The Greatest "Historical fiction, Westerns" Books of All Time

Click to learn how this list is calculated.

This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 313 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

Filter by: Genres Dates Countries
Follow on:

Genres

Historical fiction

Historical fiction is a genre of literature that combines fictional stories with real historical events, settings, and characters. These books often take place in a specific time period and are based on research and factual information, but also include imaginative elements to create a compelling narrative. Historical fiction allows readers to experience the past in a unique and engaging way, while also providing insight into the social, cultural, and political issues of the time.

Westerns

Westerns is a genre of literature that typically features stories set in the American Old West during the late 19th century. These books often include themes of adventure, conflict, and survival in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. They typically feature cowboys, gunslingers, outlaws, and lawmen, and explore the themes of justice, honor, and morality. Westerns are known for their vivid descriptions of the western landscape, the rugged individualism of their characters, and their portrayal of the American frontier as a place of both danger and opportunity.

Add additional genre filters

Countries

Date Range

Filter

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download
  1. 1. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

    Set in the mid-19th century, this novel follows a violent teenager known as "the Kid" as he joins a group of Indian-hunters led by the enigmatic and brutal Judge Holden. The narrative is a gruesome depiction of the lawless American West, filled with philosophical musings, vivid descriptions of the harsh landscape, and brutal, relentless violence. The story explores themes of human nature, morality, and the inherent chaos and brutality of life.

    The 217th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

    The book tells the story of two retired Texas Rangers who embark on a perilous cattle drive from Texas to Montana in the 1870s. The narrative focuses on the duo's adventures and the characters they meet along the way, including a variety of outlaws, Indians, and settlers. This epic tale of the Old West explores themes of friendship, unrequited love, and the harsh realities of frontier life.

    The 577th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper

    "The Prairie" is a tale set in the early 19th-century American frontier, where Natty Bumppo, an aging frontiersman better known as "the trapper" or "Leatherstocking," navigates the challenges of the untamed West. He encounters various settlers and Native Americans, as well as a family in distress, and becomes embroiled in conflicts that arise from the encroachment of civilization on the wilderness. As the European-American settlers clash with the indigenous tribes and amongst themselves over land and resources, the trapper's experience and wisdom become crucial in navigating the moral complexities and the physical dangers of the expansive prairie. The novel explores themes of manifest destiny, the impact of westward expansion, and the inevitable transformation of the natural landscape and Native American cultures.

    The 1574th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy

    "The Crossing" is a novel set in the late 1930s and early 1940s that follows a young man named Billy Parham and his brother Boyd. The story primarily revolves around their adventures in the United States and Mexico, including their encounters with a wolf, horse traders, and a Mexican outlaw. The narrative explores themes of loss, survival, and the harsh realities of life, set against the backdrop of the American West and the Mexican wilderness.

    The 4113th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Bronc People by William Eastlake

    Set on a Navajo reservation during World War II, "The Bronc People" explores the complex relationships and cultural tensions between the Native American inhabitants and the white government officials. The story is centered on a young Navajo man who is torn between his traditional lifestyle and the modern world. The book provides a deep insight into the Navajo culture, their spiritual beliefs, and their struggle to preserve their identity amid external influences.

    The 5337th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Centennial by James A. Michener

    "Centennial" is a sweeping historical novel that traces the history of the plains of northeast Colorado from prehistoric times to the 1970s. The narrative intertwines the stories of the land's various inhabitants over the centuries, including Native Americans, French fur trappers, English nobles, American pioneers, and others. The novel explores themes of love, war, and the challenge of the frontier, all set against the backdrop of the American West's breathtaking landscapes.

    The 5610th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper

    The novel is a tale of adventure and morality set in the American frontier during the mid-18th century, focusing on a young frontiersman known for his skill as a marksman. As the protagonist navigates the wilderness and encounters Native American tribes, he is tested by a series of ethical dilemmas and violent confrontations. Throughout his journey, he earns the title "Deerslayer" for his hunting prowess and faces the complexities of honor, friendship, and love amidst the backdrop of the French and Indian War. The story is a blend of action and philosophical reflection on nature, civilization, and the human condition.

