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Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers Hardcover – July 16, 2008
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"Contemporaries of the James-Younger gang, Ed and Lon Maxwell were briefly quite as famous, feared, and, in Ed’s case, dead as Jesse James himself. . . . A diligent researcher, Hallwas uncovers all data about the Maxwell family, who in the 1860s and 1870s were tenant farmers in western Illinois and Iowa. . . . Describing the posses that eventually nabbed Ed in 1881 (Lon vanished), Hallwas ably restores their escapades to the history of western outlawry."--Booklist
"Hallwas's massively researched book explores cultural and psychological factors that produced law-breakers and created a crime wave in the post-Civil War period. . . . A page turning narrative."--Quad-Cities Online
"What an intriguing book! . . . This extraordinary detailed work delves into the psychology of outlawry and the American culture that seems to find entertainment in such notorious personalities. Western history in the future should no longer ignore the escapades of the Maxwell brothers nor this excellent book."--True West
Top Customer Reviews
After killing two lawmen who were after them, the brothers Maxwell became part of a national-wide manhunt which was covered breathlessly by the newspapers and which involved lynch mobs. The presence of these vigilantes caused a nation-wide debate on the subject of law and order.
Hallwas' book is a remarkable achievement, partially because it shows that outlaws in a sterotypically Western mode, functioned east of the Mississippi.
The level of detail and the level of drama which Hallwas brings to the table here is admirable. This book is a read.
The book also places the brother's crimes and many escapes in the context of post-Civil War lawlessness. Hallwas shines a light on the crippling social conditions and judicial deficiencies which helped make life as an outlaw seem feasible to some men. Finally, the book explores the nature of crime and media attention on the case of the Notorious Maxwell brothers.
Hardback with dustjacket, 401 pp. Maroon cloth over hardback boards with a sewn binding. Heavy stock. Numerous b&w illustrations with helpful maps. 50 pp of End Notes and a 13 page Bibliography.