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Charleston & Millville,A.T. Hell on the San Pedro Paperback – March 26, 2012
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About the Author
A native of southeastern Arizona, John Rose first visited Charleston purely by accident as a child, and has been intrigued by that place ever since. He has devoted decades to his research of the history which surrounds his home. Mr. Rose has been published in the nation’s top-selling western history magazine, has appeared in Arizona Highways, and has been interviewed by Voice of America among many others. He has published ground breaking articles on his critically acclaimed website known as “Wyatt Earp Explorers.com” This critically acclaimed website has a worldwide audience which averages 10,000 hits per month. Rose’s personal antique collection is one of the key Tombstone, Earp, and Charleston inventories, extending into the Arizona Territory, Geronimo, and the Apache Wars. It includes original documents and photos, saloon equipment, personal possessions of noted characters of those colorful times, and many other items. As he has said before, “If you want to understand America, you have to come to the West; if you want to understand the West, you have to come to this [The San Pedro River] Valley.” A key part of this valley’s history is the untold story of Charleston and Millville. Mr. Rose turns his attention to these important but under-reported locations, and for the first time ever, the story of Charleston and Millville A.T. is now offered in book form.
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I would actually give the book 4.5 stars for "production value." John's wonderful photos--I especially enjoyed the side-by-side then and now pictures--are not well served by the printer or publisher, whose identity is not mentioned in the book. The photos are great, they are also grainy, and not from original condition. Each is grainy in the same way and to the same degree. Mr. Rose has a website and so I know he knows how to properly digitize images. I can only assume this graininess happened at some point in the printing process. Whether the publisher is Amazon or someone else, they need to work on this side of the effort. Still, all and all, if you are interested in Arizona Territory, Cochise County, Mining and Milling towns, Ghost Towns, even Tombstone, and yes, even that looming presence of Wyatt Earp, you need this book. It is an essential part of the tale, never before as richly told.
Readers will be interested in his take on the Johnny-behind-the-duece section, an event central to the Earp legend, and a controversial topic among Earp historians. In this section of the book, the author's conclusions are balanced and merited by the evidence he presents.
The author also humanizes and shows the centrality of the cold-blooded killing of young Martin Peel to the Earp story, a murder committed by cow-boy opponents of Earp, a terrible slaying too often dismissed as a minor sideshow. The descriptions of the effects of his son's death on Peel's father and friends were particularly moving- I don't recall reading about such reactions before. Linking the Peel killing to the Curly Bill Brocius shooting by Earp should challenge many previously held conclusions about the events of those times. Other sections I especially liked were the stories of Charleston earthquake, and of James Wolf and his relationship with Alfred Henry Lewis's Wolfville Tales.
This is a work that anyone interested in Tombstone and Wyatt Earp needs to read for a fuller picture of the tumultuous legendary events of the early 1880s in southeastern Arizona.