Award-winning Author Reflects on Saloon History Melody Groves writes about where she lives and what she loves—the West.

Author Melody Groves True West Magazine
Melody Groves.

Melody Groves writes about where she lives and what she loves—the West. She is the author of Hoist A Cold One: Historic Bars of the Southwest and, most recently, Black Range Revenge. Here are five books she recommends:

1 The Wicked West: Boozers, Cruisers, Gamblers and More (Sherry Monahan, Rio Nuevo Publishers): Sex, sin and saloons come together in this look at the wild days of the West. Taken through memoirs and eyewitness accounts, this book treats readers to days gone by.

2 Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West (Chris Enss, TwoDot Press): Stories of ladies caught in the acts of mayhem, distraction and murder, it includes names like Belle Starr and Big Nose Kate. Easy to read and fascinating; a go-to book about Western women.

3  Boudoirs to Brothels: The Intimate World of Wild West Woman (Michael Rutter, Farcountry Press): A terrific, terrifying and thrilling peek inside the 19th-century prostitutes’ world. Stories of these women make me cringe. A true look at bravery. This is one I couldn’t put down.

4 Jukeboxes and Jackalopes, A Wyoming Bar Journey (Julianne Couch, Pronghorn Press): Couch visited out-of-the-way Wyoming bars, creating a delightful series of essays about such important community centers. It inspired me to write my own book.

5 Sadie Orchard, The Time of her Life (Patsy Crow King, Patsy Crow King): This fascinating biography of southern New Mexico’s Sadie Orchard—prostitute, saloon owner, businesswoman—offers an excellent inside look at trying to survive in the 1800s West.

Phil Collins’s Top Five Alamo Reads

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Stuart Rosebrook

As senior editor of True West Magazine, Stuart Rosebrook oversees all editorial covering Old West travel, firearms and books. He has a Ph.D in U.S. History from Arizona State University, and he owns a multimedia communications business, Quo Vadis Communications, based in Iowa City, Iowa.