Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life [NOOK Book]

Overview


Whatever his name or alias at the moment—Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim, Kid Antrim, Billy Bonney—people always called him the Kid. Not until his final month did anyone call him Billy the Kid. Newspapers pictured him as a king of outlaws; and his highly publicized capture, trial, escape, and end fixed his image in the public mind for all time. He was only twenty-one years old when a bullet from Sheriff Pat Garett’s six-shooter killed him on July 14, 1881. Within a year Billy the Kid became the subject of five ...
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Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life

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Overview


Whatever his name or alias at the moment—Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim, Kid Antrim, Billy Bonney—people always called him the Kid. Not until his final month did anyone call him Billy the Kid. Newspapers pictured him as a king of outlaws; and his highly publicized capture, trial, escape, and end fixed his image in the public mind for all time. He was only twenty-one years old when a bullet from Sheriff Pat Garett’s six-shooter killed him on July 14, 1881. Within a year Billy the Kid became the subject of five dime-novel “biographies” as well as Garett’s ghost-written account, and that was just the beginning.
 
Robert M. Utley does what countless books, movies, television shows, musical compositions, and paintings have failed to do: he successfully strips off the veneer of legendry to expose the reality of Billy the Kid. Using previously untapped sources, he presents an engrossing story—the most complete and accurate ever—of a youthful hoodlum and sometime killer who found his calling in New Mexico’s bloody power struggle known as the Lincoln County War. In unmasking the legend Utley also tells us much about our heritage of frontier vigilantism and violence.

Examines the career of the young outlaw whose life and death were an expression of the violence prevalent on the American frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most Americans are familiar with the legend of the outlaw William H. Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid. Utley, a noted historian of the Old West, has written a scholarly biography of the Kid, which--as does all good biography--incorporates the history of his times. Using interviews conducted with the Kid's contemporaries, Utley draws a portrait of a youth who, while not the bloodthirsty killer painted by newspapers of the period, was not a Western Robin Hood, either. Utley concludes: ``Except in its final months . . . the Kid's career did not measure up to his reputation. Although a superb gunman and arresting personality, he was a quite ordinary outlaw . . . .'' While Pat Garrett's The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid Univ. of Oklahoma Pr., 1954. o.p.; 1986. pap. is useful for its contemporary portrait, public and academic libraries serving clients with an interest in the period or the region will want this title.-- Sue Kamm, Los Angeles P.L.
New York Review of Books

"In the last three decades, scholarship about Billy has shaken off its pulp origins and become professional, the best three books, in my view, being Robert M. Utley's Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life (1989), Frederick Nolan's The West of Billy the Kid (1998), and now Michael Wallis's Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride."—Larry McMurtry, New York Review of Books

— Larry McMurtry

UNP blog - Cara Pesek
nebraskapress.typepad.com/university_of_nebraska_pr/2010/08/a-pardon-for-billy-the-kid-.html
New York Review of Books - Larry McMurtry
"In the last three decades, scholarship about Billy has shaken off its pulp origins and become professional, the best three books, in my view, being Robert M. Utley's Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life (1989), Frederick Nolan's The West of Billy the Kid (1998), and now Michael Wallis's Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride."—Larry McMurtry, New York Review of Books
True West - Michael Wallis

"Utley deftly slices away the veneer of legend to reveal the flesh-and-blood young man a tragic figure who was neither a mythical hero nor a ruthless killer, but a rather ordinary outlaw whose career did not live up to his reputation."—Michael Wallis, True West
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803295667
  • Publisher: UNP - Bison Books
  • Publication date: 12/1/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 902,774
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author


One of the preeminent western historians writing today, Robert M. Utley is the author of High Noon in Lincoln: Violence on the Western Frontier, Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Frontier and The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull, as well as Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1848–1865 (1984) and Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866–1891 (1981) published by the University of Nebraska Press.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2000

    The destruction of unwarranted 'Heroification'

    As a college history student, working on my teaching creditentials, I personaly have read several books on Billy the Kid. I found this book to be enlightening. The author walks you through the events that shaped Billy's world with an unbiased opion of either faction. He also includes all of the popular myths and legends concerning the famous outlaw and disperses them as either fact or fiction and then explains how he came to this conclusion concerning each particular myth. It is disheartening to a small extent, as it has a tendancy to, justifiably, destroy the larger than life hero status of Billy.

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