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Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 23, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (July 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061989479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061989476
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There are, of course, many books and films, some serious and some fanciful, on the exploits of the James-Younger gang. Unlike most of them, Gardner, an authority on the American West, has shed considerable light on a neglected aspect of the gang’s life of crime, the escape of Frank and Jesse James from several posses after the debacle of their attempted robbery of the bank in Northfield, Minnesota. In his description of the origins of the gang and their “careers” before Northfield, Gardner provides a useful background for novices on the topic. His narrative picks up steam in his detailed, almost bullet-by-bullet account of the failed robbery. In the planning, the James brothers failed to realize that the well-armed citizens of Northfield would resist the attack on a bank that held their savings. Those who escaped the carnage in the town were the subject of a massive manhunt covering hundreds of miles, and the escape of Frank and Jesse was both exciting and remarkable. This is a well-done reexamination of an episode that has become enshrined in Western lore. --Jay Freeman

Review

Rollicking. ... Equal parts violent melodrama and meticulous procedural... with enough bloody action to engage readers enthralled by tales of good versus evil.” (New York Times Book Review)

Superb. ... Mr. Gardner earns an A+ for his research and an A++ for his writing. (New York Journal of Books)

“An elegant narrative that’s as entertaining as it is historically accurate… A must-read.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Action packed…A gripping read and probably tells all there is to tell about a legendary group of psychopaths.” (Kirkus)

“[This] bullet-by-bullet account... sheds considerable light on a neglected aspect of the gang’s life of crime... well done.” (Booklist)

Rewarding. ... Gardner’s re-creation of the Northfield Raid... orchestrates the often-unwieldy particulars of the event with considerable virtuosity. ... It would be hard to imagine a more thorough account.” (Washington Post)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
63%
4 star
32%
3 star
4%
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See all 115 customer reviews
It was fascinating reading, very well written, and not in the usual dry facts manner.
Richard D. Miller
His new one, Shot All to Hell, tells the story of the notorious James/Younger gang's attempt to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota.
Paul Seydor
The book is VERY detailed, exhaustively researched with chapter notes that give even more information about the events.
Chris Keen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By The Colorado Kid on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't a huge fan of Mark Lee Gardner's first book "To Hell on a Fast Horse," a duel biography of Sheriff Pat Garrett and outlaw Henry McCarty, aka "Billy the Kid." While I enjoyed his prose, I just didn't find a lot of new information in its pages, the only thing that I think truly validates a book on a subject that can claim almost another 1000 texts devoted to it. When I heard about his Jesse James book "Shot All to Hell," I admit to being a skeptic given my previous disappointment. I basically rolled my eyes as an internal voice said, "Jeez man, another book on a guy who basically EVERYONE has heard of? Where's your originality?"

Boy, I'm glad I told that annoying, negative voice to shove it.

"Shot All to Hell" tells the story of the infamous James-Younger gang's disastrous attempt to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota. The gang, comprised of Frank and Jesse James, Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger, and their pals Charlie Pitts, Clell Miller, and Bill Chadwell, were Dixie-fried sons'o'the South from Missouri who traveled far off their graze to the prosperous mill-town in the southeastern part of the Land of 1000 Lakes hoping to a) take down the mythical "big score" that would enable them to retire, and b) strike a blow against the Yankees whom the gang--all ex-Confederate guerilla fighters who had ridden with Captains Quantrill and Anderson--still held in contempt 11 years after Lee's surrender. Cocky and absolutely positive that the citizens of Northfield would be easily cowed by their six-gun prowess, they never even considered what would happen if a town full of farmers, merchants, college students, mill-workers, and Scandinavian immigrants took up arms against them.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ethan on August 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jesse James is perhaps one of the most famous criminals in American history. With the assistance of his notorious gang of outlaws, James sealed his position in the legends of western folklore. In Shot All to Hell, author Mark Lee Gardner details the gang's final showdown, as they attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.

Gardner provides unique insights into the gang's motivations. It turns out, that the group is comprised of mostly ex-confederates. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why they would want to rob a northern bank. On top of the giant blow the heist would cause the Northerners, the giant sum of money that the gang would acquire would allow the James Brothers to settle down and end their outlaw ways. But as most heists go, this one doesn't go as plan. Despite the gang's confidence in their actions, they never expected the bankers to fight back. Throughout the book, Gardner chronicles the actions of the gang and the group of citizens determined to defeat the notorious criminals.

This book could have easily been a rehash of historical facts, regurgitated as fresh revelations. Fortunately, Gardner eschews the pitfalls of other historical books, writing with a quick prose and surprisingly vibrant wit. He sheds a new light on several aspects of the James gang, remaining objective in both is reporting and observations. This books reads as a fast paced, historical, western, managing to remain both factual and entertaining. At under 300 pages, Shot All to Hell is the perfect summer read for those looking for a smart, quick, alternative to the standard fare.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on August 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
People familiar with the Jesse James and Cole Younger gang are familiar with the planned bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, but author Mark Lee Gardner provides us with detailed information regarding the robbery in addition to the chase that took place by an enraged posse following the fiasco that netted the bandits a few measly dollars. Two members of the gang were killed in the initial period besides a bank employee. There appears to be a question as to which gang members murdered bank employee Joseph Heywood although it appears to have been Frank James. Bob Younger suffered a shattered elbow while brother Jim took a bullet that lodged in his shoulder and Cole a bullet to his hip.

Author Gardner provides enriching detail regarding the suffering the robbers experienced as they made their way through unfamiliar woods in rainy weather in addition to nursing their troublesome wounds. The Youngers eventually split up from the James' brothers with the Youngers being captured.

I found it interesting that the dead bandits were propped up and photographed and then put on display for the public to view. This practice of putting the Younger gang on display for the curious public after their arrest took place as well.

This attempted bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, has to be the ultimate fiasco in bank robberies and the enraged citizens of Northfield were not about to let this happen in their town. The author provides us with information regarding what took place regarding each of the participants. Jesse, of course, was murdered by fellow gang member Bob Ford with the Younger boys and Frank James serving prison sentences. All were eventually released and the death of each is briefly mentioned.
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