Time-Life Old West Book Series

There is a lot of information available online for this great book series. I won't attempt to rehash any of that here. However, it's seemingly impossible to find decent front-cover images for many of the volumes. And when you do find images, their sizes, angles, color, and formats vary widely. Below is my attempt to create a consistent set of images for the entire Old West series.

Bear in mind that these were created in Photoshop from a wide range of source imagery. In the real world, each volume exhibits variations from one edition or print run to another. The images below do NOT accurately represent any particular books and, in fact, may look like nothing ever produced by Time-Life Books. Consider them to be a representation, not documentation, of the appearance of each book.

The series was sold as a book-every-other-month subscription and, at that rate, it took more than four years to receive a complete set. Many people canceled early and their incompete sets were often sold or given away, adding the earlier volumes to the used-book market. As a result, volumes toward the end of the series can be harder to find.

On a personal note, I do own the complete series and the master index. It was collected one volume at a time, buying from used book stores in the Portland, Oregon area, but mostly Powell's Books. It took several years to do, back in the 1990s. For most of that time, I was convinced that volume 26, The End and the Myth, was just that -- a myth. But it wasn't and I finally did get a copy.

I recently discovered that the Time-Life editors drew content from the 26-volume series to create a 432-page, single-volume abridgement entitled Time-Life Books The Old West. It was published in 1990 by Prentice Hall Press and was an alternate offering for Book-of-the-Month Club. For the sake of completeness, I've acquired a copy of this book for my collection. A picture of the cover appears at the bottom of this page.

-- Stan Cleveland, Beaverton, Oregon

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