First edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2019]
xiii, 320 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 297-302) and index.
9781250173799 (hardcover)
* 9781250174017 (ebook)
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B Hickok
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Author Notes
Tom Clavin was born in the Bronx, New York. He is a bestselling author and has worked as a newspaper and web site editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for The New York Times. Two of his books have been New York Times best sellers, The Heart of Everything That Is and Halsey's Typhoon. Other books that have received popular and critical acclaim include The DiMaggios, Last Men Out, Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, The Last Stand of Fox Company, and his most recent book, Reckless: The Racehorse Who Became a Marine Corps Hero.Two of his books were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

As a legendary lawman, gambler, army scout, actor, and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickok is as synonymous with the image of the Wild West as are Buffalo Bill Cody, George Armstrong Custer, Dodge City, and Deadwood. As the legend surrounding Hickok grew, so did the myths. Each legend, from his involvement in the first quick-draw duel on the frontier to his death while playing cards, is carefully explored against numerous confirmations and other fact-checking. Clavin (Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West) combines almost poetic turns of phrase with the numerous details of a serious academic. Johnny Heller's entertaining, articulate narration is simply amazing. Verdict Highly recommended for anyone looking for adventure stories or tales of Wild West history. ["Fans of Dodge City and general readers will find this detail-laden volume appealing": Xpress Reviews 12/21/18 review of the St. Martin's hc.]-Scott R. DiMarco, Mansfield Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Clavin (Dodge City) portrays the legendary James "Wild Bill" Hickok as a sometimes trigger-happy gunman who became a 19th-century celebrity, in this rollicking but vaguely sourced biography. Hickok, born in 1837 Illinois, landed his first job in law enforcement at 20 as the town constable for Monticello, Kans. While working for a stagecoach company in Nebraska, he killed for the first time, defending his boss in a violent business dispute. Hickok served the Union during the Civil War as a scout and spy, and afterwards he shot and killed Davis Tutt, an acquaintance and romantic rival, in an argument about gambling debts; he was acquitted of murder, but gained a wide reputation as a fast draw. Press accounts turned him into a nationally known figure and made him a target for those seeking to prove their gunslinging skills. Hickok served as a marshal in Kansas, where he burnished his reputation as a gunfighter, although his habit of reflexive firing killed his own deputy, Mike Williams. Ultimately, Hickok was murdered, shot in the back of the head by someone he had not considered a threat. The absence of detailed source citations and Clavin's acknowledgment that many writings about Hickok are embellished or unverifiable suggest that this is less a sober work of history than an entertaining tale of the man and the legend. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Booklist Review

Clavin (Dodge City, 2017) looks behind the legend of gunfighter and lawman James Wild Bill Hickok, a central figure of Wild West mythology. The son of a farmer and abolitionist, Hickok was an ace marksman early on, which proved useful after the family's move to Bloody Kansas, the pre-Civil War hotbed of political violence and outlaws. At times a scout, spy, stagecoach driver, compulsive gambler, and marshal, his fame grew alongside contemporary frontier icons like Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody. After an 1867 profile in Harper's about his possibly embellished exploits, Hickok turned from a mere sharp-eyed shootist into an American frontier legend. (Even the dead man's hand he held when killed during a poker game at a Deadwood saloon became legendary.) Well written, full of vivid characters, and detailed, but built largely from existing literature, this is an accessible celebration of Hickok's life rather than a rigorous deconstruction of his romantic mythos. Casual fans of the Old West and the HBO show Deadwood will appreciate the wild ride.--Chad Comello Copyright 2019 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A vigorous yarn concerning the man who, by Clavin's (Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West, 2017, etc.) account, set the template for the Wild West gunslinger.There's a lot we don't know about Wild Bill Hickok (1837-1876), not least why a man born James Butler Hickok called himself Bill. The "wild" part of the moniker probably dates to the Civil War, when Unionist saloon patrons threatened to harm their secessionist-favoring bartender. "Though far from sharing the man's views," writes the author, "Bill believed in fair fights," and he backed the crowd down. As Clavin notes, just what Bill did during the war remains a matter of some history, but he may have served the Union while wearing a gray coat, working as a spy. Whatever the case, he was on the western frontier in time to stare down William Quantrill's guerrillas, turn up at the battle called the "Gettysburg of the West," and, soon after, to share friendships with Buffalo Bill Cody and George Armstrong Custerand perhaps even with Mrs. Custer, who called him "a delight to look upon." Mixed up with all that was the gunfighter business: Hickok was fast enough and accurate enough to deter a whole passel of bad guys, gaining notoriety when they didn't back off, as when he had to square off with a sometime acquaintance who argued with him over a small debt and didn't live to collect it. Clavin writes fluently and often entertainingly of a man shrouded in legend while being all too human. For example, Hickok may not have recognized the man who gunned him down in Deadwood, South Dakota, because even in his 30s, his eyes were going bad. The author also ably picks apart what is likely or actual from what is invented, including a whole tangle of tales involving a certain Calamity Jane and penny-dreadful stories that were circulating about him even while Hickok was still alive.Good history accessibly and ably told. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
<p> The definitive true story of Wild Bill, the first lawman of the Wild West, by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dodge City . <br> <br> In July 1865, "Wild Bill" Hickok shot and killed Davis Tutt in Springfield, MO--the first quick-draw duel on the frontier. Thus began the reputation that made him a marked man to every gunslinger in the Wild West.</p> <p>James Butler Hickock was known across the frontier as a soldier, Union spy, scout, lawman, gunfighter, gambler, showman, and actor. He crossed paths with General Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as Ben Thompson and other young toughs gunning for the sheriff with the quickest draw west of the Mississippi.</p> <p>Wild Bill also fell in love--multiple times--before marrying the true love of his life, Agnes Lake, the impresario of a traveling circus. He would be buried however, next to fabled frontierswoman Calamity Jane.</p> <p>Even before his death, Wild Bill became a legend, with fiction sometimes supplanting fact in the stories that surfaced. Once, in a bar in Nebraska, he was confronted by four men, three of whom he killed in the ensuing gunfight. A famous Harper's Magazine article credited Hickok with slaying 10 men that day; by the 1870s, his career-long kill count was up to 100.</p> <p>The legend of Wild Bill has only grown since his death in 1876, when cowardly Jack McCall famously put a bullet through the back of his head during a card game. Bestselling author Tom Clavin has sifted through years of western lore to bring Hickock fully to life in this rip-roaring, spellbinding true story.</p>
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