Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lonesome Gods” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
The Lonesome Gods
Louis L'Amour
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lonesome Gods

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  5,803 Ratings  ·  449 Reviews
The Lonesome Gods is Louis L'Amour's biggest and most important historical novel to date, a sweeping adventure of the California frontier. Here is the fascinating story of Johannes Verne, a young man left to die by his vengeful grandfather, rescued by outlaws and raised in part by the Indians of the desert. Strengthened by the love of two women -- Miss Nesselrode, whose my ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 0 pages
Published July 1st 1984 by MacMillan Publishing Company (first published April 1983)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lonesome Gods, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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…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.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-school-year
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
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanette 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
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 g
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2fiction, western, 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.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
This is close enough to five stars for me to rate it that way. I think I liked Bendigo Shafter more, but the "epic journey through the desert" bit was compelling. I love how L'Amour seamlessly combines disparate elements into his books: the ones I've read don't seem like "just" westerns. He does his research, too, as far as I can tell. This one includes bits about the Tarahumara runners and gigantism, among other things.
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!
The exciting tale of survival in the California/Arizona desert around the time of the Gold Rush. The main character is a rancher. There is also a bit of romance. The lonesome gods are the native american gods who are no longer respected. You won't be able to put this book down.

Quotes from the book:
"Yes, son, we could [fight], but fightin's something you do when you've tried everything else."

He who ceases to learn is already a half-dead man.

Do not be like an oyster who rests on the sea bottom a
Sarah Udall
This was I think the only book I read in Junior High. I remember really liking it. So I thought it might be good. Oh it was just long, and in parts I was rolling my eyes! The main plot is great, and the story line in great, and how it all ties together was interesting. But there was just so much added information it was annoying. I feel that every odd fact, interesting historical people (like poe or one other poet person along with others) are just thrown in. " Oh my dad knew him, I listen at hi ...more
Beth A.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth A. by: 1st Ward Book Club March
Shelves: western, orphans
I have never been a big western fan, so I kind of had low expectations when I started this book. I tried a few Louis L’amour books in high school and was unimpressed. (Suddenly, that seems like a long time ago.) Although I did love Firefly. Do space westerns count?

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised as I read this book. It started with an interesting premise, and jumped right in to a few well rounded and dynamic characters. The story was interesting, with lots of setbacks, and challenges for the
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a devoted reader of L'Amour yet, like many of the reviewers. Perhaps I will be--I am not sure yet. In this book there are glimpses of why so many people love him. But the faults are there too, and at times, they overload the good stuff. It's long-winded, with a lot of repetition. How many times do we have to read what a good man Johannes Verne's father was? Or that the Indians are "different from us"? (In a good way, usually.) The characters are a bit one-dimensional, generally falling into ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story and well told. I have not read any of L'amour's other books, but I had heard that The Lonesome Gods was one of his best.
The Lonesome Gods is a book about being a man and becoming a man. Principles such as the importance of education and loyalty to friends are woven into the story. There is a lot of history about California, information about the desert, native American lore in this book. Even with all of that, it kept my attention and I came to enjoy the characters. I highl
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I have read quite a few Louis L'amour books. I'm not sure why that requires a confession in my mind, but it does. Anyway, I have read some more serious ones (of which this book is one) and some of the more fun ones (like his short story collections) and I've gotta' say I prefer the fun ones. If I want deep thoughts I don't want them from Mr. L'amour. To me this particular book read like a rough draft. It was quite repetitious and I kept waiting for it to start. It finally di ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quintessential "guy-lit" (or whatever is the opposite of "chick-lit"). I enjoyed the storytelling aspect and the way the author brings the desert to life in his writing. It's a rather romanticized paean to the Old West.

Spoiler Alert:
I positively loathed the character, Meghan, the love interest. She was completely one-dimensional and had no redeeming qualities that would lead one to believe that the hero would find her anything but annoying and obtuse. So the message apparently is that to land a
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bleh. I couldn't really stand this book the second time around. The fighting and shooting seemed to be pointless, and too common. The story developed at an odd pace, and I never found the full closure that I was expecting. Miss Nesselrode seems to have more of a back story that should have been explained, but it wasn't. And you never really find out what happened regarding Johannes' relationship with his grandfather. There is no defining how many years have gone by once Johannes has reached age ...more
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second Louis L'Amour book and I really liked it. I loved the introspection and the example of self-education. There are many themes to draw upon while discussing this book. There is so much material to use when comparing and contrasting familial relationships. I also have love in my heart for the setting of the novel having grown up knowing the places within the pages. This was a fun read that made me think.
Dec 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Louis L'Amour. I really identified with the hero in this book.... not that I'm as brave as he is... but rather that he also has a lot of obstacles to overcome.

Wonderful example of self education and learning to be a self-reliant, independent and fulfilled person all on your own.

Excellent book.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Son put me onto Louis L' 2 before this. This is the best by far.not just for L'Amour,but great storytelling in general.Now I 'get' L'Amour.Wonderful background research,( Think Mitchener and Wilbur Smith. Though not in their class,I loved this book.Recommended.
Heather Blair
Just as amazing as I remembered. My kids, from my 7-year old to my 17 year old really enjoyed it. Such a wealth of adventure, history, character & wisdom.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book the first time I read it years ago and loved it again when I picked it up a week ago.
Mitchell Inkley
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone not wanting to suck.
Digvi Shah
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To this date, whenever i see a pile of stones, i add my own as a prayer to the gods.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Laddie: A True Blue Story
  • A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century
  • Father and I were Ranchers (Little Britches #1)
  • Desert Gold
  • The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains
  • The Dawn of Fury (Trail of the Gunfighter, #1)
  • The Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers
  • The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America's Philosopher of Freedom
  • Freedom Factor
  • Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, Volume 1
  • The Real George Washington
  • Buffalo Palace
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".
More about Louis L'Amour...

Share This Book

“When a man is one of a kind, he will be lonely wherever he is.” 81 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.”
More quotes…