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Shane

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A stranger rode out of the heart of the great glowing West, into the small Wyoming valley in the summer of 1889. It was Shane, who appeared on the horizon and became a friend and guardian to the Starrett family at a time when homesteaders and cattle rangers battled for territory and survival. Jack Schaefer’s classic novel illuminates the spirit of the West through the eyes A stranger rode out of the heart of the great glowing West, into the small Wyoming valley in the summer of 1889. It was Shane, who appeared on the horizon and became a friend and guardian to the Starrett family at a time when homesteaders and cattle rangers battled for territory and survival. Jack Schaefer’s classic novel illuminates the spirit of the West through the eyes of a young boy and a hero who changes the lives of everyone around him. Renowned artist Wendell Minor provides stunning images and a moving introduction to this new edition of Shane, the ultimate tale of the Western landscape.


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A stranger rode out of the heart of the great glowing West, into the small Wyoming valley in the summer of 1889. It was Shane, who appeared on the horizon and became a friend and guardian to the Starrett family at a time when homesteaders and cattle rangers battled for territory and survival. Jack Schaefer’s classic novel illuminates the spirit of the West through the eyes A stranger rode out of the heart of the great glowing West, into the small Wyoming valley in the summer of 1889. It was Shane, who appeared on the horizon and became a friend and guardian to the Starrett family at a time when homesteaders and cattle rangers battled for territory and survival. Jack Schaefer’s classic novel illuminates the spirit of the West through the eyes of a young boy and a hero who changes the lives of everyone around him. Renowned artist Wendell Minor provides stunning images and a moving introduction to this new edition of Shane, the ultimate tale of the Western landscape.

30 review for Shane

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Fantastic storytelling. A great classic Western. All the elements needed: - A dark and mysterious stranger - A passionate narrator - The oppression of the little people - The evil cattle Baron - Gunslingers - Clever one liners - Riding off into the sunset Even if you don't like westerns, if you enjoy a good, well-written story I think you will enjoy this one. (also, it isn't very long so it is a nice quick read) Fantastic storytelling. A great classic Western. All the elements needed: - A dark and mysterious stranger - A passionate narrator - The oppression of the little people - The evil cattle Baron - Gunslingers - Clever one liners - Riding off into the sunset Even if you don't like westerns, if you enjoy a good, well-written story I think you will enjoy this one. (also, it isn't very long so it is a nice quick read)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    Ok, it's a great western novel. A classic novel no matter the genre. However, it just can't compare to this dialogue from the George Stevens movie starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin and featuring Jack Palance as gun-for-hire Jack Wilson. Shane: So you're Jack Wilson. Jack Wilson: What's that mean to you, Shane? Shane: I've heard about you. Jack Wilson: What have you heard, Shane? Shane: I've heard that you're a low-down Yankee liar. Jack Wilson: Prove it. All of this spoken in quiet voices full of m Ok, it's a great western novel. A classic novel no matter the genre. However, it just can't compare to this dialogue from the George Stevens movie starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin and featuring Jack Palance as gun-for-hire Jack Wilson. Shane: So you're Jack Wilson. Jack Wilson: What's that mean to you, Shane? Shane: I've heard about you. Jack Wilson: What have you heard, Shane? Shane: I've heard that you're a low-down Yankee liar. Jack Wilson: Prove it. All of this spoken in quiet voices full of menace, as tense as coiled springs. And of course guns are now drawn.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vince

    A gun is a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel-or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good-and as bad-as the man who carries it. That was a helluva story. It has everything I want not only in a western but it has everything that I want in a novel. A story with likeable and believable characters with an astonishing plot to keep you turning the pages. This novel has it all. Although I love the movie with Alan Ladd a tiny bit mor A gun is a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel-or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good-and as bad-as the man who carries it. That was a helluva story. It has everything I want not only in a western but it has everything that I want in a novel. A story with likeable and believable characters with an astonishing plot to keep you turning the pages. This novel has it all. Although I love the movie with Alan Ladd a tiny bit more than this book, I would be lying to myself if I said this book wasn't worth your time because it is and more. It's not a long book at all and depending on your enjoyment, you might read it in one sitting. I didn't though because I wanted to savor it for as long as I could and it genuinely hurts to say goodbye to Shane. I feel like I know him as a real person and that doesn't happen often when I read books these days. My father hates reading and the thought of opening a book on a rainy afternoon instead of watching mindless daytime television is repugnant to him. He loves the movie though so maybe I can convince him that reading can be just as fun as watching a great movie. Fingers crossed. 5 out 5.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Checkman

