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John Wesley Hardin: Dark Angel of Texas Paperback – April 15, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leon Claire Metz, a biographer and historian of the early Southwest, lives in El Paso, Texas. He is also the author of Pat Garrett: Story of a Western Lawman and Dallas Stoudenmire: El Paso Marshal, both published by the University of Oklahoma Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (April 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806129956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806129952
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having considered myself a sort of amateur historian of Texas figures, I know quite a bit about J.W. Hardin. Leon Metz's biography is the most honest and thoroughly researched one I've come across yet. This along with Metz's engaging writing style made this book a hard one to put down. He doesn't glorify or vilify this Texas gunman, and the reader comes away with a new understanding of the times and tribulations of those who lived on the frontier. I'm a hard sell, and yet I would recommend this book to anyone interested in characters of the American West.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book that I found very hard to put down. Mr. Metz' writing style is very folksy and engaging, yet quite scholarly. He neither presents Hardin as a hero, nor does he pass judgement: the facts speak for themselves.
Now on to the next Leon Metz book! This reviewer will definitely read them all.
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Format: Paperback
What I like most about the writtings of Mr. Leon Metz is how he tells of what is said to have happened, what may possibly have happened and what probably DID happen. As any old west buff knows, truth was not always a top priority and many stories were blown so out of proportion that the truth may never be known. Mr. Metz uses research along with common sense and comes up with truely believable aspects of this notorious outlaw who was clearly the greatest gunfighter of his time. This is an excellent book by an excellent author about the old west's most dangerous man.
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Format: Paperback
Leon C. Metz has written a wonderful account of the life and crimes of John Wesley Hardin. It is filled with many photo's, maps and illustrations. Metz has recorded all his documentation and resources for writing this book. I would highly recommend reading; "John Wesley Hardin: Dark Angel of Texas." Hardin was the worst killer of the "American West" by far. I have this one in my collection and you should too!

Mike Koch, Author of "The Kimes Gang."
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Format: Paperback
Leon Metz is a meticulous researcher who adds human interest information to his biography of John Wesley Hardin. He writes well and his narrative flows.

I learned much from Mr. Metz's novel and thoroughly enjoyed his writing style. I highly recommed this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most detailed account of Hardin I ever read. A real page turner filled with excellent photos. I have no respect or admiration for Hardin but I like to read about the "bad" guys. Metz is an excellent writer and I highly recomend his other books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't go into detail much on books. I'm make it plain and easy. I've done a lot of reading on the Wild West , the Old West and the Native American West in my 54 years. This is a great book on John Wesley Hardin , one of the best I have read on him. It is also a very easy read. Overall a great book. If you are into the Wild West or the Outlaw Gunslingers , then this book is for you.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone truly interested in the history of the American West is indebted to Leon Metz. This chronicle of the life of John Wesley Hardin is a no-frills biography, displaying the kind of dedicated research and attention to family lineages, old newspaper accounts, recorded verbal histories, etc. that have made Metz my first choice of authors in western history.

A reviewer above points out that Metz' prose is not as dynamic as, say, Shelby Foote's Civil War writings, but Metz makes up for that lack by his plain, readable style that packs a lot of facts and understanding into his work. There are no apologies here for Hardin's bad conduct, no attempts to make him any better or worse than he was. But what we get is a pretty clear picture of the time, when Northern occupation of, and persecution of, Texas made any chance of real justice under the law impossible, and made regular young men (which Hardin was NOT) outlaws in their own home territories. In such a climate, and in the violent years after the Civil War, when men were returning to Texas after being immersed in such an incredible crucible of hatred and killing, a figure like Hardin was perhaps inevitable. But there were very few like him, a young man who simply refused to back up, ever. Who turned the tables on every enemy through sheer ruthlessness and a seeming lack of fear. This is a chronicle of a truly American wildman. Hardin was certainly homicidal, but he was never a maniac. In his times- and they were short- he was a kind of hero. And that kind of murderous hero had no place in peacetime, a fact that everybody except for Hardin seemed to understand. Hardin simply ran out of war, and ran out of frontier, and went to prison.
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