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Perhaps the single most "American" of all literatures, westerns have often been ignored as a collectible genre. But various authors have used the western setting not only to retell important stages of American history, but also to explore broader social themes. Thus books such as Shane or The Searchers, in addition to telling exciting narratives, are also classic examinations of lawlessness in conflict with, and evolving into, civilization. Great western authors include Max Brand (under various pseudonyms), Clay Fisher (who also wrote as Will Henry), Zane Gray, Dorothy M. Johnson, Louis L'Amour, Alan Le May, William Colt MacDonald, William MacLeod Raine, and Jack Shaefer. Other authors who are not always associated with the genre have also made important contributions, such as Walter Van Tilburg Clark (The Ox-Bow Incident), Edna Ferber (Cimarron), Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian and The Border Trilogy), and mystery author Elmore Leonard, whose first several books were westerns.


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