    A classic that is more than a western. It's also a story about one of the myths of the United States - the heroic Lone Hero on the Frontier. Shane is the embodiment of the Lone Hero; the man who shares the values of civilized society, but has the destructive skills of the outlaw.He rides out of the wilderness to aid the band of pioneers and take on the land-grabbing cattle barons in a violent but satisfying bloodletting. In 2012 this is a cliche, but ,as I have pointed out in the past when revie A classic that is more than a western. It's also a story about one of the myths of the United States - the heroic Lone Hero on the Frontier. Shane is the embodiment of the Lone Hero; the man who shares the values of civilized society, but has the destructive skills of the outlaw.He rides out of the wilderness to aid the band of pioneers and take on the land-grabbing cattle barons in a violent but satisfying bloodletting. In 2012 this is a cliche, but ,as I have pointed out in the past when reviewing older stories, Shane is the archetype. It still has a freshness because it's one of the first of it's type. In reality such men never existed. The real world is more messy. Shane is a mythical individual, but what makes Shane (the character) work so well is that Shane is told from the perspective of a young boy, or at least the memories of a young boy.The narrator is an adult, but he doesn't clutter the account with adult sensibilities. The man Shane is mythical because that is how children see the adults that they admire. There is no cynicism in Shaffer's story. It's an honest and heartfelt telling because that is how we view the world when we are young. Now there are times the writing does verge on being pulpy such as when Shane is confronting the gunfighter brought in by the cattle baron. Here is one small sample. “I’m waiting, Wilson. Do I have to crowd you into slapping leather?” Nevertheless it's very good pulp and even though it was originally sold to Argosy magazine as a serial the story rose above it's origins - which is why it is a classic. Both the novel and the movie. Good......no make that a great story. Even if you don't like westerns try Shane. You won't be sorry.

  5. 4 out of 5

    robin friedman

    Shane For Independence Day Each year for the Fourth of July, I try to review a book that captures something of the spirit of the day and of our country. This year, I chose Jack Schaefer's 1949 book, "Shane" his first novel and the source of the famous 1953 film of the same name, directed by George Stevens, starring Alan Ladd, and with a screenplay by the Western novelist, A.B. Guthrie. I chose this book for Independence Day because of the sense of promise it shows for the United States and becaus Shane For Independence Day Each year for the Fourth of July, I try to review a book that captures something of the spirit of the day and of our country. This year, I chose Jack Schaefer's 1949 book, "Shane" his first novel and the source of the famous 1953 film of the same name, directed by George Stevens, starring Alan Ladd, and with a screenplay by the Western novelist, A.B. Guthrie. I chose this book for Independence Day because of the sense of promise it shows for the United States and because of the book's sense of vision and myth-making, qualities which our country sorely needs in difficult times. Schaefer's novel is set in Wyoming territory in 1889 and is narrated in the first person by Bob Starrett who at the time of the story he tells as an adult was eleven years old. At the outset of the story, Bob is enamored by a mysterious, well-dressed stranger who rides from a distance to the small family farm of his parents, Joe and Marian Starrett. The family are homesteaders trying to establish themselves in a new life. Joe had been a cowboy and the New England born Marian had been a school teacher. "Call me Shane" the lean, tough stranger says as he and the Starretts become acquainted. Shane's past remains mysterious but troubled. He doesn't wear a gun but clearly is not a man to be trifled with. The Starretts and Shane soon establish a bond, with Shane staying on the farm to work as a hired hand while he gazes longingly in the distance at the mountains. The film shows conflict and change among three ways of life: the lonely, romantic wanderer and gunfighter represented by Shane, the rising life of the Western small farm and town of the Starrett's and the life of the rancher, represented by Luke Fletcher and his minions. Fletcher is at war with the farmers who use water and land he needs to graze cattle. When Shane comes into the story he becomes attached to the Starretts and their integrity and search for independence. He becomes fond of young Bob who idolizes the charismatic Shane in return. Shane and Joe Starrett form a bond of mutual respect. Shane and Marian become deeply attracted to each other in a way that is painfully obvious to all. The story involves a fight between Starrett and Shane on the one hand and Fletcher and his hired gun, Stark Wilson, on the other hand. Beginning slowly on the Starrett farm, the novel works to a tense climax and a sharp gunfight in which Shane emerges victorious but severely, likely fatally, wounded. Shane rides off alone and wounded into the mountains telling Bob "Go home to your mother and father. Grow strong and straight and take care of them. Both of them." The novel is short with simple, beautiful writing that would be the envy of many more self-consciously literary book. The romantic gunfighter Shane comes to usher in a new more settled way of life in the West. The change comes with its costs. Shane and his mystery becomes a symbol for the romance of the American way of life while the Starrett's and their fellow homesteaders show an idealized version of settlement, education, and the value of hard work. Bob carries the vision of his youthful encounter with Shane with him throughout his life, and so, in the aim of the novel, should the reader. Many people who have seen the 1953 film are probably unfamiliar with Schaefer's novel. At one time, the book appeared on many high school reading lists. The film follows the book reasonably closely, but reading the book is a treasure of its own. "Shane" is included in an upcoming Library of America volume "The Western: Four Classic Novels of the 1940s and 50s" edited by Ron Hansen as well as in a separate paperback edition. It is an outstanding American novel to get to know and a book which will encourage visionary reflection on the United States and its promise on this Independence Day. Robin Friedman

