Thursday, May 28, 2015

Zane Grey's "The Man Of The Forest"... A Book Review

Last year (or perhaps the year before...) while commuting to work early in the morning I sat next to a fellow commuter. We started talking about life and the things people who don't know each other talk about on the way to work while riding in a bus.

His name was Zane Grey.

Of course, he wasn't the Zane Grey, author of The Man of the Forest," and other books, but they shared the name. I asked Zane if he had read any books written by the man with the same name as his. He said he had read several. He asked me if I had read any Zane Grey books. I said I'd read none. I'm not the biggest fan of westerns--I like them, but just don't read them very often. The conversation that day between myself and Mr. Grey convinced me I should read a Zane Grey book if I ever got the chance. A few months later while in a used book store I came across The Man of the Forest and so I bought it.

This week I finished it. I can definitely understand why the author was and is popular.

The premise behind this book is not that involved. Bad guys conspire to steal a ranch from a young woman recently arrived to take over her dying uncle's property. Loaner horseman rescues the woman and her younger sister and takes them to his mountain hideaway. Uncle dies, the woman takes ownership then the bad guys kick her off the ranch and "Western Justice" is called upon to make things right. There's more to the story, of course, but that's the basic idea.

I'm sure the comparisons between Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour will not cease anytime soon. The men were contemporaries and they both popularized the western genre for millions of readers. I've read a couple of L'Amour books and I found Grey's style more flowery, more embellishing. You can get lost in the words more than in L'Amour's books, at least, I felt that way.

The edition I read included a forward from Loren Grey in which he talked about how this book focused on the theory of evolution. It was said by Loren Grey that many people learned about evolution from this book, perhaps than from Darwin's The Evolution of Species. I suppose that type of information is in the book, but the forward gave me the impression the book would be different, more clinical somehow.

If you like westerns with definite good guys, bad guys and beautiful descriptions of amazing scenery, give this one a try. I'm sure you'll like it.

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