Building Your Western Library

Western Writers of America President Sherry Monahan Shares Her Love of Books

Sherry-Monahan-western-writerSherry Monahan admits she didn’t read her first Western until she was in her thirties—she was hooked on Agatha Christie. A native of New Jersey, she credits her father’s love of all things Western, to her lifelong fascination with the West.

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On the Edge of the West with Max McCoy

Max-McCoy_The-Spirit-is-WillingA Kansas native, the WWA Spur award-winning novelist Max McCoy was raised on the edge of the American prairie between Baxter Springs, Kansas, and the Kansas-Missouri borderlands of Joplin and the Ozarks. McCoy, an associate professor of journalism and director of the Tallgrass Writing Workshop at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, was an investigative reporter at The Pittsburg Morning Sun and The Joplin Globe for many years before entering academics.

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Jeffrey Richardson’s favorite reads

Raised in Georgia, Jeffrey Richardson, the Autry National Center’s Gamble curator of Western History, Popular Culture and Firearms, is passionate about the intersection of history and popular culture in the West.

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Paul Cool: History Sleuth on the Trail of the Truth

DEC14_BYWLPaul Cool is an investigative historian, with the knowledge of a trained attorney and the experience to seek the truth in the details after more than three decades of public service in the Social Security Administration.

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Max Evans’s Favorite Nature Reads

max-evan-animal-stories-life-time-collectionWestern artist and award-winning author Max Evans, best known for his novels The Rounders, Hi Lo Country, One Eyed Sky and Bluefeather Fellini, as well as nonfiction favorites Madam Millie and For the Love of Horse, is set to publish his 27th book, Animal Stories: A Lifetime Collection, with University of Oklahoma Press this September.

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True West’s “Old West Savior” Lynda A. Sánchez Shares Her Love of Good Books

Nov-2014-Images-for-Posts/Books/Lynda-Sanchez-BYWLTeaching is her vocation. Preservation is her passion. History is her muse. Lynda A. Sánchez, who moved to Lincoln, New Mexico, over 40 years ago, has pursued her vocation, passion and muse to their fullest extent.

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Top Five Koblas Reads

jack-kobias_legendary-western-writerAt any moment, Minnesota native John J. “Jack” Koblas was likely to break out into an animated talk about baseball, Science Fiction, Horror or Western literature, or even into a song. After all, his post-high school band, the Magpies, was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 2007. But get him into a conversation about Jesse James, and he was off and running.

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Historian Jack L. August’s Reading List Reflects His Love Of The West

Jack-in-his-front-yard-BYWLDr. Jack August Jr. is an academic and public historian of the American West. Raised in Arizona, August says, “You always had a sense of optimism growing up in Phoenix.” He began his love affair with the history of the West under the tutelage of Yale University’s renowned Western historian and president emeritus Howard R. Lamar.

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Andrew J. Fenady’s post-civil war reads

The man who wrote the classic John Wayne Western Chisum has a new novel out featuring his Johnny Yuma character from the 1959 TV show he created, The Rebel.

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Gritty Realism Inspires Western Author Michael Zimmer’s Love of the West

Michael-Zimmer---May,-2014__RR_scaledAuthor Michael Zimmer was raised in Colorado, where he learned to break horses at a young age. Later, after his family moved to Indiana, he dreamt of returning to the West, which he and his wife did when they moved to Utah three-decades ago. And like many writers, he held many jobs as he pursued his dream of being a full-time author.

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Charlie Daniels’ Favorite L’Amour Novels

charlie-daniels_book-review_l-amourSome of the greatest conversations of my life have been the ones I was blessed to share with Louis L’Amour.

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Edwin R. Sweeney’s Passion for the West Revealed

BYWL_Edwin-R.-Sweeney_Cochise--Chiricahua-Apache-ChiefCochise biographer Edwin R Sweeney fell in love with the West like a lot of us: through television and a good school library.

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Billie Bierer’s Buffalo soldier Reads

In her novel The Audacity of Patience Levi, Billie Bierer based her lead character on the female Buffalo Soldier Cathy Williams. Shared here are some Buffalo Soldier reads she found useful for her research. Find out how the author got interested in Williams’s story and more at

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Chris Enss’s recommended reads

Chris-Enss-BYWLAward-winning author Chris Enss finds inspiration every day from the men and women who built the American West.

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Matt Braun Picks


Remarking that “These books light the way to deeper research on Western characters and events,” ace storyteller Matt Braun shares some of the reference material that informs his own research and makes good reading in their own right.

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Peter Iverson on Navajo History

Professor-Of-History_ASU_Peter-Iverson_Navajo-HistoryArizona State University Regents’ Professor of History (Emeritus) Peter Iverson has written for decades about the West. Although officially retired, he continues to mentor current and former students, 50 of whom earned their A.S.U. Ph.D. under his direction.

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Phil Collins’s Top Five Alamo Reads

phil-collins_alamo-model_book reviewsHe’s sold more than 200 million records, and he’s a lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, but what we like most about Phil Collins is that he is a devotee to all things Alamo. His book, The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey, was issued earlier this year.

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Ann Kirschner’s Favorite Reads

MAR14-BYWLAnn Kirschner, university dean of Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York, is a strong and determined historian who finds inspiration from her subjects—and inspires us with their life stories.

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J.A. Johnstone Picks

j-a-johnstone_favorite book_true westWell, four from 2012, plus a timeless classic. Anytime Shane shows up on a list, the rest of the bunch has to be top-notch storytelling.

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Jay Dusard’s Favorite Reads

Jay-Dusard-the-north-american-cowboy-a-portraitArtist, writer, horseman, musician, teacher, Jay Dusard, who lives in his beloved borderland country near Douglas, Arizona, is known internationally for his large-format, black and white landscape photography. He is equally renowned for his acclaimed The North American Cowboy: A Portrait, which resulted from his 1981 Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Guns, Guts & Glory

arry-mcmurtry_western-author-lonesome-doveTrue West is setting out on a mission to help you find the best books, on a multitude of subjects, that depict this great frontier era in American history.

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True West Site Guide


True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!

Product of the Month

The Illustrated Life and Times of Wyatt Earp

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