VARMINT Q by Charles Boer


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A totally unpretentious and charming ""Epic Poem on the Life of William Clarke Quantrill"" -- alias Varmint Q, whose band of several hundred desperadoes ransacked the border states in the name of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Not terribly epic, but ""Captain Quantrill"" is the first in that long line of America's most-beloved heroes -- our outlaws (Frank and Jesse James, among others, rode with Quantrill) -- as well as perhaps the originator of American civilian warfare (another great tradition) with his burning and massacre of about one hundred and fifty Union sympathizers in Lawrence, Kansas. The author neatly manages the contradictions inevitably surrounding the mythic by interspersing letters (in primeval US spelling) and other documents such as court orders (mercifully short, in those pre red-tape days) giving various versions of now-unknowable incidents -- not that nitpicking veracity matters, as the author knows, for the true province of great men is poetry, not history, as is beautifully illustrated here.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 1972
Publisher: Swallow Press