By: Heather E. Schwartz
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: January 2013>
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2013
If you've ever seen those villainous cowboys on television, you are probably confident you know all about them. Think again because many of the "outlaws of the Wild West were men and women" and some of their crimes were shocking beyond words. Jesse James was one of those cowboys who simply wasn't as nice as many think he was. He was supposedly like "Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor." Wrong, dead wrong. Jesse James was nothing more than a "cold-blooded killer" who "robbed, murdered, and mutilated" people. He certainly was no Robin Hood, nor was he any kind of a hero.
There were a lot of shocking crimes in the Wild West and Big Nose George Parrott bragged on his one too many times. Big Nose and his gang were robbers and murderers who dismembered their victims. Fair is fair and after he was hung he somehow ended up as a pair of shoes. Yes, a pair of shoes! Shocking, but true. Women wanted to get in on the act as well. Belle Starr, "The Bandit Queen," was once a real southern belle who "was schooled in music, Greek and Latin." So why did she end up on the wrong side of the law? It all started when she began hanging out with the bad guys.
Another fellow, Charles E. Bolles, otherwise known as "Black Bart, the Gentleman Thief," was into poetry. Yep, every now and then, after he robbed a Wells Fargo stagecoach he left them a little poem. Oh, and when he asked for the cash what do you think he said? "Please," of course! In this book you'll read about all kinds of dastardly criminals. Some of their stories are quite shocking and you'll have to read them at your own risk. You'll also read about Joaquin Murrieta, Robert Leroy Parker, Harry Longabaugh, William Quantrill, Henry McCarty, Laura Bullion, Wyatt Earp, and John Wesley Hardin.
This is a "shocking" look as some of history's most ruthless outlaws. Undoubtedly many legendary criminals have gone down in history as figures many admire, particularly men such as Jesse James. However, some of these characters were a little more evil than their mythical portrayals have made them out to be. This book is a myth-buster and tells it like it is. The layout will draw in even the most reluctant reader with photographs, reproduced ephemera, and numerous informative sidebars. For example, we learn about a mysterious grave that turned up in 2008 of a man some believe to be that of the Sundance Kid. In the back of the book is an index and additional book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: If you have a youngster who loves reading about "shocking" characters is history, you might want to check out the Shockzone "Villains" series!