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Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West

1 rating: 2.0
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Product Description  Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday-such are the legendary names that spring to mind when we think of the western gunfighter. But in the American West of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, thousands … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Nonfiction, American History, Old West, Richard K Dearment
Author: Robert K. Dearment
Genre: American History
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Date Published: 2003
1 review about Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters...

Review of Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West

  • Mar 15, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+2
Deadly Dozen provides 12 mini-biographies of "forgotten gunfighters of the old west." While the writing style is rather bland and the prose a bit tedious, it provides the reader insight into 12 rather interesting characters and insight into gunfighters in the old west.

Several themes emerge through these biographies. First is the borderline morality of all these men. Some were clearly evil criminals, a few of which would be considered serial killers in modern times. Others, even those working as marshals or in law enforcement, often straddled or even cross the line into criminality. There are plenty of gray areas in the lives these men lived. A second theme is the extreme violence of these men. They were often considered gunfighters because of their proclivity to resort to extreme violence to settle disputes, disputes for which most rational people may have used other means to resolve. Third is alcoholism. Many of the most violent episodes in these men's lives were often fueled by copious amounts of booze, which of course makes one lose their inhibitions and fear. Fourth, these men did not seem to fear death. Whether one wants to consider it bravery or stupidity, these men had the nerve to face ultimate violence, where others would shirk. Finally, it didn't take being a great shooter or being the quickest on the draw to be considered a deadly gunfighter. It was more the willingness to resort to gunplay and lack of fear more so than proficiency with a gun that made these men so deadly.

Overall this book really is rather a tedious read in some ways, but the fascinating subject matter and insights it gives into what it might have been like to live in the untamed American West saves the rather tedious prose and leaves the reader with a lot of think about.

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