Poetry Madness




Calamity Jane by James D. Mclaird

The Real Calamity Jane

A review by Margot Mifflin

As author James D. McLaird confesses in his conclusion to Calamity Jane: The Woman and the Legend, historians sure know how to ruin a good story. In this case, somebody had to do it. Calamity Jane -- 19th century gunslinger, drinker and cross-dresser -- was so barnacled over with myth that it had become impossible to see the lady for the lore. From dime-store novels of the 1870s and '80s chronicling her frontier fearlessness, to Doris Day's G-rated Jane in the 1953 musical Calamity Jane, to Jane Alexander's feminist reanimation of her in a 1984 ABC special, to Robin Weigert's blowsy portrayal of her on the HBO series Deadwood, Calamity Jane has served as a Rorschach blot for devotees of unconventional women for over a century. Then again there was Larry McMurtry's Buffalo Girls -- published in 1990 -- which trashed the myth altogether, casting her as a drunk, a liar and a hermaphrodite.

Love her or hate her, you probably don't know her at all. Nee Martha Canary, she was less -- and ...

Previously Reviewed by Salon.com
Sort: by date | by title | by author

After the Quake: Stories by Haruki Murakami

After Shakespeare: An Anthology by John Gross

Against Depression by Peter D Kramer

American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies by Michael W. Kauffman

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush by Kevin Phillips

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans by Eve Laplante

American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps by Philip Weiss

American Woman by Susan Choi

The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories by Ben Marcus

And It Don't Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years by Raquel Cepeda

Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle

The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq by George Packer

The Athenian Murders (UK version) by Jose Carlos Somoza

Austerlitz by W G Sebald

Autobiography by Helmut Newton

The Babes in the Wood: A Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery by Ruth Rendell

Barbed Wire: A Political History by Olivier Razac

Basket Case Signed Edition by Carl Hiaasen

The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature by David Baron

Beauty and the Beasts: Woman, Ape and Evolution by Carole Jahme

Bel Canto: A Novel by Ann Patchett

Best Friends by Thomas Berger

Big If by Mark Costello

Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky

The Birthday of the World: And Other Stories by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Blackbirder (Femmes Fatales: Women Write Pulp) by Dorothy B Hughes

Black Hole by Charles Burns

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

The Bullet Meant for Me: A Memoir by Jan Reid

Calamity Jane by James D. Mclaird

Call Me the Breeze by Patrick McCabe

Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism by Thich Nhat Hanh

Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen A. Mitchell

A Changed Man: A Novel by Francine Prose

Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History by George Crile

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan

In the City of Shy Hunters by Tom Spanbauer

The City of Your Final Destination by Peter Cameron

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell

The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy

The Collected Stories of Richard Yates by Richard Yates

Colossus : Price of America's Empire (04 Edition) by Niall Ferguson

The Confusion: The Baroque Cycle, # 2 by Neal Stephenson

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate by Robert Bryce

Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam (Pivotal Moments in American History) by James M. Mcpherson

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Curve: The Female Nude Now by Jane Harris

Dancing With Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield by Penny Valentine and Vicki Wickham

Dangerous Doses: How Counterfeiters Are Contaminating America's Drug Supply by Katherine Eban

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Death in Venice (04 Edition) by Thomas Mann

Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L Ron Hubbard

The Dive from Clausen's Pier (Vintage Contemporaries) by Ann Packer

Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem--And What We Should Do about It by Noah Feldman

Doghouse Roses: Stories by Steve Earle

Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper by Nicholson Baker

Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick

The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips

Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power by Niall Ferguson

Enchantments by Linda Ferri

End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation by Barry C Lynn

The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen

The Essential Difference: The Truth about the Male and Female Brain by Simon Baron-Cohen

Eva Moves the Furniture by Margot Livesey

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Pop Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity by David Foster Wallace

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor

Family Circle: The Boudins and the Aristocracy of the Left by Susan Braudy

Fanny a Fiction by Edmund White

The Fasting Girl: A True Victorian Medical Mystery by Michelle Stacey

Fat Land : How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World (03 Edition) by Greg Critser

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy

Flatterland: Like Flatland, Only More So by Ian Stewart

Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World by David T. Courtwright

The Forgetting: Alzheimer's, Portrait of an Epidemic by David Shenk

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

The Fountain at the Center of the World by Robert Newman

Fraud by David Rakoff

The Friendly Young Ladies by Mary Renault

Gabriel's Gift by Hanif Kureishi

Gardens of the Moon: Book One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

Gaudi a Biography by Gijs Van Hensbergen

Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage by Noah Andre Trudeau

Get Your War On II by David Rees

Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier by Mark Kram

The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

The Girl from the Coast by Pramoedya Anan Toer

Glue by Irvine Welsh

Gods of War, Gods of Peace: How the Meeting of Native and Colonial Religions Shaped Early America by Russell Bourne

Good Faith by Jane Smiley

Hans Christian Andersen by Jens Andersen

Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott

Hard News the Scandals At the Nyt & The by Seth Mnookin

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories by Alice Munro

Heloise & Abelard by James Burge

The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami

He Sleeps by Reginald Mcknight

The Historian: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova

History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving by Deborah E. Lipstadt

Hitler Youth by Michael H. Kater

The Hollywood Dodo by Geoff Nicholson

Homo Zapiens by Victor Pelevin

Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab System by Lonny Shavelson