  6. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    Shane was my father's favorite movie. I remember watching it with him on many occasions. The film remains one of the only positive memories I have of my old man. I was never a fan of westerns, but as a kid who desperately wanted his father's approval (approval that, I might add, would never come; he's been dead since 2011), I'd force myself to consume the things he liked in the hopes that I might become one of those things. And then I grew up and realized my father wasn't someone whose approval I Shane was my father's favorite movie. I remember watching it with him on many occasions. The film remains one of the only positive memories I have of my old man. I was never a fan of westerns, but as a kid who desperately wanted his father's approval (approval that, I might add, would never come; he's been dead since 2011), I'd force myself to consume the things he liked in the hopes that I might become one of those things. And then I grew up and realized my father wasn't someone whose approval I should be concerned with. Still, the film adaptation of this book remains one of my favorite movies, if for no other reason than that it was something I shared with my father. The book itself is terrific and gets my highest recommendation. One final note, an inside look, if you will... People assume that when I say negative reviews don't bother me that my words are nothing but posturing. "Of course he cares about reviews. What author doesn't?" But I mean what I say. And I can thank my father for that. If you hate me and/or my work, that doesn't affect me in the slightest. I find some reasoning silly and others thought-provoking, but I never take reviews to heart because they are opinion not truth. I had to teach myself at an early age that truth and opinion are two different things. I had to for my own mental survival. There I was, winning writing contests and spelling bees and science fairs, and my father took every one of my successes as a slight against him. "Oh, you think you're hot shit because you can read? Well you ain't ever gonna be shit beyond that, so enjoy your fifteen minutes." That's a direct quote from Dad. Classy motherfucker, huh? So what the fuck do I care if you hate me? My own father didn't like me and I turned out just fine. But keep on giving up that free real estate to me in your mind. I'll be over here paying the bills. In summation: This was my first time reading this novella and it certainly will not be my last. It's just long enough. Any more of it would have been to overstay its welcome. I might be a bit biased, though, seeing as how the book speaks to me on a personal level, but I dug it. The writing is fantastic, as well. This is so much more than a dime-store western and it deserves your attention. Final Judgment: Required reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jay Schutt

    Was just reminded of reading this one in school all those years ago. Great story and really enjoyed it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    A deceptively simple tale Review of Kindle edition Publication date: May 14, 2017 Publisher: University of New Mexico Press Language: English ASIN: B0725P6KR2 A great piece of American literature which happens to be a western but is much more than just a well written western story. Even if you have seen the 1953 released movie with Alan Ladd, and maybe even more so if you have, the tension builds as you read until the explosive, but expected, climax is reached. Shane is a man attempting to escape the A deceptively simple tale Review of Kindle edition Publication date: May 14, 2017 Publisher: University of New Mexico Press Language: English ASIN: B0725P6KR2 A great piece of American literature which happens to be a western but is much more than just a well written western story. Even if you have seen the 1953 released movie with Alan Ladd, and maybe even more so if you have, the tension builds as you read until the explosive, but expected, climax is reached. Shane is a man attempting to escape the past but it can't be done. He can't escape himself. He tells the boy, Bob Starrett, "A man is what he is, Bob, and there’s no breaking the mold. I tried that and I’ve lost.". But even as he lost, he won on another level. If you are looking for a Louis L'Amour style western, this isn't it. Jack Schaefer's first novel is an easy to read but powerful, moving novel, not just another western adventure tale. Note: despite what you may see on Goodreads, this is not the critical edition of Shane. Nor, so far as I can tell, is it the pre-1954 text. In 1954 SHANE was supposedly edited to remove offensive words. The only thing I can find in this edition which could be considered even remotely offensive is this passage: "You’re a damn fool, Wright. But what can you expect from a breed?” “That’s a lie!” shouted Ernie. “My mother wasn’t no Indian!” “Why, you crossbred squatter,” Wilson said, quick and sharp, “are you telling me I’m wrong?” “I’m telling you you’re a God-damned liar!” In this passage, Wilson was being deliberately offensive and insulting to goad Ernie into a gunfight. I really don't see how a reader could be offended unless the reader is as hot headed as Ernie. Anyway, this seems to be the edited text.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Good book. This is another where the movie will probably forever more be better known than the novel itself. In this case it's also a good movie..it happens now and then you know. As they say even a blind hog finds an acorn occasionally. Anyway...Shane. The book opens with the (almost stereotypical) dark rider riding through and meeting a family whom he befriends. But if you think about it...this is one or the characters that established the stereotype. So he (Shane) becomes almost a part of said Good book. This is another where the movie will probably forever more be better known than the novel itself. In this case it's also a good movie..it happens now and then you know. As they say even a blind hog finds an acorn occasionally. Anyway...Shane. The book opens with the (almost stereotypical) dark rider riding through and meeting a family whom he befriends. But if you think about it...this is one or the characters that established the stereotype. So he (Shane) becomes almost a part of said family. This novel rests strongly on some very well done character development. You will get to know these people. I can recommend this one to everybody. You know there are Westerns that happen to be good books then there are good books that happen to be Westerns. This is the latter. Enjoy. Recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lesle

