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Such Men As Billy The Kid The Lincoln County War Reconsidered

Jacobsen, Joel

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ISBN 10: 0803225768 / ISBN 13: 9780803225763
Editorial: University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1994
Condición: Very Good Encuadernación de tapa dura
Librería: Old West Books (ABAA) (Colorado Springs, CO, Estados Unidos de America)

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300 pages, illustrations. Lincoln County War, and Billy the Kid's role. N° de ref. de la librería 2446

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Detalles bibliográficos

Título: Such Men As Billy The Kid The Lincoln County...

Editorial: University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln

Año de publicación: 1994

Encuadernación: Hardcover

Condición del libro:Very Good

Condición de la sobrecubierta: Very Good

Edición: First Edition

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During the 1870s a group of merchants and their allies, known as "The House," gained control over the economy of Lincoln County, New Mexico. In 1877 this control was challenged by an English entrepreneur, John Tunstall. The House violently resisted the interloper, eventually killing him; Tunstall's employees and supporters, known as the Regulators, sought to take vengeance on the House by killing those responsible for Tunstall's death. Among the Regulators was a young man known as Billy the Kid.

This story of greed, violence, and death has entered American folklore through the mythologizing of the career of Billy the Kid and also through a tendency to see the Lincoln County War as an archetype of Western history. As are Dodge City, Boot Hill, and the OK Corral, the Lincoln County War is emblematic of frontier lawlessness.

The story has been often retold, and central to many of the accounts is the question of right and wrong, even of good and evil; was Billy the Kid merely a thug, a gun-for-hire, in an amoral turf battle between rival gangs? Or was the Kid actually a participant in a brave but doomed attempt to wrest control of a defenseless town from a corrupt and vicious band?

Basing his account on a careful reexamination of the evidence, particularly on expressions of public sentiment, court records, and the actions of Tunstall and the House, Jacobsen subjects traditional attitudes—both the "Billy as martyr" and the "war among thieves" explanations—to a searching reexamination, and finds that—as with most things in life—the truth lies somewhat between.

From the Author:

The great historian of American violence, Richard Maxwell Brown, wrote: "For the interested reader who wants to know what really happened in the war and just what Billy the Kid was like, this book is a good place to begin." (Washington Times, Oct. 30, 1994.) Brown's was my favorite review of all, because providing "a good place to begin" was what I'd hoped to achieve.

My goal in writing Such Men as Billy the Kid: The Lincoln County Reconsidered was to provide a historically-accurate but entertaining narrative history of the entire episode, start to finish. I soon discovered why there weren't any other books meeting that description: the primary sources were so voluminous it was difficult to wrestle them into a coherent narrative. Finally I hit on the narrative strategy of imitating, in a loose way, the structure of a serialized novel of the era, dividing the story into short chapters, each of which has its own narrative arc. The multitude of "characters" are introduced one at a time or in small groups, making it easy for the reader to remember their names and personalities. This structure helped organize the material and also suited the subject matter, because while the Lincoln County War is a fascinating human story it didn't change the course of history, even for southeastern New Mexico. So a solemn scholarly treatment seemed as inappropriate as the tired clichés of the many fictional and semi-fictional treatments. England's Daily Telegraph (Feb. 18, 1995) said the writing displays "verve and humour", which I hope is true.

Such Men as Billy the Kid was a finalist for the Golden Spur Award of the Western Writers of America in the category of best nonfiction-historical (to 1900).

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