Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove by Bill Wittliff

I've always loved westerns. Growing up, my Dad was a big fan of True West magazine (which I devoured), and when I was old enough I graduated to the writings of Louis L'Amour, where I always felt right at home.

A friend of mine loaned me this book because he's a big fan of Lonesome Dove, and I am too (who isn't?) . The visual imagery in these photos truly make you feel like you have stepped back in time. This is fine art photography that is worlds apart from ordinary production stills. And this is the thing you have to remember about Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry's epic tale of two aging Texas Rangers who drive a herd of stolen cattle 2,500 miles from the Rio Grande to Montana to found the first ranch there. It captured the imagination of the public. When it was published in 1985, it became a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize. More than two decades after its publication, it still sells tens of thousands of copies every year. The miniseries, which first aired in 1989 on CBS garnered an even wider audience. Twenty-six million households watched the premier episode, and millions more have watched each time the movie was rerun on TV, video, or DVD. The miniseries was nominated for eighteen Emmy Awards and won seven. It also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Miniseries and Best Actor; a Peabody Award; the D. W. Griffith Award for Best Television Series; National Association of Television Critics Awards for Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Drama; and the Writers' Guild of America Award for Best Teleplay.

This book brings the sweeping visuals of the miniseries to the printed page. These photos are reminiscent of the cowboy photographs of Erwin Smith and the Western paintings of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. A definite feast for the eyes, and if you are a western lover, a feast for your soul too.

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