"Takes the reader on a multi-media journey of the various and sundry depictions of the legend. Tatum's study is particularly noteworthy for its richness of detail and example, tracing the story from ballad to ballet. What emerges from Tatum's study is a clearer understnding that the historical truth of historians is perhaps not as important as the stories we tell ourselves about the historical truth. Inventing Billy the Kid will become a standard text for future studies of American popular culture."--Michael Marsden, Western American Literature
"Tatum's analysis of the many writings and films about Billy the Kid not only is comprehensive but also correctly recognizes that the legend has varied condierably in accordance with the changing concerns, values, and aspirations of a particular period. His linking of popular culture with a specific historical context is deftly handled and convincing."--John Lenihan, Journal of American History
Stephen Tatum is an associate professor and chair of the Department of English at the University of Utah.