Easterns and Westerns

Michigan State University Press
 ISBN 0870135724

Click here to read the entire short story, “The Attack On the Mountain” which is one of 14 stories in this volume by Glendon Swarthout, still available in hard cover from Michigan State University Press for $26.95 plus shipping (order from their website msupress.msu.edu). This same Western story, which first ran in The Saturday Evening Post on July 4, 1959, Miles Swarthout forty-four years later greatly expanded into his Spur-winning first novel, The Sergeant’s Lady, from Forge Books in 2003. That novel is available in hard cover and paperback from on-line booksellers, abebooks.com and alibris.com, as well as Barnes and Noble used books.  

Easterns & WesternsEasterns & Westerns is best-selling novelist Glendon Swarthout's very last book and only short story collection. It includes 13 stories and one unpublished novella, some of which have appeared earlier in national magazines like Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and the Saturday Evening Post. One of these, "A Glass of Blessings," was an O' Henry Prize Short Story for 1960. Another, "A Horse For Mrs. Custer," became a 1956 Western film for Columbia Pictures -- 7th Cavalry, starring Randolph Scott and Barbara Hale. A third story, "Mulligans", has been made into a hit short comedy film by the author's son and editor of this volume, Miles. Mulligans! stars Tippi Hedren and Marsha Rodd and has played in 40 film festivals around the world and aired numerous times on the Women's Entertainment (WE) cable TV channel. But six of these short stories have never appeared before in print.

This collection also includes a brief autobiography Glendon wrote, and his short speech to the Western Writers of America upon receiving their Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1991. The author's son, Miles, has written an Afterword covering his father's literary career and placing these stories in the context of Glendon's novels, including the short stories which prefigured two of his most famous books --Where the Boys Are and Bless the Beasts and Children.

Glendon Swarthout had the widest literary range of any American author of his generation, writing 16 novels, which ranged from Cadbury's Coffin dramas to comedies to romances and mysteries, and another 6 novellas for teenagers with his wife, Kathryn. Many of his novels became international bestsellers and book club editions, reprinted in paperback editions innumerable times. You will find them in bookstores and libraries all over the world.

Dr. Swarthout's stories have also proven to be quite filmic, as exemplified by the two stories in this collection that have already been filmed. Dip into these tales, from dramas to tragedies to laugh-out-loud comedies, about everybody from teenagers in a bloody mess on their high school graduation night, to college kids on summer vacation, to middle-aged baseball players in spring training, to aging golf widows on a midnight bender and decide for yourself just how good a storyteller he was, with an amazing range of literary styles and subjects. You're in for a treat, enjoying a fine sampling of fiction by one of the 20th century's very best storytellers.

Reviews

"The posthumous Easterns and Westerns includes a novella and 13 stories by Glendon Swarthout, author of 16 novels including The Shootist and Where The Boys Are. His darkly humorous "Death to Everybody Over Thirty" tracks a student's guilt and indignation when he returns home for the funeral of a friend killed in Viet Nam. The O'Henry Prize-winning "A Glass of Blessings" finds a group of spoiled college kids drinking their way through Europe on a cruise ship. Spanning more than 30 years, this collection is an excellent introduction to Swarthout, highlighting his remarkable versatility." Publishers Weekly

"A collection of the only short fiction Glendon Swarthout ever wrote, Easterns and Westerns illustrates the heroic and gritty themes that characterize Swarthout's longer fiction. My personal favorite is "A Horse For Mrs. Custer," in which the reader sees the disarray of the Seventh Cavalry after the massacre at the Little Big Horn through the eyes of a young officer new to the regiment. It reveals the division between those who believed Custer to be a hero and those who saw him as a fool and a butcher. It also paints a portrait of a Captain who should have been leading I Troop at the battle but did not.

'On the one hand, he must have hated Custer for sending him away and denying him the chance a soldier seldom has, the chance to die a hero. That part of him must have blamed the general for the disaster, despised him as much as did young Alvin Thadius and many of the recruits. On the other hand, the instinct to survive which is strong in any man must have made him grateful to his commander for having spared his life.'

Each of Swarthout's stories, both those about the East and those set in the West, are equally stunning in theme and plot. A wonderful collection, sure to appeal to both Western fans and general readers."
Doris R. Meredith, The Globe-News, Amarillo, Texas

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