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Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the…

Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild…

by Mark Lee Gardner

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This was a very pleasant surprise. This was thought to be a history book of sorts, but it would not be unexpected if it had been a breezy and rather superficial repeat of well know Americana. Most people have seen at least some rendering of Jesse James as a notorious outlaw, but this is indeed a true history book, jammed packed with details, not at all of which are well known, if known at all. If this had been a motion picture, instead of a book, the author might well be up for an Academy Award in film editing, for he keeps the pace following throughout. I don't recall once finding the narrative lagging. And the book covers much more than just the infamous Northfield Raid. Details are offered for the much earlier "bad men" that sprang from the Civil War conflicts and groups such as Quantrill's Raiders, and flows all the way to the early part of the twentieth century. The level and amount of information offered is extraordinary. At first, I found myself comparing it to Hampton Sides' Hellhound on His Trail, which covered James Earl Ray, and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The narrative was presented in a similar way, but why was this book so much more thorough and confident in its facts? It wouldn't seem to be the fault of Hampton Sides. Then, I found myself comparing it, not just to the 1960s, but to today's news coverage, especially in light of the recent American presidential election. The reader will find a very different world back then for how news was collected, disseminated, and -- over all else -- controlled. Read this book and imagine how much differently American's would have been informed of its presidential candidates. This is not just good history of the "Wild West", but a reflection on our society's changes for anyone willing to look. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
Not usually my style of book for reading but this is a good exception. Excellent narratives of the hunt for members of the James gang. Good background biographies of the main characters, and smooth flow to the reading that maintains a good level of suspense. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
Very readable book that hooks you right from the start. You're given insight into the characters of each man in the James-Younger gang and what became of those that survived the Northfield Raid. The James-Younger gang made the official law enforcement efforts look like the Keystone cops with misidentifications and some men who preferred to turn in for a good night's sleep or have a drink at a saloon along the way rather than keep an eye out for outlaws. Very enjoyable. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Sep 20, 2014 |
Provides both background to the gang, and how they each ended up. A fast read. Since they had had little resistance in prior robberies, they poorly assumed that they could dress outlandishly and attract attention, and yet cause no suspicion when they initiated the robbery. ( )
  jimmoz | Sep 16, 2014 |
It's a well researched and well written book. It held my attention from start to finish. I would recommend its reading to all lovers of the old west or robbers of that time. ( )
  Philip100 | Feb 25, 2014 |
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Nerves hard as blackjack oak, the ability to ride like blazes, and the latest six-gun all played a role in the James and Younger boys' special brand of mayhem.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061989479, Hardcover)

It was the most famous bank robbery of all time, involving the Wild West's most celebrated gang of outlaws and their iconic leader, Jesse James. In the spirit of Manhunt and Empire of the Summer Moon, Shot All to Hell tells the hour-by-hour story of the James-Younger gang's last robbery and the two-week chase that followed - the near misses, the fateful mistakes, and the bloody final shootout on the Watonwan River. Mark Lee Gardner takes us inside Northfield's First National Bank and outside in the streets as the outlaw robbers square off with the heroic citizens who risked their lives to defeat America's most daring criminals. Drawing on voluminous primary sources, including newspaper reports from the period, Gardner goes beyond previous accounts to tell the full, in-depth story of the James-Younger gang's thrilling hold-up and Jesse and Frank's incredible escape. Shot All to Hell follows the James brothers as they elude the several posses hell-bent to capture them-one of the largest manhunts in U. S. history. And it solves a mystery that has been hotly debated for more than 135 years - The identity of the killer who gunned down Joseph Lee Heywood, the bank's acting cashier. Gardner also offers elegiac endings for the Younger brothers, Cole, Jim, and Bob, and explores the James brothers' fates after the manhunt. A galloping true tale of frontier justice featuring audacious outlaws and brave heroes, Shot All to Hell is a riveting slice of Wild West history that continues to reverberate today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:42 -0400)

Recounts the thrilling life of Jesse James, Frank James, the Younger brothers, and the most famous bank robbery of all time -- the Northfield raid -- which led to a two-week chase ending with the bloody final shootout on the Watonwan River.

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