And Not to Yield: A Novel of the Life and Times of Wild Bill Hickok

Overview

Born James Butler Hickok, Wild Bill Hickok made his reputation as a gunslinger extraordinaire, and his legend has titillated journalists, novelists, and historians ever since. Here is the story?-crafted by a master novelist?-of this complex hero whose exploits have become part of the lore of the American frontier.

Nurtured by devout, staunchly Abolitionist parents, young Hickok quickly leaves their hardscrabble farm to homestead in Kansas. A true romantic and a Renaissance man, ...

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And Not to Yield: A Novel of the Life and Times of Wild Bill Hickok

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Overview

Born James Butler Hickok, Wild Bill Hickok made his reputation as a gunslinger extraordinaire, and his legend has titillated journalists, novelists, and historians ever since. Here is the story—-crafted by a master novelist—-of this complex hero whose exploits have become part of the lore of the American frontier.

Nurtured by devout, staunchly Abolitionist parents, young Hickok quickly leaves their hardscrabble farm to homestead in Kansas. A true romantic and a Renaissance man, nourished by Greek and Arthurian legends, he effortlessly succeeds as a rancher, gambler, Union soldier, Indian fighter, lawman, baseball umpire, merchant, actor, marksman nonpareil—-and lusty lover of whores, debutantes, and Libbie Custer.

But Hickok's many talents could not bring him peace. Guided and plagued by phantoms from his past, blessed and cursed with supernatural gifts, Hickok, like his hero Ulysses, must fulfill his destiny through his travels. From bleak upstate New York to the rugged Badlands, from New York City's Broadway to the Rockies, from the Mississippi riverboats to the Great Salt Flats, here is the compelling Odyssey of an American icon, told in Randy Lee Eickhoff's unforgettable voice.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Eickhoff (The Red Branch Tales, 2003, etc.) lets Wild Bill Hickok tell his side of things. Like everyone else connected with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Hickok (1837-76) was a legend in his own time, and his life became a wild ragout of fact and fiction. Eickhoff's account tries to set the record straight. Born on a farm in Illinois, Hickok grew up in a devout Presbyterian family and was well versed in the classics (especially Homer) as a boy. His parents were staunch abolitionists and often harbored fugitive slaves on their way north. In his teens, Hickok left home for Kansas, where he planned to homestead with his brother Lorenzo, but he was too restless for farming and soon gave it up. Kansas was then going through a kind of dry run for the Civil War, with pro- and anti-slavery militias fighting for control of the territory, and Hickok signed on as a scout with one of the abolitionist outfits. His skill in tracking his way through the wildest terrain earned him his nickname, and his fame grew during the Civil War when he led raiders behind Confederate lines to ambush rebel troops. After the war, he scouted for the army in the Indian Wars and served a stint as US Marshall, but he eventually turned to gambling and tried to earn a living as a cardsharp. When his old friend Buffalo Bill Cody set up his Wild West Show, Hickok became one of its regulars, touring the country with Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull. It was a sad acknowledgement, in its way, that the West was no longer truly wild, and that scouts like Hickok and Cody were relics of another age. Hickok died in Colorado saloon, shot in the head during a poker game. A good portrait of an age and a place as well as of a man, brisklynarrated and engaging.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312869250
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 5/15/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Randy Lee Eickhoff holds several graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in Classics. He lives in El Paso, Texas where he works on translations in several languages, poetry, plays, and novels of which two have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His translation of Ireland's national epic is now a text in not only schools in the United States, but countries overseas as well. His nonfiction work on the Tigua Indians, Exiled, won the Southwest History Award. He has been inducted into the Paso Del Norte Writers Hall of Fame, the local chapter of the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters. He spends his time in El Paso, Ireland, and Italy, lecturing on Dante and The Ulster Cycle.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"ONCE UPON a time a long, long time ago, a good knight loped gently over the plain on his faithful horse, and this good knight felt badly in his heart because he had a terrible deed to face…."

Papa told me that story. I was five. He told me many stories. His face always smiled. His face was always tired.

The knight came over the green fields. He went into a forest. Everything was dark and scary. He was looking for the Green Knight. The Green Knight had let him chop off his head. It rolled on the floor of King Arthur's castle like a bright green and hairy ball. But the Green Knight picked up his head. He got on his green horse.

"'I'll be waiting for you to come to me in a year and a day for your return blow,' the Green Knight said, and he galloped away. Now Sir Gawain, for that was the good knight's name, had to let the Green Knight chop his head off…."

• • •

Here is the house. It is white and red. Papa says red is more dura…dura…lasts longer.

The trees in the grove are green and brown.

The road is dusty. When the buggies and wagons go by, the dust hangs in the air. I cough.

Papa and Mama and me and Oliver and Lorenzo and Horace live there. There was another Lorenzo. He died. Papa said that the name hadn't been used up. That's why Lorenzo is Lorenzo.

• • •

Rock of ages, cleft for me;

Let me hide, myself in thee.

• • •

He sang me to sleep with that song.

"Sleep time, little Jim," he said. "Close your eyes. Nod your little head."

And I pretended to close my eyes.

Then I came awake.

Mama made biscuits for breakfast. I poured syrup on them. The syrup came from Papa's store on the first floor of the Green Mountain House. I used to watch the men play dominoes. They sat by the stove in the winter and they played dominoes.

I liked the store.

Then Papa got sick and lost it.

We went on a trip and Papa got a farm in a bunch of trees and Lorenzo teased me and hid among them and I couldn't find him and then Celinda was born and Lydia was born and

• • •

Lor, Lor, my pretty little Pink,

Lor, Lor I say,

• • •

We had a hidden cellar where Negroes used to hide when the bad men came looking for them. It was filled with hay so they could sleep on it.

"Your Uncle Aaron was at Bunker Hill when the British attacked. And there they stood, brave men holding their fire until Israel Putnam shouted out, 'Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!' And Aaron held his fire, kneeling there as the Redcoats marched up the hill…"

• • •

Old Dan Tucker was a fine ol' man,

Washed his face in a frying pan,

Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,

Died with a toothache in his heel.

Copyright © 2004 by Randy Lee Eickhoff

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