    The 6195th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Ox Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

    Set in 1885, this novel explores the themes of justice, mob mentality, and the moral complexities of frontier life. When a local rancher is reported murdered and his cattle stolen, a posse forms to capture the suspected rustlers. As tensions rise, the group becomes increasingly driven by vengeance rather than justice, leading to a tragic and thought-provoking climax. Through the eyes of two drifters who join the posse, the story examines the consequences of taking the law into one's own hands and the often blurry line between right and wrong.

    The 8009th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie

    Set in the early 19th century, the story follows the rugged journey of Boone Caudill, a young man who escapes his oppressive home in Kentucky to explore the untamed American West. Alongside his companions, Jim Deakins and Dick Summers, Boone navigates the vast wilderness, encountering Native American tribes, trappers, and the harsh realities of frontier life. The novel vividly captures the spirit of adventure and the relentless pursuit of freedom, while also delving into the complexities of human relationships and the inevitable changes brought by the encroaching civilization.

    The 8043rd Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Paso Por Aqui by Eugene Manlove Rhodes

    The story follows the journey of a cowboy named Jim Bransford, who is wrongfully accused of murder and must navigate the treacherous landscape of the American Southwest to clear his name. As he evades capture and seeks justice, Bransford encounters a series of colorful characters and faces numerous challenges that test his resilience and integrity. The narrative delves into themes of honor, loyalty, and the harsh realities of frontier life, painting a vivid picture of the rugged terrain and the indomitable spirit of those who inhabit it.

    The 8149th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. A Distant Trumpet by Paul Horgan

    Set in the late 19th century, the story follows young Lieutenant Matthew Hazard as he is assigned to a remote cavalry post in the Arizona Territory. Amidst the harsh and unforgiving landscape, Hazard navigates the complexities of military life, confronts the challenges posed by the Apache tribes, and grapples with personal dilemmas and romantic entanglements. The narrative explores themes of duty, honor, and the clash of cultures, painting a vivid picture of the American frontier and the individuals who shaped its history.

    The 8864th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Little Big Man by Thomas Berger

    The story follows the incredible life of Jack Crabb, a 111-year-old man who recounts his adventures in the American West during the 19th century. Raised by Cheyenne Indians after surviving a massacre, Jack navigates between Native American and white cultures, experiencing historical events and meeting iconic figures like Wild Bill Hickok and General Custer. His narrative, filled with humor and tragedy, offers a unique perspective on the complexities of identity, survival, and the clash of civilizations during a transformative period in American history.

    The 9087th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

    The book is a darkly comic, Western-inspired tale that follows the notorious sibling hitmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, as they journey through the American frontier during the 1850s Gold Rush. Tasked with killing a prospector who has allegedly stolen from their employer, the brothers grapple with a series of increasingly bizarre and violent encounters. Along the way, Eli, the more introspective of the two, begins to question their life of crime and contemplates a different future, reflecting on themes of brotherhood, redemption, and the elusive nature of the American Dream.

    The 9277th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Way West by A. B. Guthrie, Jr

    "The Way West" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that chronicles the journey of a group of pioneers traveling westward on the Oregon Trail in the 1840s. The story focuses on the diverse group of travelers, each with their own motivations and backgrounds, as they face the hardships and challenges of the trail. The novel explores themes of survival, the American dream, and the harsh realities of westward expansion.

    The 10908th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor

    "The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" is a historical fiction novel that follows the journey of a 14-year-old boy and his father as they join a wagon train heading for California during the Gold Rush in 1849. The narrative is filled with humor and adventure, as the pair encounter a variety of colorful characters and dangerous situations along the way. The boy's father is a doctor with a penchant for gambling, which often lands them in trouble, but also provides opportunities for the young protagonist to grow and learn about life, human nature, and himself.

    The 10908th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download