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Gunfighter: An Autobiography Paperback – April 1, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Son of a Methodist preacher, John Wesley Hardin killed a man at age 15, thus beginning a murderous, fugitive existence. He was eventually caught, and during his 16 years in jail studied law. After his release, he set up a law practice, but soon returned to gambling and drinking. By the time of his death at the age of 42, he was killed in a barroom brawl he was loathed as a murderer and loved as a vigilante hero, in equal measure. He also left behind the eerily captivating Gunfighter, the only literate, first-person account of an outlaw that has emerged from the late 19th-century West. This edition is the first since 1961; few cultural historians of the period will want to be without it.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Creation Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840680385
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840680386
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,898,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Judith C. Kinney on October 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I like elegant language, and I don't like violence. JWH's autobiography has none of the former and plenty of the latter, yet it is exactly right for what it is, the autobiography of a notorious gunfighter who thought the easiest way to solve any problem was to kill the problem. You only had to look cross-eyed at Hardin, and you were a dead man. Yet, as John Wesley tells his story, every one of his forty-odd killings was justified. The reader almost feels sympathetic...
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Format: Paperback
Gunfighter is the autobiography of famed western gunfighter John Wesley Hardin. It was 1868 when John killed his first man at the age of fifteen and became a wanted outlaw. He took up a life of cattle drover, gambler, and killer whose bloody trespass through Southern states after the end of the Civil War brought him into contact with Wild Bill Hickok, the Texas Rangers, an emerging Ku Klux Klan, lynch mobs, bounty hunters, and assassins. His journal/autobiography ends abruptly in 1889 and was first published in 1896, a year after his assassination and remains the only extent and authentic autobiography of a western gunfighter. Out of print for the last four decades, this new edition of a western classic is enhanced with an informative introduction by Mark Manning and highly recommended reading for western buffs and students of American frontier history.
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Format: Paperback
This is the book that John Wesley Hardin and his lover, the wild, drunken Beulah M'Rose, were laboring to write during Hardin's final weeks of life in El Paso, 1895. M'Rose was apparently an educated woman, and Hardin was no idiot- he was a kind of jack leg lawyer when he was killed- but neither of them are Tolstoy. The writing is labored, workmanlike. But it is still the story of John Wesley Hardin, told in his own words and it is fascinating and instructive. "As you bend a twig, it will grow," Hardin writes, "and so I grew up a rebel."
And what a rebel he was, at least for a few short years. Growing to manhood in central Texas in the years follwoing the Civil War, Hardin was among a group of people who were truly oppressed, even if, by some standards, they deserved to be. Federal law ruled, enforced by recently freed slaves given arms and authority, and encouraged to use both by federal officals who still burned for vengeance. Texas citizens had no representation, no hope of justice for any grievances. Self-defense meant battle.
And Hardin was very good at that.

There are stories told here that truly make you understand how a man like Hardin is made and forged. At age eight, Hardin witnesses his frst murder- a poor old man hounded by a younger wealthier man for a debt he could not pay, fights his way through a crowd, draws a Bowie, and slashes his tormentor's throat. Honor fulfilled. Debts paid in blood. At 13, Hardin repeatedly stabs Charles Sloter at school, after Sloter chalked some offensive graffiti on the wall and accused Hardin of the deed. Sloter almost dies, and the teachers agree that Hardin did the right thing. "I proved it up on him..." writes Hardin.

And on alot of others.
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This book tells it like it is in his own words. Since the famous outlaw wrote it himself it's obviously covering up the truth for some parts, but how much closer can we really get to the truth, and it's a fascinating study from his side. Historians will talk about the details from others' point of view, but how often do we get to find out what he was doing when others were looking for him, and how he felt about each act, and what really made him who he was. You can almost detect his Texas accent as if he were speaking directly to you. Just don't try to read it while the TV's on. It's way too important, and you'll find yourself entirely wrapped in this book until finished. It doesn't take long to read, but it's action packed and the timeline and events mentioned are real.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very impressed with the quick service! The paperback book was in excellent condition. Would do business with this seller again! Gunfighter: An Autobiography

KAP
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