The Horned Man by James Lasdun

Hotel World (01 Edition) by Ali Smith

House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People by Toby Young

How to Raise a Family on Less Than Two Incomes: The Complete Guide to Managing Your Money Better So You Can Spend More Time with Your Kids by Denise M Topolnicki

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power by Travis Hugh Culley

The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru

In a Dark Wood by Amanda Craig

Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation by Andrew Goliszek

I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults by Deborah Tannen

The Italian American Reader: A Collection of Outstanding Fiction, Memoirs, Journalism, Essays, and Poetry by Bill Tonelli

Its My Party Too by Christine T Whitman

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford

Johnny Too Bad: Stories by John Dufresne

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The Knight of Maison-Rouge: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Alexandre Dumas

Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Last Days of Haute Cuisine : Coming of Age of American Restaurants (01 Edition) by Patric Kuh

The Last Face You'll Ever See: The Private Life of the American Death Penalty by Ivan Solotaroff

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel

Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography by William Lee Miller

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays! by Winsor McCay

Look at Me by Jennifer Egan

Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation by Dan Kennedy

Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next Novels) by Jasper Fforde

Lost: Lost and Found Pet Posters from Around the World by Ian Phillips

Love by Toni Morrison

Love in Idleness by Amanda Craig

Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folkore and Popular Culture by Bill Ellis

Lucky in the Corner by Carol Anshaw

Lucky Girls: Stories by Nell Freudenberger

The Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda

The Manhattan Beach Project: A Novel by Peter Lefcourt

The Man in My Basement: A Novel by Walter Mosley

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson by Robert Hofler

The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions by Randall Sullivan

Mr. Paradise by Elmore Leonard

Mutiny on the Globe: The Fatal Voyage of Samuel Comstock by Thomas Heffernan

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Neocon Reader by Irwin M. Stelzer

Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia by Catherine Merridale

No Country for Old Men 1st Edition by Cormac McCarthy

No Ordinary Matter by Jenny McPhee

Oblivion: A Novel by Peter Abrahams

Oblivion 1st Edition by David Foster Wallace

One Mans Bible by Xingjian Gao

On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks

Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater

The Originals by Dave Gibbons

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

The Other Wind Signed Edition by Ursula K Le Guin

Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest (Sexual Cultures) by Diane Purkiss

Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Paradise by A. L. Kennedy

Passage by Connie Willis

The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks

Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion by Jennifer Saginor

The Plot against America: A Novel by Philip Roth

Political Fictions by Joan Didion

Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

Porno by Irvine Welsh

Port Mungo by Patrick McGrath

The Portrait of MRS.charbuque by Jeffrey Ford

Pot Planet: Adventures in Global Marijuana Culture by Brian Preston

Project X by Jim Shepard

Promethea: Volume 1 by Alan Moore

Queens Slave Trader John Hawkyns Elizabe by Nick Hazlewood

Radiance by Carter Scholz

Rebel Heart: An American Rock 'n' Roll Journey by Bebe Buell

The Red and the Black by Stendhal

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser

The Rights of Desire by Andre Brink

Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography by Stephen Knight

The Rottweiler by Ruth Rendell

A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska

Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do about It by Peter G. Peterson

Saturday by Ian McEwan

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford

A Series of Unfortunate Events #06: The Ersatz Elevator CD (4 Volumes) by Lemony Snicket

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Shakey: Neil Young's Biography by Jimmy McDonough

Shipwreck by Louis Begley

Shrinking the Cat: Genetic Engineering Before We Knew about Genes by Sue Hubbell

Snobbery: The American Version by Joseph Epstein

The Society of Others by William Nicholson

Sometimes You See It Coming by Kevin Baker

The Songs of the Kings by Barry Unsworth

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

Stone Cribs by Kris Nelscott

Stud: Adventures in Breeding by Kevin Conley

Swanns Way in Search of Lost Time Volume 1 by Marcel Proust

The System of the World: Baroque Cycle #03 by Neal Stephenson

Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories by A. M. Homes

Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Across America by Mark Oppenheimer

Thirteen Steps Down by Ruth Rendell

This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost by Carolyn S Briggs

This Is Not a Novel by David Markson

Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder by Bill O'Reilly

A Thread of Grace: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell

Times Like These by Rachael Ingalls

Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants: Based on a True Story by Jill Soloway

The Towers of Trebizond (New York Review of Books Classics) by Rose Macaulay

The Tragedy of Today's Gays by Larry Kramer

Trance: A Novel by Christopher Sorrentino

Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism by Ann Coulter

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel

The Twins of Tribeca by Rachel Pine

Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver W Sacks

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory by Edward T Linenthal

Unless by Carol Shields

The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever

When Hollywood Had a King: The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent Into Power and Influence by Connie Bruck

The Whore's Child: And Other Stories by Richard Russo

Who Sleeps with Katz by Todd McEwen

Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid by Robert Sternberg

Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany by Lyndal Roper

A Woman Soldier's Own Story: The Autobiography of Xie Bingying by Xie Bingying

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories by Emma Donoghue

Wrecking Crew: The Really Bad News Griffith Park Pirates by John Albert

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett

You're an Animal, Viskovitz! (02 Edition) by Alessandro Boffa

The Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling

Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics by Allan Hunt Badiner

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.