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Gone to Texas by Forrest Carter
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Gone to Texas

by Forrest Carter

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Showing 5 of 5
Well written, action packed. ( )
  Omegawega | Mar 31, 2018 |
Gone to Texas - Forrest Carter ****

Like most people I have seen the brilliant film ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ starring Clint Eastwood, but I never realised that it was actually based up a novel called ‘Gone to Texas’. Written in 1972 and originally published under the title ‘The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales’ it was republished in 1975 as ‘Gone to Texas’. The author Forrest Carter had a more than colourful life with several links to the KKK hidden in his past, and it’s worth having a quick read on Wiki about him.

What is it about?
Typical western, following the wronged outlaw as he evades capture from the enemy and must travel to safety. With a bounty on his head Wales must use both his guns and quick thinking to keep one step ahead of the ever increasing number of hunters looking to bring his down. Unlike a lot of other ‘cowboy’ novels Carter has introduced a number of themes that deal with the various issues of the time that the book was set, such as the relocation of the native indians and the struggles of the civil war. It has a gritty realism that is usually absent from most books of this genre.

What did I like?
The main attraction of the book for me was the way that Carter placed the novel around real life events. Many of the supporting characters in the book are actual representations of real life figures and Carter certainly has the ability to draw you into the story. The action when it comes is fast and furious, and anyone who enjoys the occasional gunfight (and who doesn’t?) will find plenty to keep them entertained here.

What didn’t I like?
The story at times seemed to drag. There were a number of paragraphs that contained, at least to my mind, a lot of excess information. This really caused me to struggle to keep up with the storyline and at times I felt as if I was just drifting through the book without really taking anything in. My only other bugbear was the use of dialect when the characters speak. I enjoy reading a novel without having to try and decipher what people are saying.

Would I recommend?
To fans of westerns then this has to be a part of your collection, especially if you have already seen the film. There was also a sequel written called ‘The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales’, but I don’t think I enjoyed the first novel enough to seek it out. ( )
  Bridgey | Dec 14, 2015 |
A sparse and interesting western. I believe the movie, "the Outlaw Josie Wales" was a better entertainment experience. But It's a better book than the follow-ups by the same author. Mr. Carter's career outside of the writing was rather unpleasant for me to follow. ( )
  DinadansFriend | May 7, 2014 |
A very good read. I would have given it 4 stars except there was a little too much pistol fanning, tied down holsters & other such Hollywood ideas. It was somewhat different than the movie, but both were a lot of fun. Eastwood did a great job both directing & starring in the movie version.

The book does contain a lot of good & accurate historical information. It really gives a good perspective of what things were like for those who lost or were just collateral damage in the Civil War. Very gritty & realistic in most ways. Great ending, too. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Jun 19, 2013 |
Originally published in 1973 by Whippoorwill Publishers as The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, reprinted in 1975 by Delacorte Press as Gone to Texas, reprinted in 1980 by Dell as The Outlaw Josey Wales, and in 1989 as Josey Wales (publisher unknown), this was the basis for the 1976 Clint Eastwood movie The Outlaw Josey Wales. I read the sequel, The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales, before I read this book, and I actually liked the sequel somewhat better than the original.

Josey Wales is a Tennessee mountain man whose wife and child were killed by pro-Unionist "Redleg" marauders from Kansas a few years before the American Civil War; enraged and thirsting for vengeance on all "bluebellies," he serves under "Bloody" Bill Anderson in the latter's guerrilla war against the Redlegs and, subsequently, Union troops. This short novel (228 pgs.) follows Josey's frequently violent adventures as he sneaks out of a too-hot-to-handle Missouri after the defeat of the Confederacy and drifts to southwest Texas, into Comanche territory.

The action is suitably rough (though not as rough as in Vengeance Trail), the historical details are deftly sketched (I would've been happy with a little more background information, actually), and the plot advances quickly enough to forestall any doldrums; but Carter's prose is even more amateurish here than in Vengeance Trail and his punctuation choices -- chiefly the over-reliance on ellipses -- are more annoying and puzzling. Carter manages to be more trite in his "deep thoughts" than I remembered him being in Vengeance Trail, as well as more sexist; he also sneaked in a perhaps unconscious bit of male chauvinism in a symbolic passage: "out of the hush that followed, a male thrush sent his trilling call of life across the valley" (p. 202 [Chapter 20]).

Perhaps Josey's philosophy is best summed up in one of his lengthier speeches, addressed to the elderly leader of a Comanche war party, Ten Bears (a real person whose real name was Paruasemana), towards the end of the book:

"'What ye and me cares about has been butchered...raped. It's been done by them lyin', double-tongued snakes thet run guv'mints. Guv'mints lie...promise...back-stab...eat in yore lodge and rape yore women and kill when ye sleep on their promises. Guv'mints don't live together...men live together. From guv'mints ye cain't git a fair word...ner a fair fight.'" (Chapter 20; p. 199)

I said it in my review of Vengeance Trail, but I'll say it again: ultimately Carter himself may well be more interesting than anything he's written: Forrest Carter was the nom de plume of an Alabama segregationist named Asa Earl Carter who was a white supremacist DJ who was fired for being too racist (he also broke with the Alabama Citizen's Council because he refused to tone down his anti-Semitic screeds, whereas the ACC preferred a strictly anti-Negro focus); he went on to become Governor George Wallace's speechwriter, and also founded an independent Ku Klux Klan group and the pro-segregationist monthly The Southerner. As "Forrest Carter" he wrote a fictional "memoir" titled The Education of Little Tree, which purported to relate the life of a part-Cherokee Indian; Oprah Winfrey withdrew her recommendation of the book after she learned of the author's past, thirteen years after blessing it with her imprimatur.

Carter's two Josey Wales novels are little more than the output of a competent and promising, though still unpolished, writer of pulp fiction; Carter's action scenes never quite rise to the heights attained by the likes of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs at their best (and I can't help but contrast Carter's references to the murderous violence along the Missouri-Kansas border in the 1850s and 1860s with Charles Portis's allusions to same in his novel True Grit), but these books do make acceptable diversions, if one is willing to set Carter's problematic (to put it kindly) past aside and let his work stand alone. (As I noted in my review of Vengeance, I can't help but wonder if Carter was, in some way, trying to atone in his later years -- he would die in 1979 -- with his books that sought to present people of good character who didn't share his skin tone or cultural background.) ( )
  uvula_fr_b4 | Apr 16, 2011 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Hunted by cavalry and bounty hunters, Josey Wales and a Cherokee friend struggle for survival on the dangerous trail to Texas.

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