marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

A Dynasty of Western Outlaws

A Dynasty of Western Outlaws by Paul I. Wellman

A tracing of crime from Quantrill's during the Civil War to the Kansas City Massacre.  It's not an overview of the era -- he traces some connections, rather -- though he does diverge quite a bit to explain circumstances.

Train robberies, bank robberies, cold-blooded murders, daring rescues, daring captures -- and not so daring captures.  Some of it is speculative, such as why the James gang gratuitously murdered a young man in their first bank robbery, and which one did it. Motives, such as a number of crimes that seemed to be done out of flamboyant desire for fame. And the changes as the west was tamed.

A lot of interesting stuff.  Not particularly gory in retelling, though there are a lot of deaths.

Indeed, this was first published in 1960 -- and the author can talk of his having talked with some of the participants.
Tags: history reviews: 19th century-wwi

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