    Shane is a remarkable story about a man that wants to deal with his own personal remorse and live a life like Joe does with Marion and their son, Joey. He has a connection with all three but in different ways. Shane helps Joe protect his farm against a man that wants to make the land free range. It all comes down to a fight at the bar against a hired gun. If Shane survives he will have to leave. Shane is a quiet withdrawn man trying to hide what he has done but feels condemned to do the right thi Shane is a remarkable story about a man that wants to deal with his own personal remorse and live a life like Joe does with Marion and their son, Joey. He has a connection with all three but in different ways. Shane helps Joe protect his farm against a man that wants to make the land free range. It all comes down to a fight at the bar against a hired gun. If Shane survives he will have to leave. Shane is a quiet withdrawn man trying to hide what he has done but feels condemned to do the right thing because of his own personal code. Is he stuck in a revolving door of the next town? "There's no living with a killing. There's no going back from it. Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand that sticks." Jack Warren Schaefer was born in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young boy he read many of Zane Grey's works. His first novel was Shane. He studied American History giving a firm background for his own stories. Writing was a way of helping him to remain calm. In 1967 New York Times review of Schaefer's collected novels noted that "Jack Schaefer is not a writer of conventional westerns," instead, they were, "tautly told and tightly constructed," had "additional ingredients that make for complex storytelling."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    I read this book in high school in Sophomore English class. The teacher I had was wonderful,and she was out 8 weeks due to surgery. Thank God she was with us when we read,and discussed this book. I don't really remember the discussion in class much, but I did remember that I loved this book when I was a kid.....then after reading it the first time in 1976....I wondered why she had it on our class roster of novels to read.......so...here I am 2012,and I downloaded it onto my NOOK. I was prepared I read this book in high school in Sophomore English class. The teacher I had was wonderful,and she was out 8 weeks due to surgery. Thank God she was with us when we read,and discussed this book. I don't really remember the discussion in class much, but I did remember that I loved this book when I was a kid.....then after reading it the first time in 1976....I wondered why she had it on our class roster of novels to read.......so...here I am 2012,and I downloaded it onto my NOOK. I was prepared to be disappointed reading it again after all these years,and being so much older, and wiser....supposedly...... Well, after finishing it last night the verdict is in.....I loved it again....I truly did. If you are not a Western novel fan....read this one anyway....it's about fighting for what you truly believe in at all costs,and defending your position on what you think is right.....not spoiling it for anyone....Shane is a role model,and a good one. A good one for young people, like Bob , the young boy in the novel....I think the teacher had us read this novel for that point..... that Shane had some things right in his way of life,and we needed to experience that. I applaud the author for a truly inspiring book for young people with a positive role model...to fight,and fight hard for that you think is right, not worrying about the ramifications of what others think about you, or what you believe in....this novel hits that nail right on the head..... I highly recommend this one. Teachers out there, use this with your students, it has a truly inspiring message,and maybe a message for us wee adults to be reminded of what's the right thing to to do,and what it means to be a "man" or a "woman" due to unsavory situations and people you have to deal with......This novel sends the message that you have to be strong and determined to truly cope with what life throws at you....Shane is truly my hero,and it made me weep to finish those last words on the last page, before bedtime. Folks, the verdict is in......read this one....truly read this one,and enjoy!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    jesus christ, what a beautiful book. i'm tempted to call it holy. there's a part of me that wants to read it every day from now until the end of my life. Where was Shane? I hurried toward the barn. I was almost to it when I saw him out by the pasture. He was staring over it and the grazing steers at the great lonely mountains tipped with the gold of the sun now rushing down behind them. As I watched, he stretched his arms up, the fingers reaching to their utmost limits, grasping and grasping, it jesus christ, what a beautiful book. i'm tempted to call it holy. there's a part of me that wants to read it every day from now until the end of my life. Where was Shane? I hurried toward the barn. I was almost to it when I saw him out by the pasture. He was staring over it and the grazing steers at the great lonely mountains tipped with the gold of the sun now rushing down behind them. As I watched, he stretched his arms up, the fingers reaching to their utmost limits, grasping and grasping, it seemed, at the glory glowing in the sky.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    There's no living with a killing. There's no going back from it. Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand that sticks. There's no going back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her, tell her everything's alright, and there aren't any more guns in the valley. Watched Shane for the 3rd or 4th time over the Christmas (the first time I've seen it since seeing Logan over the summer which referenced extensively) so I thought I'd drop one of my iconic not-read-the-book reviews. Shane is best re There's no living with a killing. There's no going back from it. Right or wrong, it's a brand, a brand that sticks. There's no going back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her, tell her everything's alright, and there aren't any more guns in the valley. Watched Shane for the 3rd or 4th time over the Christmas (the first time I've seen it since seeing Logan over the summer which referenced extensively) so I thought I'd drop one of my iconic not-read-the-book reviews. Shane is best remembered (by me at least) as a film with great scenes (the opening scene, the bar-fight, the final scene) but rewatching it I was struck by how well those scenes were tied together by everything else in between. The cinematography is beautiful, the characters are well-drawn and acted and the tone and feeling throughout the film is great. One of my favourite films from last year, Logan, referenced Shane quite a bit and it's easy to draw parallels between them (especially as Shane is one of the great Western archetypes and Logan was imo more a Western than a Superhero film). While it may be unfair to Logan to criticize it for falling short of an all-time great film (and I'd like to state again that Logan was a great film that does lots of brilliant stuff) there was one area I felt that Logan really suffered in the comparison and that's as a study of violence. Logan made an effort to examine the psychological impact of violence (primarily in how it haunts the Professor and Logan. This, which is a great scene, springs to mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plvBE...) which is admirable but this effort was rather undermined by the constant action-movie violence especially when you have a 12 year old girl somersaulting over people and decapitating them with metal claws. Shane also deals with the psychological and philosophical consequences of violence but the more restrained violence in the film allows it to be done much more skillfully. In Shane, which has less violence than would be allowed in any modern action-oriented film the sparing use of violence makes each encounter feel truly meaningful and lends weight to the idea, without it even having to be said, that violence, and especially killing, is a serious and irreversible matter. Overall Shane's iconic scenes, sympathetic characters, beautifully shot cinematography and deftly handled plot make it a timeless classic. Even after more than 60 years and several viewings it's still one of my favourite films.

