Best of the Wild Westfrom the publisher of Wild West Magazine, CowlesHistory Group, Leesburg, Va., 1996, $16.95 hardback.
Wild West the magazine is plenty colorful for three reasons. First, it chronicles a frontier full of exciting characters. Second, it displays some splendid Western artwork, color maps and other color images among its many illustrations. Third, many of its advertisements are in color. Best of the Wild West, the first book published by the people who put out that popular history magazine, is colorful for one reason–those amazing characters! Quanah Parker, George Armstrong Custer, Killin’ Jim Miller, Davy Crockett, Jesse and Frank James, Nana, John Slaughter, Kit Carson, Nelson Story and Bill Doolin are just some of the folks featured in this 280-page book. “The 30 wild but true stories presented in this collection are among the best articles ever to appear in Wild West Magazine,” writes editor Gregory Lalire in the introduction. Several of the stories have been honored in the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award competition. Robert Barr Smith (four of his stories are included), Don Worcester, Nancy Peterson and Ben Traywick are among the 22 writers who keep the thrilling days of yesteryear thrilling. Having all these intriguing tales of cowboys, Indians, outlaws, soldiers, soldiers’ wives and westbound emigrants in one volume is sure to be a reading bonanza for anyone who has a general interest in the Old West and who can be entertained without pictures (moving or otherwise) or commercial messages.