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I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang Paperback – August 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leonce Gaiter’s noir thriller “Bourbon Street” was published by Carroll & Graf. His non-fiction has appeared in The Huffington Post, LA Times, The Washington Post, Salon, NY Times, NY Times Magazine and in national syndication. He has worked professionally in the creative ends of the film, recording, and marketing industries.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legba Books (August 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780615490106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615490106
  • ASIN: 0615490107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I like to write about the extraordinary. I have little interest in domestic drama, in small tales of internal struggle. I want to read and write characters who are extraordinary--larger than life. I certainly don't want to read or write about people who are "just like me." I want to read and write about those infinitely grander than I will ever be, willing to risk more, grasp more, love more, hate more, whose time and place demands more than you or I can probably imagine having to give... I guess it's my Southern gothic roots.

Official bio blurb below:

Leonce Gaiter is the author of the noir thriller Bourbon Street. His nonfiction writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, LA Weekly, NY Newsday, The Washington Post, Salon, and in national syndication.

His short fiction has appeared in the literary magazine Archipelago. His thriller Bourbon Street was published by Carroll & Graf in 2005. His historical novel, "I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang" is from Legba Books, September 2011. He currently lives in Northern California

Raised in New Orleans, Washington D.C., Germany, Missouri, Maryland and elsewhere, Leonce Gaiter is the quintessential army brat--rootless, restive, and disagreeable. He began writing in grade school and continued the habit through his graduation from Harvard. He moved to Los Angeles and put his disagreeability to work in the creative and business ends of the film and music industries.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Brown Girl VINE VOICE on August 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Before opening I Dreamt I Was In Heaven, I admittedly knew nothing of The Rufus Buck Gang; my knowlege of Wild West outlaws was limited to more popular and celebrated villians along the lines of Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the like. Thus Leonce Gaines's latest offering into the badlands of the wild, wild West was a enlightening yet tragic history lesson.

The novel opens with a frenzied mob seeking revenge toward the recently captured gang entering town under the protection of marshals. Then via a series of alternating flashbacks that continue throughout the book, the reader settles comfortably into the 1880s Indian Territory. The era's political and social issues and injustices are rendered via the intersecting experiences and philosopies of four key colorful characters Rufus Buck, Cherokee Bill, Dapper Henry Starr and "Hanging Judge" Isaac Parker. ''Both Rufus and the Judge are on conflicting missions of sorts -- Rufus, a wayward teen of Native- and African-American descent, and his multi-racial gang, wanted to instill fear into the hearts of whites and chase them from the Territory while the Judge practiced the law (a blend of God's, Natural (a la Darwin), and man's) in an attempt to bring order and civility to the region simultaneously weeding out the undesirable elements.

Inspired by Cherokee Bill's legacy, Rufus and his teen friends set out on a misguided rampage erroneously believing their antics would ignite an Indian uprising to reclaim their land. For nearly two weeks during the summer of 1895, the gang committed multiple acts of murder, rape, assault, thievery and arson; and they were quite successful at instilling fear amid the settlers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Bauch on August 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! Not only was I completely entertained (didn't want to put it down), I was captivated by the distinct personalities of each of the players. The crazies were believably so, the politicians sly & crooked while the historical bad guys were vivid and animated. As the story was unfolding I found myself captivated by the naïve mission of the gang, sympathetic to their cause and sickened by their methods of exacting revenge. Gaiter has managed to blend just the right amount of historical fact, entertaining fiction and dark humor to create a narrative worth telling and re-telling.
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Format: Paperback
In an ironic ending to "Hanging Judge" Isaac C Parker's tenure as the driving moral force in the Indian Territories, the Rufus Buck Gang is hung, Parker expiring soon after in 1896. The infamous raids of the Buck Gang are one small group's misguided attempt to provoke an Indian uprising, their methods violent, brutal and deadly. Gaiter writes his tale as a dispassionate observer, describing the evolution of destruction as the seed of mission takes root in Rufus Buck, a young man who has witnessed the enduring pain of the oppressed etched deeply in his father's face. Seeking praise and recognition, Rufus sets out to right the wrongs of the territories, to strike fear into opportunistic white men's hearts, his message delivered with the most brutal and inhumane methods possible.

To be sure, the Indian's great heritage is being systematically plundered by the US government, the ravenous greed and determination of those with the force of the law behind them, an apt application of Charles Darwin's theories. In fact, it is Darwin's The Origin of Species that drives a chink into Judge Parker's moral certainty, Godless ideas that explain behavior without a guiding spiritual imperative. Parker is forced to view himself as part of the whole, integral to the process from which the Rufus Buck Gang has taken shape, a deeply troubling realization of the complex nature of human behavior sans Divine Guidance. The young Buck idolizes outlaw Indian Bill, paying rapt attention to the praises of gentleman bandit Henry Starr on Bill's behalf while incarcerated in Fort Hood. With his own half-black, half-Creek Indian blood, Rufus, still really a boy, imagines his own outlaw fame, inspired by an angel who appears in his dreams.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Bernard on December 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Today when we think of gangs our thoughts are of young punk kids who just don't want to work or go to school so they can get a job and join the ranks of the working class. Just like the rest of us. Have we asked ourselves what is their motivation? Do we really know why they dress and act the way they do? Perhaps there is an underlying method to their madness that is inspired by this generation that we can't see, or chose not to see.

Gaiter brings to life a historical novel of the old west. But not the old west we are used to reading about. This old west incorporates a young gang of teens who are a mixed breed, some black and Creek Indian. There cause is not much different than our youth of today. Economic challenges in the old west are reminiscent of today.

The opening pages of this wonderful novel show a crowd of frightened people scarred by prejudice and ready to kill those they are terrified by:

As the wagon neared, the crowd saw the shackles. With the sight of that constraining metal their courage exploded. Shouts echoed off the buildings. Faces instantly deformed with rage and hatred. Spittle flew and dripped on chins with each more violent oath. With the prisoners bound, the tables were turned and the Buck Gang were their victims now.

Then they saw the young faces. A fleeting lull descended. These were not the hardened men, the dime novel villains they all expected. These were boys, none of them out of his teens. They had been terrorized - made to question their rights as men - by children. The crowd exploded.

Gaiter brings life back into the old west and how things really were. During the rein of hanging judge Isaac C. Parker, a mixed breed himself, attempts to maintain the law.
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