  14. 4 out of 5

    George K. Ilsley

    At times overwritten yet somehow manages to rise above its own weight. This critical edition includes movie reviews and other essays, some of which now (in these enlightened times) feel a little dated. My reading of the love triangle differs from that of all but one of the essayists. Joe clearly says to his wife that he knows she is in love with Shane and whatever happens is ok. This does not appear to me to be “competition.” This is acceptance or accommodation. Modern readers might use words li At times overwritten yet somehow manages to rise above its own weight. This critical edition includes movie reviews and other essays, some of which now (in these enlightened times) feel a little dated. My reading of the love triangle differs from that of all but one of the essayists. Joe clearly says to his wife that he knows she is in love with Shane and whatever happens is ok. This does not appear to me to be “competition.” This is acceptance or accommodation. Modern readers might use words like bromance, polyamory, or “it’s complicated”. Is that what the author intended? Who knows, but the love triangle element of this old school western can feel quite modern; even if the critics are uptight and rigid.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marquise

    Splendid little novella, one of the very few told from a child's first person POV that managed to convey the plot with the adequate doses of childish hero-worshipping while still staying realistic, to pull at heart's strings and yet manage to end satisfyingly. Memorable character, too. Why don't they write Westerns like this anymore? Splendid little novella, one of the very few told from a child's first person POV that managed to convey the plot with the adequate doses of childish hero-worshipping while still staying realistic, to pull at heart's strings and yet manage to end satisfyingly. Memorable character, too. Why don't they write Westerns like this anymore?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alan Cotterell

    When I was a lot younger the film of this book was always on TV, and I used to love it. For a change the film is a fairly good representation of the book. I highly recommend this even if you are not a big fan of Westerns, read this classic story. It is a very well written story of good over evil, morals, mysterious dark strangers, even the cliche of riding off into the sunset.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    What a fantastic story! I read it years ago & remembered liking it & the movie a lot, but so many books are disappointing on a reread decades later. This is NOT one. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, reading it from two entirely different age perspectives just made it even better. Yes, it's a western & the type of story has been done to death, but this 1949 book is one of the trend setters. It's so concise & well written, too. Highly recommended. This time around, I listened to it & Grover Gardner did What a fantastic story! I read it years ago & remembered liking it & the movie a lot, but so many books are disappointing on a reread decades later. This is NOT one. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, reading it from two entirely different age perspectives just made it even better. Yes, it's a western & the type of story has been done to death, but this 1949 book is one of the trend setters. It's so concise & well written, too. Highly recommended. This time around, I listened to it & Grover Gardner did a great job.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Boydstun

