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Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil Warby T J Stiles
Synopses & Reviews
In early January 1904, a reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with a washed-up relic of the Wild West: Edward Capehart Oandrsquo;Kelley. On the dusty streets of the former Indian Territory, Oandrsquo;Kelley struggled to stay sober and describe his childhood friend, the outlaw Jesse James, to the reporter. Oandrsquo;Kelley once had the opportunity to join his gang, but declined in order to set out for a career as lawman in Colorado, where his violent tactics earned him the reputation of a man with a quick temper, a ready gun, and a penchant for bending the law to suit his needs. It was there, in Creede, Colorado, that Oandrsquo;Kelley metandmdash;and murderedandmdash;Robert Ford.
Ford was known all across the frontier as the assassin of Jesse James. When they met in Colorado, Oandrsquo;Kelley viewed Ford as the worst kind of vermin and was egged on by local miners to avenge his old friend Jesse Jamesandrsquo;s death. Imprisoned for the murder, Oandrsquo;Kelley emerged ten years later a broken man, entering a modern world of telephones and streetcarsandmdash;a world where people no longer cared about his Wild West exploits. It was there, on the whiskey-drenched backstreets of Oklahoma City, that the Post-Dispatch reporter found him, and where on the night before their last meeting, a drunken Oandrsquo;Kelley was killed in a prolonged street shootout with a brave policeman.
It Ends Here by Joe Johnston draws on the reporterandrsquo;s accounts to tell Oandrsquo;Kelleyandrsquo;s tragic story. The third in the Missouri Vigilantes series, the book unravels a circular tale of frontier vigilantism and ponders Americaandrsquo;s progress beyond it. An engaging narrative touching on bank robberies, Butch Cassidy, and elaborate tales of frontier justice, this book will delight true crime enthusiasts and students of history alike.
In this brilliant biography T. J. Stiles offers a new understanding of the legendary outlaw Jesse James. Although he has often been portrayed as a Robin Hood of the old west, in this ground-breaking work Stiles places James within the context of the bloody conflicts of the Civil War to reveal a much more complicated and significant figure.
Raised in a fiercely pro-slavery household in bitterly divided Misssouri, at age sixteen James became a bushwhacker, one of the savage Confederate guerrillas that terrorized the border states. After the end of the war, James continued his campaign of robbery and murder into the brutal era of reconstruction, when his reckless daring, his partisan pronouncements, and his alliance with the sympathetic editor John Newman Edwards placed him squarely at the forefront of the former Confederates bid to recapture political power. With meticulous research and vivid accounts of the dramatic adventures of the famous gunman, T. J. Stiles shows how he resembles not the apolitical hero of legend, but rather a figure ready to use violence to command attention for a political cause—in many ways, a forerunner of the modern terrorist.
Traditionally, Jesse James has been portrayed as a Wild West bandit--a Robin Hood of sorts--but in this meticulously researched, vividly written account of his life, he emerges as a far more complicated man who was a forerunner of what the world has come to call a terrorist.
About the Author
A native of rural Benton County, Minnesota, T.J. Stiles studied history at Carleton College and Columbia University, where he received two graduate degrees. His writings about American history include articles in Smithsonian, essays in the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post, and a five-volume series of primary-source anthologies. He lives in New York. For more information on T. J. Stiles and Jesse James see www.tjstiles.com.
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