An easygoing account of the outlaw duo whose era separated Frank and Jesse James from Bonnie and Clyde.

In this dual biography of celebrated bandits, a specialist in the Old West deftly separates fact from fiction.

The nature of their business required Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Longabaugh to adopt many aliases, but they were best known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Raised in religious families, both men were well-read, both did a prison stretch for horse stealing, and both had a taste for the traditional cowboy pleasures of drinking, gambling and whoring. The handsome, quick-tempered, aloof Sundance was famous for his lightning draw. The gregarious, shrewd Butch was a natural-born leader, known for his meticulous execution of heists, paying special attention to the getaway plan. Together, from rough hideouts like Wyoming’s Hole-in-the-Wall and Utah’s Robbers’ Roost, they bossed the notorious Wild Bunch, a loose confederation of ruffians and desperados that included the likes of “Kid Curry” and “News” Carver. Butch and Sundance made periodic attempts to go straight, but they always returned to their robbing ways, finally fleeing to Bolivia where the cavalry caught up with them in 1908. Though he supplies plenty of information, Hatch (Osceola and the Great Seminole War, 2012, etc.) earns huge credibility by frankly admitting that much remains unknown about these legendary outlaws, including the mysterious origins and disappearance of Sundance’s beguiling paramour, Etta Place, and the precise circumstances of their deaths. He underscores his theme of Butch and Sundance as the last of a breed, reminding us that by the turn of the century, outlaws no longer faced capture merely by random individuals, but rather by an “organized system,” whereby detective agencies, Pinkerton and Wells Fargo, armed with money and resources, could coordinate with all levels of law enforcement to hunt down criminals.

An easygoing account of the outlaw duo whose era separated Frank and Jesse James from Bonnie and Clyde.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-451-23919-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview