wilkins Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Have not heard of it, but will look for it. Thanks
      .
      Give Sweet Sue a hug please.

  • Tedensky Reply
    3 months ago

    Congratulations–being a Grand Dad is awesome work!

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Thanks Ted.

  • NCSU68Grad Reply
    3 months ago

    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 go potty….”. She KNEW that she could call the shots at home….but out in public, she went for the traditional path. I KNEW that I was under her control then…..

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      HAA! The sight of you entering “a little girls’ room” would have made national headlines – “NC State TranyPerv Cruises For Little Girls at Red Robin !!!”

  • triheel Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Yes, familiar with Nick Petrie and have read both of those. 🙂
      .
      Kid actually was post-term, if that is a term, by about 7-10 days. They administered a light dose of petocin but eventually, after 10-12 hours performed an epidural. After 22 hours the Obst was going to try forceps to bring “Scout” out but only needed to “nudge her loose”. Two contractions later she popped right out at 8 lbs 11 oz followed in 20 minutes by little sister Ruthie at 7 lbs 4 oz. Scout being “stuck” was apparently the reason for the extended labor. I hope all that makes sense to you. All three of my girls are doing just fine… Mom Kid being the most worn-out of the three. Both babies took immediately to nursing. YEA!!

  • Bill Reply
    3 months ago

    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 not an action story: “The Greatest Game Ever Played” by Mark Frost. It is the story of the 1913 U.S. Open, won by the U.S. amateur, Francis Ouimet, in a playoff against the great professionals, Harry Vardon and the nearly as great Ted Ray, both from across the pond. Frost was the creator of Hill Street Blues and reportedly did an enormous amount of research to make sure that it was historically accurate. Of course, he did take some creative liberties in order to add a bit of drama to the story. The movie of the book, by Disney, is, IMHO, one of the best adaptations of a book I have seen. It helped that Frost was involved in producing the movie. But, as almost always, the book is “better” in the sense that it is much more richly detailed.
    .
    Let me know what you think should you check out either.
    .
    Cheers,

    Bill

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Thats not the Bagger Vance Legend is it?

      • Bill Reply
        3 months ago

        No. Far from it. Bagger Vance is “New Age” garbage and the movie was worse than the book, albeit unintentionally hilarious. Matt Damon starred as the second main character–Rannulph Junuh–a disillusioned veteran of WWI who was an excellent golfer before The Great War but who gave up golf after the war. The Charlize Theron character persuaded him to play an exhibition match to raise funds for the Theron character’s South Carolina resort that had been destroyed by a hurricane. He was supposed to compete against Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen and win. Only problem was that Damon didn’t play golf and they decided to give him a few lessons and not use a body double. No one with even a remote knowledge of what a decent golf swing looks like would buy the thought that the swing of the Damon character could compete with Jones and Hagen. Even worse, the actors portraying Jones and Hagen had pretty good swings. Will Smith as the title character–a caddie/angel/savant/demigod?–was ham-handed and buffoonish. The only saving grace to the movie was the late Jack Lemmon’s portrayal of the elderly adult narrator, relating the tale that he observed as a pre-teen. On the whole, though, a “must miss.” The book and the movie.

        • BobLee Reply
          3 months ago

          Saints Preserve Us… I fear I have unleashed Satan’s pit bull from Hell’s Kennels!! 🙂

          • Bill
            3 months ago

            I thought I was being generous!

            Speaking of the Saints…. A sweep? Unheard of!

            Cameron Jordan calling a Panther offensive lineman a “speedbump?” Sean Payton handing out a broom in the Saints locker room after the game? Class? Not! But that’s today’s NFL, isn’t it?

            Last really classy player I remember was a Saint, though. Guy out of nowhere, may have been undrafted. Set all the team’s receiving receiving records. Marcus Colston. Never showboated. Just filpped the ball back to the ref after a reception and returned to the huddle or the sideline after a TD. Drew Brees is pretty close in terms of class. Not too many like them these days.

          • BobLee
            3 months ago

            Not many left… and no one coming in to replace them in “the League”. Weekend Playoff TV Ratings were worst ever…

  • john Reply
    3 months ago

    congratulations to all of you

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Thanks Homie!

  • Porgie Reply
    3 months ago

    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 problems and he said “never”. Asked his secret, his response was “I never tell them ‘no’ !
    .
    On a side note, my 12 year old Grandson wanted to know why I did not storm the court Saturday night.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Kid was NOT an “athlete” at all. No interest in sports AT ALL. Danny was “Prince Danny The BMOC Sports Superstar” and Div III WR at Wheaton. Two of his sisters are She-Jocks. They kid Kid about her NON-Jockiness. After 22 hours of labor, Kid has now earned their full respect.

  • OldWuf Vet Reply
    3 months ago

    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

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      As long as they are happy to see me ….. 🤡

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I do understand I don’t get a choice. 🙂

  • BC.SA.TX Reply
    3 months ago

    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 sees him much and when you see him “you’re not supposed to look at him.” It’s ridiculous. He has a yappy dog that makes a lot of racket. From time to time I see him drive down the street stuffed into his Smart Car or at a restaurant. My mom once upon a time walked up to him at at bookstore that she worked at part time and asked if she could help him (circa 1984ish) and he scolded her and asked if she knew who he was. She countered with “No do you know who I am? We’re even.”
    .
    Hope all is well…

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      HAA! I can absolutely see your mom doing that. TLJ was AlGore’s roommate in college… OF COURSE, he’s a jerk!
      .
      Hey, if you run into Popovich TheTrumpHater suckerpunch him for me!

  • Rivlax Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I can only hope my two can be as SUPER CUTE as your two with MKH.
      .
      GO DAWGS tonight!

  • WP Reply
    3 months ago

    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.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      There are several characters in these Robin Hood stories every bit as PURE EVIL as Blue Duck. YIKES! “Good & Evil” have been around since Ever ate that apple … sig, sniff.

  • DM Carpenter Reply
    3 months ago

    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, with an escort of “two Hurricane fighter jets”. Editors asleep at the switch?

    Again, best wishes for the new additions, and Happy New Year.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      Blondie is fascinated by England in the first half of the 20th Century. What they went thru before/after both WWs is impossible for us to imagine… The Blitz etc. I wish we had a Churchill.

      • DM Carpenter Reply
        3 months ago

        BL: I would reccomend to Blondie an older book, DREADNOUGHT (Massie). The book’s focus is naval, through the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods, but it does go deeply into politics of the period, and Victoria’s many children, grandchildren, and the relationships.

  • Bo Reply
    3 months ago

    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 am on the 17th book in that series.

    If you would like books about the early colonization of Africa, try books by Wilbur Smith.

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      “Great minds thinking alike….” Bo. I have read Cornwell’s Last Kingdom and plan to read more… also familiar with Wilbur Smith’s various South Africa series. … all such well-written stories remind us that HUMAN NATURE NEVER CHANGES! Every prominent character in modern times has his/her twin throughout history…

  • BC.PV Reply
    3 months ago

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

    • BobLee Reply
      3 months ago

      I have three more similar “historical sagas” in my listening queue. One about Ancient Egypt, one about Sparta and Thermopalyae and one about a Roman legionnaire. I love studying history thru such stories. The “good ones” include “factual perspective” along with their literary license.
      .
      There truly is a world beyond today’s “sports & politics”. THANK GOODNESS!

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