New Title: ‘Savage West: The Life and Fiction of Thomas Savage’

“Thomas Savage (April 25, 1915 – July 25, 2003) was an American author of novels published between 1944 and 1988. He is best known for his Western novels, which drew on early experiences in the American West. – Wikipedia”

For the popularity and success of his unique western novels and the awards he received, Thomas Savage (The Power of the Dog and others) is more obscure than he should be. O. Alan Weltzien hopes to change that with his 257-page biography published by the University of Nevada Press in January.

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.

From the Publisher

Thomas Savage (1915-2003) was one of the intermountain West’s best novelists. His thirteen novels received high critical praise, yet he remained largely unknown by readers. Although Savage spent much of his later life in the Northeast, his formative years were spent in southwestern Montana, where the mountain West and his ranching family formed the setting for much of his work.

O. Alan Weltzien’s insightful and detailed literary biography chronicles the life and work of this neglected but deeply talented novelist. Savage, a closeted gay family man, was both an outsider and an insider, navigating an intense conflict between his sexual identity and the claustrophobic social restraints of the rural West.

Unlike many other Western writers, Savage avoided the formula westerns –so popular in his time– and offered instead a realistic, often subversive version of the region. His novels tell a hard, harsh story about dysfunctional families, loneliness, and stifling provincialism in the small towns and ranches of the northern Rockies, and his minority interpretation of the West provides a unique vision and caustic counternarrative contrary to the triumphant settler-colonialism themes that have shaped most Western literature.

Savage West seeks to claim Thomas Savage’s well-deserved position in American literature and to reintroduce twenty-first-century readers to a major Montana writer.

From the Introduction

“In her Publishers Weekly interview with Savage (July 15, 1988), Francesca Coltrera called Savage ‘a balladeer, almost, of the American scene.’ If so, Savage’s ballads, like many of his best known, sing sad stories, but it’s more than that. Particularly in the eight novels set in southwestern Montana and Idaho’s Lemhi River Valley, Savage wields an acidic brush, one that goes against the gain of triumphal stories of white pioneers and their prospering or floundering descendants. Savage prefers anti-heroic, acerbic flavors. His stylistic wit and play, especially his essayistic interludes, expose grim realities and lonely spaces.”



6 thoughts on “New Title: ‘Savage West: The Life and Fiction of Thomas Savage’

  1. Have you seen the price of this book? The Kindle edition is £24.30 and the paper editions commensurately more! I know that will be a lot cheaper on your side of the Pond, where I’ve often noticed that $ and £ prices are about the same in numbers (if you see what I mean). If Weltzien and University of Nevada Press want to up Savage’s popularity, methinks they will need to drop the prices.

    1. It seems to be like it’s been out long enough to have come down in price. However, I notice that even with mainstream bestselling authors, the books that are selling the best are likely to have prices like this one a year after being releasd. Sigh.

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