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3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  138 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews

Set in 1871 in the unforgiving wasteland of the Arizona Territory, Shavetail is the story of Private Ned Thorne, a se
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2008)
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D. Pow
Jul 01, 2010 D. Pow rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-west
The Book: Part One
Thomas Cobb’s Shavetail is an impressive, compulsively readable novel that begins with the protagonist, young Pvt. Ned Thorne arriving in something like purgatory at the ass end of the universe, at an Arizona Army post in 1871, and it as it progresses things get very much worse than that.

Yes, it’s a western. Yes, it has been compared to Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry. Yes, this is by the guy who wrote the killer Country Western Novel Crazy Heart that the Dude finally won a
Nov 02, 2009 Gloria rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I've just realized how much I miss reading westerns. This story was gritty, violent, raw and well-written. Louis L'Amour on steroids. I think I need to find more by Thomas Cobb.
Oct 17, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
If my stories were as eloquent, insightful, and compelling as this one, I would die happy.

This story of a failed mission of the early American soldiers out West evokes themes that carry us into the present day: the futility of war, the fight against an enemy that is really ourselves, and the coming of age through brutality.

Ned Thorne is our hero, but we cannot always love what he does. His choices are sometimes strange to our modern ideas and ways, and when the finale comes, we are left wonder
Sam Reaves
Feb 02, 2016 Sam Reaves rated it liked it
A literary western shading more toward Cormac McCarthy than Elmer Kelton, this novel takes us to southeast Arizona in 1871, where the U.S. Army is establishing an outpost in territory recently and very tenuously pacified. The Apaches watch from the hills as a small detachment under a pair of dead-end officers, one a drunk and the other a depressive, builds a new post. A fresh recruit arrives, a New England lad who ran away from home after a traumatic experience. The cynical, hard-bitten mule ski ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Edward rated it liked it
I agree with other reviewers that "Shavetail" gives a realistic and riveting look at life in an isolated Army outpost in the Arizona Territory during the war against the Apache. His portrayal of camp life as boring, dirty, banal and brutal is probably as close to the reality as any author has done. Cobb has done his research, and it is a delight to see his inclusion of historical sources at the end of the book. The characters are quite compelling: Thorne, his fellow soldiers, Brickner, Franklin ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Peggy rated it it was amazing
I forgot how much I love reading a good Western. Cobb writes with enough subtle humor to bring to mind Larry McMurtry. Well-written characters, including the character of the harsh Arizona Territory. Despite the regular chuckles, his writing also elicits tugs on the heart. The tragedies that befall these men leave the reader surprisingly sad. I never gave up hoping that the lieutenant and the young calvaryman would each overcome their his missteps. Private Ned Thorne's brave, unrelenting attempt ...more
Ron Harton
Jan 11, 2014 Ron Harton rated it really liked it
A very-well written Western. Right up there with Lonesome Dove. The ending is a little quick, more resolution is needed (or maybe a sequel), especially if the novel is to keep the promises made on the cover. But it is a good read. I was caught up in the strong characters, suspenseful plot, and intriguing setting. I hope this author writes more Westerns.
Jun 06, 2011 Lorraine rated it really liked it
rather harsh, but probably true to the western frontier in AZ. very interesting coming of age story of 17 year old escaping unfortunate situation back east in the 1860s. he joins the army and is sent to Arizona territory. harsh army life.
Feb 18, 2012 Leon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of "miltarstic" westerns
Set in 1870s Southwest, this book has language that puts you in the barren, sweltering mountains of New Mexico, where you can feel the anxiety and strength that permeates Ned Thorne's existence in the US Army.
Jul 31, 2014 Robert2481 rated it liked it
A book I enjoyed reading. It's really well-written, & the narrative just pulls you along. It presents the west & the cavalry as it was. It was stark & brutal, but, ultimately hopeful.
Aug 06, 2013 Clifdisc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written Western in the realist vein. I doubt this will make anyone's list of favorite Westerns yet I suspect it will be enjoyed by all fans of the genre.
Sep 07, 2010 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just starting this one. Really liked this book. It is somewhat different than what I usually read, but an excellent story.
Jan 28, 2008 Rusty rated it it was amazing
I've read the first quarter of this or so in ms, and I fully expect it to be a big book, in the tradition of Mcmurtry and McCarthy.
Shelee Bush
May 31, 2010 Shelee Bush rated it really liked it
Excellent, gritty tale of a regiment of United States Soldiers, led by two disgraced leaders. Trouble abounds in Arizona when 17 year old Ned joins up the group. I felt hot and dirty just reading it.
Tim Countryman
Aug 17, 2015 Tim Countryman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-west
One of the most amazing stories I've read. The adventure was complete with perspectives from different characters who make up the story. I did not want this book to end.
Judy Templeton-sims
Apr 17, 2013 Judy Templeton-sims rated it liked it
This book was not easy to get into. But I kind of gives a hint of what life was like then.

I would really give ths a 2 1/2 star.
Chris Mewes
Chris Mewes rated it liked it
Jan 08, 2015
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Jul 17, 2013
Gary rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2016
John Costanzo
John Costanzo rated it liked it
Mar 04, 2014
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Camille Beverly rated it liked it
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Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter rated it did not like it
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Scott Smith
Scott Smith rated it liked it
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Michael rated it liked it
Jun 19, 2008
Robert Van buhler iii
Robert Van buhler iii rated it really liked it
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Brutal and deft, laced with both violence and desire, Shavetail plunges into the deepest of human urges."
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