Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Jesse James, My Father

Jesse James, My Father; The First and Only True Story of His Adventures Ever WrittenJesse James, My Father; The First and Only True Story of His Adventures Ever Written by Jesse James

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What an odd book.

The son of the famous outlaw, Jesse James Jr., spends the first half of this book trying to exonerate his father, and the second half trying to exonerate himself for an 1898 train robbery. After much media hype, Jesse James Jr. was found innocent.

In between the mythologizing of his father and himself we get interesting tidbits, like Jr.'s earliest memory being of a shooting at their home. There are also some rollicking good tales (wildly exaggerated) of his father's time fighting in the Civil War.

I've always been interested in Jesse James Jr. He lived in his father's shadow, and even played his famous father in two silent films that were later reworked with sound added and released as Jesse James Under the Black Flag, which is still available.

This is a fun read and a great insight into the mind of someone who barely knew his father (he was a kid when Jesse was killed) yet always lived with him. Just don't read it as history! for that see Yeatman's excellent biography Frank and jesse James: The Story Behind the Legend.

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  1. I found your blog on LynNerdKelley's site. Terrific! I am now your newest follower.

  2. I came here from Alex's blog! I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up in the shadow of an outlaw father. I think you have to romanticize him - we never want our father's to be bad men. For that reason, I can understand trying to exonerate him. Interesting that he played his father in two silent films!


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