John Jakes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of such acclaimed historical novels as North and South and The Kent Family Chronicles has long been both a fan and a distinguished author of novels and stories of the American West. Now, with the turning of the millennium, he has compiled in one volume a century's worth of his favorite Western fiction.
To illustrate the evolution of the genre, Jakes has included such legendary authors as Owen Wister, Louis L'Amour, and Zane Grey along side their more contemporary peers such as Loren Estleman and Elmer Kelton. While the stories have changed over the years, certain timeless themes of Western fiction remain constant. At the heart of the stories are ideas that have become synonymous with the American dream---the frontier spirit, individual freedoms, and man's relationship with the land.
A Century of Great Western Stories is essentially a retrospective of western writing over the past century, but Jakes also sets out to give readers a glimpse of what the future might hold for western fiction. While trends in publishing might not always be promising, the current crop of contemporary Western authors show that the old west will always have a place in the world of fiction. Like the American dream which it celebrates, Western fiction will perservere.
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