    Contains minor spoilers Loved this book from beginning to end for two primary reasons: First, Schaefer has an elegant and simple style that is, much like the story itself, quintessentially American: relatively short declarative sentences, the sparing and precise use of modifiers, and the brief and intense focus on those aspects of characterization and setting that highlight common themes and images in American fiction (but themes that are also timeless and universal). Some of these themes include Contains minor spoilers Loved this book from beginning to end for two primary reasons: First, Schaefer has an elegant and simple style that is, much like the story itself, quintessentially American: relatively short declarative sentences, the sparing and precise use of modifiers, and the brief and intense focus on those aspects of characterization and setting that highlight common themes and images in American fiction (but themes that are also timeless and universal). Some of these themes include man versus nature, the lone gunslinger with a checkered and mysterious past, the abuse of power and the power to control that abuse, coming of age, and pride. I found myself continually amazed at Schaefer’s ability to provide such vivid descriptions while using so little language. I was also impressed with his ability to efficiently build a story around some rather profound philosophical and ethical issues without diminishing the import of those issues by editorializing or having the characters ruminate on them; the issues are presented in plain fashion and the reader is left to determine their weight and relevance based on the facts of the story. Furthermore, Shaefer is very deliberate and precise with his pacing, his organization and his structuring of the story, so that once, for example, the issue of justifiable violence is introduced, it is always present, even when it is not written about or spoken of by the characters. In brief, it’s amazing how much content Shaefer packs into such a short story. Second, this story is noteworthy for what Shaefer doesn’t pack into it. As a writer, Shaefer understands what a story needs to be successful: an interesting storyline, an interesting set of characters, and an interesting stage upon which everything will be acted out. As for the storyline, there is so much that is hidden from the reader, but this is what makes the story so savory. From beginning to end, the mystery of Shane is preserved. He is and remains an enigma, a cypher. In many ways, he comes to embody the mythos of the old West, a place that is both beautiful and dangerous, a place whose origins are contested and its future unclear (something also represented by the feud between the farmers, a group attempting to lay down roots, and Fletcher, the itinerant cattle baron). The true nature of the relationship between Shane and Marion is also portrayed in an ambivalent fashion. Much is said between them but even more is said in the looks and in the silences that pass between these two characters. Similarly, much of the real dialogue between Shane and Joe remains unspoken. Fletcher also remains the reclusive villain, only making a brief appearance at the end, and the true motives of why the characters do what they do (why, for example, is Wilson such a cold-blooded killer; why does Chris have a change of heart at the end?) remains vague. This makes the characters interesting because they remain individuals with private lives that readers are denied access to; it keeps the characters human and preserves their dignity, the latter of which is an important theme in the novel. To conclude, this is a wonderful novel that moves at a brisk pace, that is filled with drama and expectation, and that is superbly written. A book that everyone should read at some point.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book surprised me. I never pegged myself as one who would enjoy a Western read, although I've enjoyed Western movies and have enjoyed books about pioneers and homesteaders and those who settled the frontier during the westward expansion of the US. I found myself drawn to keep reading and thinking on the story more often that I'd expected. I think one thing that made the difference was that the events of the book were seen through the eyes of Bob, an impressionable young man, practically a b This book surprised me. I never pegged myself as one who would enjoy a Western read, although I've enjoyed Western movies and have enjoyed books about pioneers and homesteaders and those who settled the frontier during the westward expansion of the US. I found myself drawn to keep reading and thinking on the story more often that I'd expected. I think one thing that made the difference was that the events of the book were seen through the eyes of Bob, an impressionable young man, practically a boy. I saw the strength he admired in Shane, a stranger with so much unknown and the strength he saw in his father and his mother in the face of great adversity. I knew he would grow up solid and strong because of what he witnessed over the course of the novel, and that his whole family was strengthened from the impact Shane had on them. Not to go into too much detail with the plot, it's enough to say that this book idealizes the value of hard work, honest work, and leadership. At the same time, there is a kind of awe in seeing the strength and skill possessed by Shane. He is a man who knows how to fight (and fight well), when to fight, he becomes one with his horse, and one with his gun. But his real strength shows in that he doesn't rely on his weapon. He leaves his gun in the barn for most of the book. His strength lies in the confidence of this character. There is a lot unsaid in this book but that is because we are limited to Bob's viewpoint, and he doesn't always understand what is going on or what is being hinted at. At times when I was reading, I really wanted to know the hidden meaning being hinted at, and I felt sheltered, much as Bob did, and I can only imagine at what the author meant by what he wrote.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ward

