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Butcher's Crossing

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  8,157 Ratings  ·  881 Reviews
Will Andrews is no academic. He longs for wildness, freedom, hope and vigour. He leaves Harvard and sets out for the West to discover a new way of living.

In a small town called Butcher's Crossing he meets a hunter with a story of a lost herd of buffalo in a remote Colorado valley, just waiting to be taken by a team of men brave and crazy enough to find them. Will makes up
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Paperback, 274 pages
Published April 1st 1988 by University of Arkansas Press (first published 1960)
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Margaret I don't think he's doing either. I think he's simply telling a story and because of the details of the time and place, the end of the buffalo, the…moreI don't think he's doing either. I think he's simply telling a story and because of the details of the time and place, the end of the buffalo, the beginning of the end of the West as his main character had known and imagined as a child, and confronted in its reality as an adult, that story reveals the full horror of the greed and exploitation that was wrought on the West. But the character can see beyond his experience and continue to move on when the events in the book come to their end. He is a witness and we witness through him. (less)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-old-west
”You get born, and you nurse on lies, and you get weaned on lies, and you learn fancier lies at school. You live all your life on lies, and then maybe when you’re ready to die, it comes to you that there’s nothing, nothing but yourself and what you could have done. Only you ain’t done it, because the lies told you there was something else. Then you know you could of had the world, because you’re the only one that knows the secret; only then it’s too late. You’re old.”

Will Andrews bought into the
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Cecily
Why read a historical novel about a privileged Harvard dropout who wants to find himself by going on a buffalo hunt?

1. It's by John Williams, who wrote one of my three favourite novels, Stoner, which I reviewed HERE, as well as the almost as good Augustus, which I reviewed HERE.

2. Hunting is not what it's really about (probably like Moby Dick?).

3. It was a good follow-on from Cold Mountain, which I reviewed HERE: two totally different US landscape-based stories, set only a few years apart.

What T
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Dolors
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beware of Westerns
Shelves: read-in-2015
Williams’ biggest achievement in this novel is that there isn’t an ounce of overblown characterization in the diverging life perspectives that populate Butcher's Crossing, an emerging town in the Great Plains of the old west. In spite of the bison hunters, the dusty brothel with the purring prostitute, the inexperienced city boy Will Andrews from Boston, and the drunkard who nurses his whiskey with a mucky Bible and prayerful gibberish, this is not the predictable Western the reader might antici ...more
Zoeytron
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
The bright flare of a match, the creaking of saddle leather, and the mournful lowing of the oxen. The smell of scorched coffee permeates the air, joining the stink of buffalo hunters too long on the trail. Later, the confusion of the herd is rampant amidst the air made hazy and heavy by gun smoke. The force of nature takes its toll, as it always will. The horror of the elements, and the sheer beauty.

I searched for this book based solely on the fact that the author is the man who penned Stoner. E
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Lynne King
Andrews dropped to his hands and knees and swung his head from side to side like a wounded animal. “My God!” he said thickly, “My God, my God”.

“A whole winter’s work,” Miller said in a flat dead voice. “It took just about two minutes.”

“Andrews raised his head wildly, and got to his feet. “Schneider,” he said. “Schneider. We’ve got to-”

“Miller put his hand on his shoulder. “Take it easy, boy. Won’t do no good to worry about Schneider.”

I went to bed last night still thinking about this rem
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Ted
… he believed - and had believed for a long time - that there was a subtle magnetism in nature, which, if he unconsciously yielded to it, would direct him aright … (48)

buffalo-herd-2

Now Andrews could see the herd clearly. Against the pale yellow-green of the grass, the dark umber of the buffalo stood out sharply … Many were lying at ease upon the soft valley grass; those were mere humps, like dark rocks, without identity or shape … some were grazing lightly, others stood unmoving, they huge furry heads slum
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Howard
John Williams wrote four novels. None of them, however, sold many copies during his lifetime. I remember some years ago seeing and scanning stories about John Williams with headlines such as “The Best Writer You Never Heard Of,” or something similar. And that certainly applied to me. I had never heard of him, and I couldn’t read his books because they were out of print. In fact, although there were critics who praised his work his books sold few copies before disappearing – literally in some cas ...more
Darwin8u
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2015
A Holocaust of Hides

"He could hardly recall, now, the passion that had drawn him to this room and this flesh, as if by a subtle magnetism; nor could he recall the force of that other passion which had impelled him halfway across a continent into a wilderness where he had dreamed he could find, as in a vision, his unalterable self. Almost without regret, he could admit now the vanity from which those passions had sprung.

(view spoiler)
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Algernon
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2013

One of the joys of reading chaotically, picking up books from the TBR stack at the whim of the moment and not according to some master plan, is to discover that succesive reads turn out to be related after all. The Great Gatsby is concerned with the Great American Dream - that success is waiting right around the corner for anyone determined enough to reach for it. Butcher's Crossing is about another facet of the Great American Dream, the myth of the pristine land, a Garden of Eden where Man
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Orsodimondo
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, western
TERRA DI CONFINE
Pubblicato nel 1960, cinque anni prima di “Stoner”, e ambientato intorno al 1870 tra Kansas e Colorado, tra prateria e montagne, “Butcher’s Crossing” è il romanzo western per antonomasia, il paradigma del western, tutto quello che ci si aspetta da un western.

description
”Open Range-Terra di confine” il bel film western del 2003 diretto e interpretato da Kevin Costner.

In più c’è l’enorme talento di questo scrittore, che non spreca parole e neppure le lesina, le cerca con precisione che riman
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

John Edward Williams was born on August 29, 1922, in Clarksville, Texas, near the Red River east of Paris, Texas and brought up in Texas. His grandparents were farmers; his stepfather was a janitor in a post office. After flunking out of junior college and holding various positions with newspapers and radio stat
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More about John Williams...
“Young people," McDonald said contemptuously. "You always think there's something to find out."

"Yes, sir," Andrews said.

"Well, there's nothing," McDonald said. "You get born, and you nurse on lies, and you get weaned on lies, and you learn fancier lies in school. You live all your life on lies, and then maybe when you're ready to die, it comes to you — that there's nothing, nothing but yourself and what you could have done. Only you ain't done it, because the lies told you there was something else. Then you know you could of had the world, because you're the only one that knows the secret; only then it's too late. You're too old."

"No," Andrews said. A vague terror crept from the darkness that surrounded them, and tightened his voice. "That's not the way it is."

"You ain't learned, then," McDonald said. "You ain't learned yet. . . .”
42 likes
“It came to him that he had turned away from the buffalo not because of a womanish nausea at blood and stench and spilling gut; it came to him that he had sickened and turned away because of his shock at seeing the buffalo, a few moments before proud and noble and full of the dignity of life, now stark and helpless, a length of inert meat, divested of itself, or his notion of its self, swinging grotesquely, mockingly, before him. It was not itself; or it was not that self that he had imagined it to be. That self was murdered; and in that murder he had felt the destruction of something within him, and he had not been able to face it. So he had turned away.” 14 likes
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