Wild Bill Hickok: The Man and His Myth

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University Press of Kansas, 1996 - 276 páginas
James Butler Hickok was alternately labeled courageous, affable, and self-confident; cowardly, cold-blooded, and drunken; a fine specimen of physical manhood; an overdressed dandy with perfumed hair; an unequaled marksman; a poor shot. Born in Illinois in 1837, he was shot dead in Deadwood only 39 years later. By then both famous and infamous, he was widely known as "Wild Bill". Excavating the reality behind the myth, Joseph Rosa delves into the exploits and ego that defined Hickok and shows how the man was overtaken by his own legend. Rosa exposes a controversial and charismatic man - army and Indian scout, wagonmaster, courier, frontiersman, gunfighter, lawman, prospector, addicted gambler, and short-time actor - who was elevated from regional fame to national notoriety by inadvertently being in the right place at the right time. Culminating four decades of research by one of the top authorities on Wild West legends, this is a highly entertaining account of the larger-than-life character whose reported accomplishments - both real and imaginary - frequently brought him unwanted publicity. Setting the record straight, Rosa exposes some of the deliberate lies that vested Hickok with a "man-killer" reputation he didn't deserve. In the process, Rosa reveals a great deal about how myths were initiated and perpetuated to glorify the nineteenth-century frontier.

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Joseph G. Rosa, who makes his home in Ruislip, Middlesex, England, is the author of the definitive biography of Wild Bill Hickok, They Called Him Wild Bill: The Life and Adventures of James Butler Hickok, as well as The Gunfighter: Man or Myth? And (with Waldo E. Koop) Rowdy Joe Lowe: Gambler with a Gun, all published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

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