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Dirty, Wicked Town (Nebraska) Paperback – April 1, 2000
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From the Inside Flap
Hast ever been in Omaha, Where rolls the dark Missouri down, And four strong horses scarce can draw An emtpy wagon through town? Where sand is blown from ever mound To fill the eyes and ears and throat-- Where all the steamers are aground And all the shanties are afloat? Where whisky shops the livelong night Are vending out their poison juice; Where men are often very tight, And women deemed a trifle loose? Where taverns have an anxious guest For every corner, shelf and crack; With half the people going west, And all the others going back? Where theaters are all the run, And bloody scalpers come to trade; Where everything is overdone And everybody underpaid? If not, take heed to what I say: You'll find it just as I have found it; And if it lies upon your way, For God's sake, reader, go around it! Poem from 1869 Harper's Magazine
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The 300-page book is divided into 22 chapters, and in a technique reminiscent of what John Dos Passos did in the "USA Trilogy," Bristow includes excerpts from actual newspaper stories to make the historical context more real. Chapters from this work have been included in "Nebraska Life" magazine, with several more forthcoming.
Bristow grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa. He is formally trained in neither creative writing nor history, but instead holds degrees in psychology. Bristow does not embrace the role of historian in a traditional sense, but rather picks and chooses stories that illuminate different dimensions of Omaha history in an interesting way.
He wrote to me in an e-mail from his Omaha home, "My goal was to tell a limited number of true stories, writing each so that it would read like fiction." Instead of writing a comprehensive history, Bristow was free to use his own criteria to select which tales he relates. He tells me, "I chose the stories I did because each has some universal human quality about it--humor, tragedy, love, hatred, hope, injustice, stupidity--and often all of them mixed in together. That's really why any storyteller chooses his or her subject matter."
The book opens with what can be considered as Omaha's first day. In 1854, a hasty Independence Day picnic was broken up by what appeared to be a hostile band of Indians. The early chapters of the book fill in details about Omaha's settlement and its struggle to attain viability as a community.Read more ›
A great book--the description of 'Rock Brooke Farm' will either make you cry for what has been lost or make you cheer progess depending on your P.O.V.
A Dirty, Wicked Town is a great read. As with any good work of historical research it's not always complimentary. It presents Omaha's dreams and aspirations along with its nasty bits...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
well written and interesting, but I expected a pure historical treatment as opposed to the "novel" feel of the text... tomPublished 4 months ago by Thomas J Drozda
What a wonderful walk thru the early history of Omaha...the good, the bad and the ugly. A must for history readers who are interested in the taming of the west'Published 8 months ago by John A Whitler
this is a fantastic book about a begone era of the western groth of our nation. it is extreme well documented
and should be read by scholars of this time period.
This is great reading....I am from Omaha and love the history...fun fun readingPublished 16 months ago by Rose Mary Nolan