The factual life and times of outlaw Jesse James.
Barnes & Noble.com
Confederate guerilla. Bank robber. Cold blooded killer. Jesse James was all of these, but still, most of his life remains a mystery. Now the record is set straight, with a portrait painted of a man obsessed with rebellion, loyalty, and irrepressible need to be known. He loved as intensely as he hated. And in his eyes, the War Between the States would never be over. From his obscure childhood to his explosive career during the Civil War to his earning the reputation as the country's most notorious bandit, Jesse James: The Man and the Myth brings you the facts and dispels the fiction.
From his explosive career during the War Between the States throughout the tempestuous reconstruction period, Jesse was a political activist who made his mark on the psyche of the American public. People thrilled to recount his outrageous actions and fervent dedication to his long-lost cause. The results of his publicity campaign show that his efforts were perhaps the most successful in American history. The majority of the members of Jesse's two gangs met with murder, suicide, imprisonment, and other unplesant early deaths by the end of their reign as Midwest terrorists. Whether in spite of or encouraged by the notoriety with which he lived his life, Jesse's assassination by the hand of one of his friends resulted in the continuation and embellishment of his legend. Many of the people who crossed Jesse's path in the course of his explosive career have become famous merely because of their fleeting association with him. Not a day goes by that someone, somewhere, does not claim to be related to Jesse James. Or to one of his gang members. Or to one of his victims. Or at least to someone who touched his elusive shadow for even a brief moment.
The intricacies of Jesse's life must have surprised even the great bandit himself. His sucess at molding himself into the most famous of outlaws no doubt delighted him. But what was the price he paid? And was it all worth it? Although he died a broken, lonely man, there are few people on the face of the media-fed planet who do not know the name Jesse James. Yet the ride of Jesse James through the history books is muddled with folklore, lies and assumptions. The Jesse who emerges under the careful scrutiny of the facts may well be a completely different Jesse from the one we think we know. Only by riding alongside Jesse James will we learn the real story. And what a ride he had.