The Shootist

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University of Nebraska Press, 2011 - Fiction - 215 pages
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By the author of The Homesman, now a major motion picture   The Shootist is John Bernard Books, a gunfighter at the turn of the twentieth century who must confront the greatest Shootist of all: Death. Most men would end their days in bed or take their own lives, but a gunfighter has a third option, one that Books decides to exercise. He may choose his own executioner.
As word spreads that the famous assassin has incurable cancer, an assortment of human vultures gathers to feast on the corpse—among them a gambler, a rustler, a clergyman, an undertaker, an old love, a reporter, even an admiring teenager. What follows is the last courageous act in Books’s own legend.
This classic, Spur Award–winning novel was chosen by the Western Writers of America as one of the best western novels ever written and was the inspiration for John Wayne’s last great starring role in the acclaimed 1976 film adaptation. The Bison Books edition includes a new introduction by the author’s son, Miles Swarthout, in which he discusses his father’s work and the making of the legendary film.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how the book turned out.
Published in 1958 I was at first disappointed it its formulaic start- but by the end Swarthout introduces violence and dispair, embarrassment
and as noire a denouement as any Jim Thompson novel.
Horses, gunfights and sex- what more could you ask from a Western?

Review: The Shootist

User Review  - Dave - Goodreads

Great story and great reader. Heavy disclaimers for language and intimate descriptions. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

A prolific writer in multiple genres, Glendon Swarthout (1918 92) won the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Western Writers of America and is now in their Hall of Fame. His novels include The Homesman and The Old Colts. Miles Swarthout is the author of The Sergeant s Lady and the editor of Glendon Swarthout s short story collection, Easterns and Westerns. He is also a screenwriter who adapted his father s book for the movie The Shootist.

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