When I was at school in the late 70s my school library had this entire set – well at least what was published up to that point. Published by Time Life Books, the series consisted of twenty-seven volumes that were released between 1973 and 1980. Each book covered a specific topic relating to the history and settlement of the West – The Cowboys, The Great Chiefs, etc. They were covered in a faux-tooled leather binding that I thought really captured the period. The entire series is listed here (from Wikipedia):
Jump forward thirty years and I had become interested in Wild West Skirmish gaming. I had seen the odd one or ten of these books in second hand bookshops over the years and the thought that it would be nice to have the whole set had crossed my mind. Well one day I was browsing an internet auction site and saw the whole set for sale. I probably paid too much, but bid on and won the auction. One delivery man with a hernia later, I was in possession of my own set.
These are not mine but an internet pic I found. Mine are in better nick.
I cannot recommend these books enough as a resource. Now I am pretty sure that you wont learn anything that you didn’t already know but just for pure reading pleasure they are a treat. Reading The Townsmen gave me heaps of ideas for structures for my own burgeoning Wild West town. If you get a chance to read these – please do. You wont be disappointed.