    This is the book I grew up with, having it read to me as a boy. It is an American classic and considered one of the great Westerns in league only with Lonesome Dove. This is THE novel from which the wester movie genre was created. The dark hero with a mixed and unstated past, the western town with a struggle raging between migrant farmers and cattle ranchers, the hired guns and dark saloons all comprise elements of this short story. This is THE story that gave birth to the image of the laconic co This is the book I grew up with, having it read to me as a boy. It is an American classic and considered one of the great Westerns in league only with Lonesome Dove. This is THE novel from which the wester movie genre was created. The dark hero with a mixed and unstated past, the western town with a struggle raging between migrant farmers and cattle ranchers, the hired guns and dark saloons all comprise elements of this short story. This is THE story that gave birth to the image of the laconic cowboy - but does so by revealing adulthood through the eyes of the narrator, a young boy who wants to be a man and is torn between idols - the grace of his gentle but strong father and the violence and danger of an honrable but displaced drifter. The first few pages alone are one vivid and unforgetable description of Shane, an unknown cowboy as he rides up a long road in the summer sun to the shade of a tree. This is the book that taught a generation of American men, what it was to be strong and proud - and could only have been written by an American in America. It must be understood that what today may appear cliche is in fact the original gold standard from which the cliche poorly copied. I recommend this book to everyone, boys, girls, men and women. Moreover I recommend this edition. The original story being roughly 150 pages, this edition provides twice that in contextual information concerning this stories creation, its impact on American culture and the idealistic image of an american culture it represents. This book is a must read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Crow

    Recently I came across something written by Jack Schaefer and decided to read Shane. This is such a powerful book, simply told through the eyes of a boy. Shane is a man of mythic proportions. He rides into town and into the lives of the Starrett family and soon becomes indispensable. The Starrett family is faced with ranchers trying to drive them out of their farms. Violence becomes the only solution when the ranchers make it clear they’ll kill the homesteaders. Shane knows he’s the only one who Recently I came across something written by Jack Schaefer and decided to read Shane. This is such a powerful book, simply told through the eyes of a boy. Shane is a man of mythic proportions. He rides into town and into the lives of the Starrett family and soon becomes indispensable. The Starrett family is faced with ranchers trying to drive them out of their farms. Violence becomes the only solution when the ranchers make it clear they’ll kill the homesteaders. Shane knows he’s the only one who can save the day. This short, but wonderful book paints an extraordinary picture of the Old West, but it does something else: it gives deep insight into the men and women brave enough to settle there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    P.J. MacNamara

    Those of you who were surprised to see me reviewing "The Big Sleep" will doubtless be even more surprised to see me reviewing this. The reasons why I actually read this, c.1981, are now lost in the mists of time, but I do recall I got it out of the school library in response to something my English teacher had said in class. Mr Thompson was kind of my hero. Kind of a role model. The kind of a guy I wished my Dad could have been more like. I don't even like westerns as a general rule. Not even we Those of you who were surprised to see me reviewing "The Big Sleep" will doubtless be even more surprised to see me reviewing this. The reasons why I actually read this, c.1981, are now lost in the mists of time, but I do recall I got it out of the school library in response to something my English teacher had said in class. Mr Thompson was kind of my hero. Kind of a role model. The kind of a guy I wished my Dad could have been more like. I don't even like westerns as a general rule. Not even western films for the most part. Certainly not western books. But hey! I read it, and it was actually pretty good. The bit I remember is the two men digging the troublesome tree stump out of the ground. It took all day and involved a lot of sweating and cussing, but it was worth it. It is still so vivid in my memory sometimes I remember it as if I was there helping them. Or at least watching them and offering words of encouragement. Such strange things we do when we're kids, eh? I still can't believe I read this. And I was the only one that did. I wonder what that says about me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rich Flanders

    ‘’You don’t know if he’s a devil or an angel, if he’s real, or not.’’ Those cryptic words from my cousin hooked me good. In the summer of 1954 I was a budding teenager, and as soon as I could, I picked up the 25 cent paperback at the drugstore and read it all the long drive from Illinois to California. Shane’s mythic presence embedded my early adolescence and beyond, and that beautiful fable became one of the seminal books in my life. The story seems primordial, tapping into deep emotions, and ‘’You don’t know if he’s a devil or an angel, if he’s real, or not.’’ Those cryptic words from my cousin hooked me good. In the summer of 1954 I was a budding teenager, and as soon as I could, I picked up the 25 cent paperback at the drugstore and read it all the long drive from Illinois to California. Shane’s mythic presence embedded my early adolescence and beyond, and that beautiful fable became one of the seminal books in my life. The story seems primordial, tapping into deep emotions, and is so simply and masterfully written that it has become an indelible part of American literature and culture. I still have that original paperback with its gripping portrait on the cover of a rider in a tattered black suit. When I finally saw the George Stevens film, re-issued almost a decade later at a San Francisco ‘’arts cinema,’’ I was for a moment bothered that the filmmakers hadn’t adhered to the dark images of that cover painting, but the movie’s overwhelming impact quickly neutralized that concern. In fact, the film is the masterpiece of a director with a distinguished list of films that includes ‘’A Place in the Sun,’’ ‘’I Remember Mama’’ and ‘’The Diary of Anne Frank.’’ The poet, Carl Sandburg, perfectly captured the experience of watching ‘’Shane.’’ He said, ‘’The whole thing seems to be happening at the bottom of a clear deep pool.’’ It’s a case where the movie version of a fine book turns out to be equally fine. Both, deservedly, have become classics. You can’t pinpoint all the elements that make a classic. There’s an ineffable quality that eludes us, and the author himself, knowing he has entered the realm of legend and myth, sums it up in that last great, breathless, unpunctuated sentence - ‘’He was the man who rode into our little valley out of the heart of the great glowing West and when his work was done rode back whence he had come and he was Shane.’’

