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The Lonesome Gods

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  7,397 ratings  ·  574 reviews

“I am Johannes Verne, and I am not afraid.”
This was the boy’s mantra as he plodded through the desert alone, left to die by his vengeful grandfather. Johannes Verne was soon to be rescued by outlaws, but no one could save him from the lasting memory of his grandfather’s eyes, full of impenetrable hatred. Raised in part by Indians, then befriended by a mysterious woman, Jo

Paperback, 545 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by Bantam (first published April 1st 1983)
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Oleta Blaylock I think that all of Louis L'Amour's book are good. Some are much better than others. His epic stories such as Jubal Sackett, The Lonesome Gods, The Wa…moreI think that all of Louis L'Amour's book are good. Some are much better than others. His epic stories such as Jubal Sackett, The Lonesome Gods, The Walking Drum, To the Far Blue Mountains, Fair Blows the Wind, Bendigo Shafter, etc.; these are the best stories. Mr. L'Amour is a storyteller and as such most of his stories have quality about them that other western writers don't possess. (less)
Eddie I enjoyed it. Other than the love interest being a little forced, which is really a small part of story, all other characters were well rounded.

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 ·  7,397 ratings  ·  574 reviews

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Henry Avila
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Johannes Verne repeats often....I am Johannes Verne , and I am not afraid; he needs to. As a boy of six traveling many weeks from New Mexico to California in the early 1840's, inside a single slow moving wagon with his brave dying father Zachary , a widower and a few others including the kind Miss Nesselrode , he will require continuous courage . Toxic outlaws, unfriendly Indians and hot deserts, cold mountains, dangerous animals, bad weather a smorgasbord of death. However little Johannes must ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Louis L'Amour and I was blown away. I had an unfair prejudice against L'Amour based on tidbits of conversations I had overheard as a child that proved to be totally irrelevant to the writing of the this brilliant author. I wish that I had not leapt to conclusions and in so doing been led astray for so long. I am grateful that this book was recommended reading in my scholarship group because it has given me a whole new world and author to fall in love with.

This book is nothing
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was not just a cowboy, shoot ‘em up story, but if it weren’t an assignment, I don’t know if I would have read it. My sister said it was a book for old men! If you have children that you want to grow up with a strong moral character and the best education they can possibly get, this book is a must read. It is a model for an excellent education. Louis L’Amour makes it clear that history taught in public schools is not accurate, pointing out that Christopher Columbus only “discovered” a l ...more
Cindy Rollins
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Thoroughly enjoyed this story. For most of my life I had no desire to see California and then two years ago I visited it and fell in love. This book makes even the desert sound enticing.
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
I read this book as it was part of the follow-on "assignments" included as part of the epilogue in "A Thomas Jefferson Education." I never would have selected it on my own. It was exceptional, and the ties to "A Thomas Jefferson..." were apparent. An entertaining read, full of wonderful "gems" of wisdom.

The protagonist is well developed, perhaps over developed. The evil that pursues him is absolutely abomiable but also quite reflective of contemporary selfishness and materialism. I would have lo
Mar 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love a good fight-for-life western
I read The Lonesome Gods because it was recommended in A Thomas Jefferson Education as one of five books to start one’s classic library. The reviews claimed it was Louis L’Amour’s biggest and most important historical novel. That may be true, but it didn’t measure up to the level of classic literature.

The coming-to-manhood of Johannes Verne is reflected in the story’s setting: the mid 1840s, as Los Angeles grows from a sleepy Mexican town to a major West Coast trading center. Young Verne crosse
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western, 2fiction, 1paper
This is a long book for L'Amour. He spends some time getting philosophical - a boy on his own living in the desert, communing with nature, learning & such. There's a good look at early Los Angeles - well, it sounded good to me. I can't vouch for actual historical accuracy, though. It was interesting, not just a shoot 'em up. ...more
Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph) by: Mom
Take a jaunt through mid-19th-century Southern California with Louis L'Amour. He earned all five stars from this California girl for historical and geographical research and accuracy. The story follows orphan Johannes Verne from age seven through early manhood. He grows up with the territory, and always has to watch his backside because his wealthy Californio grandfather wants him dead. But he is Johannes Verne, and he is not afraid.

