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The Outlaw Youngers: A Confederate Brotherhood Paperback – April 19, 1995


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The Outlaw Youngers: A Confederate Brotherhood + Ride the Razor's Edge: The Younger Brothers Story + Story of Cole Younger: By Himself (Borealis Books)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First-time author Brant, a Georgia TV writer and producer, claims to have spent more than two decades researching the four Younger brothers--Bob, Cole, Jim and John--ex-Confederate Army guerrillas whose life of crime ended with the famous Northfield, Minn., raid of 1876 in which Bob, Jim and Cole were captured. Affluent, intelligent sons of a respected Missouri family, the foursome were, in Brant's compassionate view, unable to distinguish between wartime and peacetime conduct. She pores over their family tree, and examines the Missouri-Kansas border war's effects on the Youngers. She also traces their involvement with the Frank and Jesse James gang and the lengthy incarcerations of charismatic Cole Younger, who received a pardon in 1903 and died in 1916, and his bookish, brilliant brother Jim, who was paroled in 1901 and committed suicide the following year. Brant's dedication notwithstanding, she proves unable to siftable to sift the significant from the trivial, so that the Younger brothers emerge from her biography as inscrutable as ever. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this in-depth biography, Brant shows that the Younger brothers--Cole, Bob, John, and Jim--were motivated by commitment, and she sets them firmly in the context of their times, clearly explaining how and why the sons of a prominent western Missouri merchant turned to a life of crime in the years following the Civil War. In the process, she also shows what life on the Missouri-Kansas border was like for those who supported the Confederacy. Brant has carefully crafted a comprehensive and informal account based on the available primary sources and has properly qualified many statements for which definitive proof is lacking. She successfully involves readers in the Youngers' story, making this work especially appealing to a general audience. Recommended for most libraries.
- Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Madison Books (April 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568330456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568330457
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marley Brant is the author of nine books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her books have been featured in People Magazine and the New York Times, been the basis for programs airing on VH1 and A&E, and served as the primary research for hours of television on the History channel, TBS and CMT. Brant has been employed in the entertainment industry as a biographical writer, music and television producer, publicist and artist development executive. She is the author of eight non-fiction books about outlaws, television and rock music. Brant's books The Outlaw Youngers: A Confederate Brotherhood and Jesse James: The Man and the Myth were both recognized with the Milton F. Perry Award for extensive research and contribution to American history. Her ninth book, In the Shadow, is her first historical novel.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely engaging account of the less famous half of the James-Younger gang. It is beautifully written and well researched. The author also provides a vivid glimpse into the suffering of the Southern civilian during the Civil War, which is an aspect of this era that seems to be under-reported by most authors dealing with this topic. Brant is aggressive in her writing and fills in the occasional gaps in the Younger's history with plausable theories. Her account of the Northfield raid and the eventual capture of the Youngers is by far the most detailed and informative version of this episode that I have read. This book is written intelligently yet it is never dry and dull. An interesting and exciting read. A real page turner!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "zahdio" on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was not a good book-it was a GREAT book! Again, Brant has done some quality research. We see the whole picture from the origin of the Youngers since the grandparents on to the father, a wealthy Henry Younger, being murdered by The Union troops, his farm being plundered and burned to the ground, leaving the sons to find a way to survive in western Missouri during the Civil War. This book provides a real window into the era, the motives of The Union as well as the reasons these men had to live the way they did. Anyone interested in this type of material will enjoy this book. We see who they were, why they were like this and especially get a new, documented perspective on the cruelty and barbaric behavior of The Union during this era. It also provides a new, accurate perspective of Southern Culture during this time period that is far removed from Hollywood.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is perhaps the best book about the Youngers to date, in a field that's not crowded with great works. This is her first book and she falls into the trap facing all biographers - objectivity. The book certainly seems to suffer from a pro-Confederate bias in the tone of her work, much as some books suffer from a pro-Northern bias. This book also relies on on the so-called "Maggie" letters for some of its most interesting revelations. Maggie is the alleged mistress of Bob Younger, but we are told in the note on the sources [page 340] that the actual source of these letters can't be revealed as they are in a private collection and can't be examined. Ditto with a number of alleged letters concerning Jim Younger. I would have given this book higher marks but for this. Some of the information may, or may not, be reliable, and this isn't made fully clear in the main text. If one day it becomes possible to examine and confirm the authenticity of these, the book certainly deserves a revised edition. Unless another book appears on the horzon, I'd say this will be the standard biography of the Youngers for some years to come.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story of the Youngers is very well told in this solid biography. As well as presenting well-researched information, the author writes in an engrossing style. It's good story-telling.
One area I found as having room for dispute was her use of Cole Younger's autobiography. She quotes from it extensively while at the same time saying that there's hardly a word of truth in it. I wouldn't go that far. People seldom lie outright in autobiographies--they hedge, leave things out, recolor things to make themselves look better. On the other hand, Cole Younger (an admitted felon) wrote an autobiography that is, at best, clintonian to the extreme, but I think there are far more elements of truth than the author gives credit for. As an example, Cole states flatly that Frank and Jesse James were not at Northfield. He says that two men using the aliases Howard and Woods were there, and he refuses to name their real names. Well, Frank and Jesse were living under the names Woodson and Howard at the time, so while Cole's statement isn't openly truthful, it is not entirely untruthful. In 1903, when he wrote, he was still protecting Frank James from a murder charge in Minnesota. I would have liked the author to give a bit more effort to finding the truth's in Cole's writings than the untruths. But that's a minor downcheck to a fine piece of work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By arlen boardman on July 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
The book was fun to read; it gave the detail and the background that I like because it sets the historical stage nicely for the well-publicized behavior of the Younger and James brothers. And it's not first out-West book I've read which shows the thin line between heroic gunmen like Wyatt Earp and bad guys. So, that the Youngers and Jameses were tipped onto the side of outlawry after the bitter Civil War period is believable.
The only trouble I had with the book was that it was a bit sloppily written -- and edited -- which I noted from the number of typographical errors and misspellings. The author referred to Charleton College (not Carleton College), correcting it in the second reference, and Hemline, instead of Hamline University. It made me wonder how many other mistakes there were.
I also wondered why no major endorsements like from the book clubs of the Washington Post or New York Times or Los Angeles Times were included in the introduction. I suspect they weren't favorable, if they were done at all. I find little value in an endorsement from a TV cowboy.
But I loved reading about the Youngers and that period. And the writing was fairly well done.
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The Outlaw Youngers: A Confederate Brotherhood
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