Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape

Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape

4.4 10
by Mark Lee Gardner
     
 

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Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner recounts the thrilling life of Jesse James, Frank James, the Younger brothers, and the most famous bank robbery of all time.
 
Follow the Wild West’s most celebrated gang of outlaws as they step inside Northfield’s First National Bank and back out on the streets to square off with heroic citizens

Overview

Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner recounts the thrilling life of Jesse James, Frank James, the Younger brothers, and the most famous bank robbery of all time.
 
Follow the Wild West’s most celebrated gang of outlaws as they step inside Northfield’s First National Bank and back out on the streets to square off with heroic citizens who risked their lives to defend justice in Minnesota.
 
With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed—the near misses, the fateful mistakes, and the bloody final shootout on the Watonwan River, Shot All to Hell is a galloping true tale of frontier justice from the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Mark Lee Gardner.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Greg Tobin
Gardner's book introduces the brothers at the start of their prolonged crime spree, but the heart of his story is the 1876 Northfield, Minn., raid and its aftermath, which he depicts in rollicking style.
Publishers Weekly
In this true-life tale of the infamous Jesse James and his outlaw gang, historian Gardner (To Hell on a Fast Horse) crafts an elegant narrative that’s as entertaining as it is historically accurate. Led by the “unquestionably charismatic” Jesse and his Shakespeare- and Bible-quoting brother Frank, the criminals are a “bunch of good ol’ boys” whose “fearless efficiency” in their capers and their penchant for stylish horses, clothes, and pistols made them celebrities in their own day. The book’s focus is a 10-minute bank heist and shootout in Northfield, Minn., in 1876, which leaves two gang members dead and the survivors on the lam. Gardner conveys the mayhem wonderfully, shifting focus from within the bank to the men on the street to townspeople taking up arms in defense, providing a rich visual and rhythmic dimension to the story and shedding light on a bygone era’s drastically different approach to law enforcement. The ensuing manhunt is fraught with tension as the James gang, with “various wounds seeping blood and pus,” roams the wilderness, evading numerous mobilized vigilante forces made up of a panoply of characters with rich histories all their own. A must-read for any western fan. Agent: Jim Donovan, Donovan Literary. (Aug. 1)
Kirkus Reviews
An action-packed, admiring portrait of the James-Younger gang that robbed people, banks and trains for a decade before retiring, dying or stewing in prison. Western historian Gardner (To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West, 2010) has done impressive research in the Old West's abundant but relentlessly unreliable sources (lurid newspaper articles, jailhouse interviews, self-serving memoirs by elderly gang members) to deliver a colorful portrait of men who do not deserve his admiration. Jesse James (1847–1882), Frank James (1843–1915) and the Younger brothers grew up in the Midwest. Confederate sympathizers, most participated as "bushwackers" in the nasty partisan insurgency that wracked Missouri during the Civil War. Inured to violence, they later coalesced into a criminal band that traveled widely and became national news. Gardner summarizes their lives and early depredations before settling in to describe their last, spectacularly bungled 1876 robbery of a Northfield, Minn., bank. The clerk refused to open the safe. By the time the gang lost patience and killed him, the citizenry had gathered whatever weapons they could find, killed two gang members and wounded the rest before the robbers fled. There followed a massive, disorganized manhunt from which only Jesse and Frank escaped. Jesse later recruited another gang and committed several robberies before one member killed him for the reward. Written in the breathless prose that seems obligatory for this genre and with more sympathy to the subjects than seems necessary, the book is still a gripping read and probably tells all there is to tell about a legendary group of psychopaths.
New York Journal of Books
Superb. ... Mr. Gardner earns an A+ for his research and an A++ for his writing.
Booklist
“[This] bullet-by-bullet account... sheds considerable light on a neglected aspect of the gang’s life of crime... well done.”
New York Times
Rollicking. ... Equal parts violent melodrama and meticulous procedural... with enough bloody action to engage readers enthralled by tales of good versus evil.”
Washington Post
Rewarding. ... Gardner’s re-creation of the Northfield Raid... orchestrates the often-unwieldy particulars of the event with considerable virtuosity. ... It would be hard to imagine a more thorough account.”
New York Times Book Review
Rollicking. ... Equal parts violent melodrama and meticulous procedural... with enough bloody action to engage readers enthralled by tales of good versus evil.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061989476
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/23/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
547,296
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Mark Lee Gardner is the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse and Shot All to Hell, which received multiple awards, including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America. An authority on the American West, Gardner has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, as well as on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, and on NPR. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, True West, Wild West, American Cowboy, and New Mexico Magazine. He lives with his family in Cascade, Colorado.

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Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just reading the first chapter, I felt like I was a passenger needing to hide my valuables like the others. Clear and well researched!
MJT More than 1 year ago
Mr. Gardner's book sheds interesting new light on the Younger and James brothers robbery in Northfield, Minnesota. He does a very good job in laying the foundation regarding the events and the paths the outlaws tramped leading up to the failed robbery attempt and the subsequent manhunt and capture of the outlaws who escaped. I found the story to be well written and thought the details provided in the Epilogue were especially interesting. Those who enjoy reading about historical events involving outlaws or just wanting to know more about our history, will like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book. I have read several books on the James and Younger gang. The book keeps your interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can't make this stuff up. Very enjoyable book.
DarkRavenDH 11 months ago
Shot All to Hell: Jesse James: the Northfield Raid and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape by Mark Lee Gardner This historical novel attempts to pierce the veil of silence and misleading statements around the James/Younger Gang’s botched bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota. Cole Younger swore in writing that Frank and Jesse James were not even in Northfield, but he proceeded to name the two by their aliases at the time. Speculation over who actually shot the brave bank cashier Joseph Lee Heywood has been argued for years. The James/Younger gang started as raiders in the Confederate Army under William C. Quantrill. Some were known to be involved in Quantrill’s vicious raid on Lawrence, Kansas that left between 150 and 200 men and boys murdered. Others were involved in the Centralia Massacre of 22 Union Soldiers. After the war, the North pillaged the South. Under the hastily voted in new Missouri State Constitution’s Ironclad Oath act, former Confederates could not vote, do jury duty, advance in business deals, or even preach in the pulpit. Under such restrictions, many people fought back. The James/Younger boys turned to crime. They reasoned that the money in banks was that of their Northern oppressors, and they were still at war. The Pinkerton’s made a disastrous raid on the James family farm. Thinking Jesse and Frank were there, they tossed in a fire bomb. Although the James boys’ stepdad put the fire out easily and tossed the shell in the fireplace, it unexpectedly exploded. The blast maimed the boy’s mother and killed their 8 year old half brother. The Pinkerton’s also killed John Younger, the brother of Cole, Jim, and Bob. The gang had great success with their robbery until a town called Northfield in Minnesota. And this book tells all. One note: I always found it odd that the James/Younger gang was considered Wild West. All of them were from Missouri. Their bank robberies were mostly north and east from that point. They even pulled a robbery in West Virginia. Jesse and Frank James lived in Nashville for a time, and Jesse’s son Jesse was born in Nashville! The book is a page turner for all that like true crime, the Wild West, and history in general. I give the book five stars! Quoth the Raven…
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efm More than 1 year ago
Good Story