The Max Brand Companion

The Max Brand Companion

The Max Brand Companion

The Max Brand Companion

Synopsis

The essential guide to one of the most popular writers of the 20th century.

Excerpt

Jon Tuska

At the time Vicki and I were preparing the first edition of the encyclopedia of frontier and western fiction (McGraw-Hill, 1983), I had read only two books by Frederick Faust who wrote as Max Brand, blood on the trail (Dodd, Mead, 1957) and destry rides again (Dodd, Mead, 1930). Vicki had never read anything by this author. Accordingly, we engaged a contributor to do the entry on Frederick Faust. But we were dissatisfied with that entry and also in a quandary because the finished text was due at the publisher. in desperation I read Robert Easton’s biography, max BRAND: the big “WESTERNER” (University of Oklahoma Press, 1970), and fashioned the Faust entry as best I could, relying heavily on biographical details and Easton’s critical assessments.

When we began the preliminary work of preparing the second edition of the encyclopedia, I decided to include Faust among those authors whose entries I would do. Now it is not possible in doing such an entry to read every book an author has written, especially one as prolific as Faust, but I did select somewhat at random fifty of his Western novels and fifty of his short novels and stories published in magazines. What I discovered, once I had concluded my reading, was one of the most extraordinary literary artists in American letters.

It is perhaps worth noting that when Vicki and I undertook to prepare the first edition of the encyclopedia, I had read under ten novels in the field and Vicki had read fewer than that. Our first years in Oregon, from 1978 through 1982, we literally read Western fiction morning, noon, and night, consuming thousands of books and stories. Since we had each selected different authors, we confined our reading principally to those authors whose entries we were doing and would discuss the books each other had read in order to share the . . .

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