A Handful of Men Robert Wilder

ISBN: 9780854564132

Published: February 1st 1976



A Handful of Men  by  Robert Wilder

A Handful of Men by Robert Wilder
February 1st 1976 | Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | | ISBN: 9780854564132 | 3.17 Mb

This is from my fathers library. My dad has always loved westerns, spy novels and hard boiled crime/detective novels. When I was growing up I read many of his books. In the past couple of years I have been purposefully re-reading many of those books.I first read this novel in 1984 during Christmas break. It was a hard winter that Christmas and we spent much of our time snowed in.

I read several novels that Christmas. I was sixteen and had not developed a fondness for the occasional western yet. But I picked A Handful Of Men for two reasons. I liked the cover art and the story sounded more interesting than the typical 1950s story of a rugged he-man and the woman/horse that he loves. A handful of Texas Rangers have to prevent a madman from funding an Indian Uprising. Okay.I remember at the time enjoying it. It had a fair amount of action and intrigue with only a minimal amount of romance and a surprisingly bleak ending. Twenty-seven years later I found the same book still on my dads shelves.

Out of curiosity I grabbed it and gave it a read. How has it held up after a quarter of a century, especially one you take into consideration that it was already twenty-five years old in 1984. Well it has aged well.Mr. Wilder was a screenwriter, playwright and popular novelist in the 1950s. His stories were dramatic and larger than life. But ,while many of his stories were real potboilers, (Written on the Wind, Wind from the Carolinas) they were always smartly written and very readable.

As stated earlier Mr. Wilder was a popular/mainstream writer. His objective was to entertain. A Handful Of Men was an unusual book for him however. For while he did write historical fiction he had never ventured into the western territory.

I have to wonder what caused him to write in such a different genre. Perhaps it was something as simple as the fact that it was the late 1950s. The Western genre was very popular and Mr. Wilder was a working writer.Whatever the reasons he turned out a real page-turner. There are many of the cliches and stereotypes that we have come to associate with the genre Mr. Wilder gives an undercurrent of melancholy to the story. Yes its exciting and there is some romance, but this Texas isnt pretty. The inhabitants live a difficult, hardscrabble life and the main protagonist is heroic and noble, but if pushed too far he will engage in unexpected acts of violence and even cruelty.

Also as I stated at the beginning of the novel the ending is what you would expect, but at the last moment Mr. Wilder throws in a subversive twist. Its almost as if he just couldnt allow himself to be enslaved to the dramatic cliches of the western.Its a good read. Out of print since 1970 its strictly a book that you might find in a used bookstore or or the library of your parents or grandparents.

Its a good read. Far above the pulp westerns of Louis LAmour and one that I recommended.

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