There are some minor plot flaws, and the ending felt a little
1996: Good!

2018: 3.5 stars

My review back in 1996 was overly brief, so I read the book again. All of L'Amour's works are at my fingertips since this is one of the few authors that my father reads ... and re-reads. He doesn't have a favorite title. Does L'Amour still have a following? Or has the West been so diminished and civilized that these novels have become 'fossils.'

This begins:
I sat very still, as befitted a small boy among strangers, staring wide-eyed into a world I did not know. I was six
Daniel Villines
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
By my count, The Lonesome Gods was Louis L'Amour’s 83rd novel and the book’s contents align with that impressive production of words. Within these pages is a story produced by a professional storyteller. The characters all have their turn at doing interesting things, they all have an inspirational line or two, and the story is entertaining.

But that’s just about all that The Lonesome Gods is: an entertaining story. The characters are shallow and lack the distinctive attributes that make humans co
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For a long time I thought HONDO was the best novel I ever read by L'Amour. I'm not ready to revise that opinion, but THE LONESOME GODS comes as close as any other to push HONDO. It's an excellent, epic story. Lots of action, real emotion, and a strong sense of the birth of Los Angeles. ...more
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: My children
Recommended to Deanna by: My TJed Friends
Reread 10/2016: still love these books!! These words are magic for any brokenness I have. ❤️

Ahhh! I love Louis L'Amour books. I'm glad I had to reread this one again for a book club. It is one of my favorites.

There are many reasons that I enjoy his books. In this book I was drawn into the main characters and I feel their feelings. I feel that they are developed. I understand them...

I also love that the main character is always very well read. In every L'Amour books there's a list of at least 10
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is probably one of the best examples of what a novel, or any American literature, should be. The plot is continuously developed throughout the novel, the characters are not only well developed and easy to relate to, but there is also an excellent mix of good and bad, that exhibit all of the traits that you should want to embody or avoid. Aside from the well researched historical aspects of the novel, there are also many important lessons and advice throughout the dialogue.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my first Louis L'Amour and I loved it! Especially fun for me was that it was set in L.A. and Palm Springs. I will definitely be reading more of Mr. L'Amour's books in the future. Thanks to my friend, Casey Nicollelo, for strongly recommending that I check out Louis L'Amour! ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: dallas-book-club
Enjoyed the story, but not the writing
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was my first foray into "The cowboy/adventure" novel. My husband had read something else by him and said it was just "pulp", but I had been recommended this book on lists of "classics". This book has a story which is really intriguing, but it feels as though the author had a specific person in mind when he began this book, someone he was trying to encourage to get an education or at least figure out what they were going to do with their life. Maybe it was intended for a son, nephew or high ...more
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Picked this up in an airport on the way to a Florida weekend and polished it off by the end. It's my fantasy world, the 1850s American West. And no one describes it better than...Zane Grey....and Louis L'Amour. Adventure, risk, nature, the unknown, courage, good and evil, heroism, it's all there. Listen to this:
"Long since, I had learned that one needs moments of quiet, moments of stillness, for both the inner and outer man, a moment of contemplation or even simple emptiness when the stress coul
Anda P
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was such a fun coming of age adventure book and my first western. It is a great book for older boys, maybe high school age? I couldn’t put it down. It was also fun to see California’s infancy. The author has a deep love of nature, the desert and education. I will definitely give this to my boys when they grow. I don’t agree with the authors basic philosophy though - man is the measure of all things. It’s so interesting that he feels the need to call man “the beginning and the end”. Even tho ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-tbr, read-2016
This was my first Western and I loved it. I am going to read others by L'Amour. I am not ready to leave the desert, Johannes and Ms. Nessrode. This book is bulging with wisdom and I can't stop the craving. I felt so deeply with this book and was very surprised by that. A true classic. Can't wait to share with my children and future generations!