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I'm not a fan of Westerns as a genre, yet I loved this book back in 1968 when I first read it as a sophomore in high school. Since then, I've seen the movie multiple times, and it was time to re-read the book (especially after I recommended it to a young man who isn't a big reader). As an adult, I was drawn to the descriptions of Shane as he wrestles with his demons and angels. I still love the book, although now, in my mind's eye, I see Van Heflin as Joe Starrett, Jean Arthur as Marian, Brandon I'm not a fan of Westerns as a genre, yet I loved this book back in 1968 when I first read it as a sophomore in high school. Since then, I've seen the movie multiple times, and it was time to re-read the book (especially after I recommended it to a young man who isn't a big reader). As an adult, I was drawn to the descriptions of Shane as he wrestles with his demons and angels. I still love the book, although now, in my mind's eye, I see Van Heflin as Joe Starrett, Jean Arthur as Marian, Brandon DeWilde as Bob (named Joey in the movie), and, of course, Alan Ladd as Shane.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robin Lee Hatcher

    A recent discussion with friends about the classic movie version of Shane made me decide it was time to read the book. I'm glad I did. The writing and the story is strong. Next time I watch the movie, I'm going to see it through fresh eyes. A recent discussion with friends about the classic movie version of Shane made me decide it was time to read the book. I'm glad I did. The writing and the story is strong. Next time I watch the movie, I'm going to see it through fresh eyes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Malum

    The granddaddy of the "A dark stranger rides into town" Western, which became something of a genre itself. This is a classic, and for good reason. Love, friendship, gunplay, and good vs. evil are all here. It's all you could want from any story. The granddaddy of the "A dark stranger rides into town" Western, which became something of a genre itself. This is a classic, and for good reason. Love, friendship, gunplay, and good vs. evil are all here. It's all you could want from any story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linds

    A very short, simple, sparse and surprisingly touching story. Shane is a stranger that is a vicious fighter with a gentle soul that puts his life on the line for his adopted family. Shane launched a thousand copy cats and I appreciated the original.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    SHANE!!! What a man! This is one of those reads where I saw the movie, liked it and thought, hell why not give the book a go? Glad I did, it's a solid portrait of a "modern day" knight. The drifter with a code of ethics and a way about him that everyone admires. SHANE!!! What a man! This is one of those reads where I saw the movie, liked it and thought, hell why not give the book a go? Glad I did, it's a solid portrait of a "modern day" knight. The drifter with a code of ethics and a way about him that everyone admires.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Not a fan of westerns, never seen the movie with Alan Ladd, and had my doubts as to whether this 1949 title should be kept. It should. I haven't decided on a reader for it yet, because the first half of the book is a lyrical character study of a drifter who arrives at a farm in Wyoming in 1889. While the family is happy, trouble is brewing. The father hires Shane to help with the work, and ends up getting more help than he bargains from the enigmatic stranger whose every move whispers "danger". Onc Not a fan of westerns, never seen the movie with Alan Ladd, and had my doubts as to whether this 1949 title should be kept. It should. I haven't decided on a reader for it yet, because the first half of the book is a lyrical character study of a drifter who arrives at a farm in Wyoming in 1889. While the family is happy, trouble is brewing. The father hires Shane to help with the work, and ends up getting more help than he bargains from the enigmatic stranger whose every move whispers "danger". Once we find out that the evil rancher Fletcher is trying to take over all the small farms in the area using Wild West tactics (Won't sell your land? Fine. We'll just shoot and kill you.), we see how useful Shane is. Told from the point of view of the young son, this is more a look into what it takes to "be a man" and stand up for what is right than it is a shoot-em-up western, although the action picks up halfway through the book and there are a lot of bar room brawls and gun battles. I have to see the movie now, and someone must read this. It is a difficult book, though-- the father and Shane are both trying to do what is best for the family, even though it might be hard for them personally. I found Shane's sacrifice a touching change from the modern depiction of family interactions. As much a product of the 1950s as the 1890s, Shane's character is a vanished piece of Americana worth preserving.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shell The Belle

    Read this in High School when I was about 14 - loved it then - cant remember too many details now, but I remember how much I loved it and couldn't wait for English lessons, and how good the writing was, drawing us all in. Even the lads in the class got into the discussions. I Remember the fight scenes were quite graphic, and how Shane came across as more than a bit of a toughie. Read this in High School when I was about 14 - loved it then - cant remember too many details now, but I remember how much I loved it and couldn't wait for English lessons, and how good the writing was, drawing us all in. Even the lads in the class got into the discussions. I Remember the fight scenes were quite graphic, and how Shane came across as more than a bit of a toughie.

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