"I am Johannes Verne and I am not afraid."
Jason Schneeberger
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is probably the best L'Amour book I've read so far. It falters at the end slightly and the last two chapters are really rushed, which holds it back from getting 5 stars, but it's still a really good story ...more
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
Another big book from L'Amour, and it works well. I liked it much. ...more
Mitchell Inkley
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone not wanting to suck.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first L'amour book but definitely not my last! I really had trouble putting this book down! Great story, great life lessons, great characters! ...more
Gregory Paige
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Lonesome Gods, we follow Johannes Verne on his journey from boy to man. It's a coming-of-age story set in early days Los Angeles and the surrounding geography. And it's that setting which steals the show. Having spent five years in LA, I couldn't get enough of Louis L'Amour's ability to bring the (then small) town, the mountains and, most vividly, the desert to life.

Familiar names and landmarks like Palm Springs, the San Jacinto Mountains, Morongo Valley and, yes, the Mojave Desert take o
I'm not a huge Louis L'Amour fan in general, but read this for book club. Overall it was a good read. I'd rate it a 3.5.

There are a lot of characters and a lot of backstories that culminate in the end. Once I got everyone straight I enjoyed it. A basic cowboy story, coming of age, Indians, horse rustlers, shootings and a little romance. I enjoyed the 2nd half of the book more than the first half. And I learned a lot about surviving in the desert.

There was a lot good quotes from the book:

"We co
Wylder Smith
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the second Louis L'amour book that I have read, and I loved it. You follow the Johannes Verne through 1860's Los Angeles, he grows up to be a man known by all, and hated by some. His only living relative, his grandfather, is his main antagonist. This book is what all young men should read, and absorb. It has a great moral guideline that everyone should strive to follow. It captures you in right of the bat, with action and adventure as Johannes Verne and his father, Zachary Verne, look to ...more
Alan Tomkins-Raney
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Much longer than most of L'Amour's novels, with more character development, this book is a beautiful epic set in 1840s California, the action taking place mostly in early Los Angeles, what is now known as Palm Springs, and the Mojave Desert. There are side trips into the San Joaquin Valley, the San Bernardino mountains, and the San Jacintos, too. The writing is captivating and richly evocative. The plot is interesting. I thought the ending was a little hectic and abrupt, with a few too many coin ...more
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first l'Amour. Some of his dialogue was stilted, and some character development was lacking, but overall I really loved it.

He knew everything (it seems). I loved the descriptions of the desert and early Los Angeles. We discussed this yesterday with a group of scholars that we mentor, and it was a fantastic discussion. There is so much of value to be gleaned here. I will definitely read more of his work.
Carol Chapin
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I recently enjoyed reading a biography of Louis L’Amour. But this book was about what I expected. I don’t care for westerns in general. But the unrealistic, cardboard characters of this book made this worse. These were the kind of characters you get in bad action novels - the hero with extraordinary abilities who always gets the prettiest girl and tames the wild stallion. Our hero here defies all odds when stranded in the desert not once, but twice. What was interesting about this book was its d ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first western I have ever read and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Such a fascinating story with a bit of history thrown in. The descriptions of the dessert made me feel as if I was really there
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Louis L'Amour was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction, remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 101 of his works were in print (86 novels, 14 short-story collections and one full-length work of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers".

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“When a man is one of a kind, he will be lonely wherever he is.” 98 likes
“. . . What do you wish to be? What would you like to become?”

I did not know, and I told her so, but the question worried me. Should I know?

“There is time,” she said, “but the sooner you know, the sooner you can plan. To have a goal is the important thing, and to work toward it. Then, if you decide you wish to do something different, you will at least have been moving, you will have been going somewhere, you will have been learning.”
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