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The West of Billy the Kid Paperback – 31 Dec 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (31 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806131047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806131047
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

FREDERICK NOLAN was born in Liverpool, England, and was educated there and at Aberaeron in Wales. He decided early in life to become a writer, but it was some thirty years before he got around to being one. While working as a shipping clerk, typewriter salesman, and even a squiggler in a chocolate factory, he somehow completed his first book, The Life and Death of John Henry Tunstall, became an authority on the history of the American frontier, founder of The English Westerners' Society, and something of a connoisseur of western fiction in the days when it was a flourishing literary genre. Moving to London in the early Sixties as an editor for Corgi (Bantam) Books also made it possible for him to pursue another consuming interest: the history of the American musical theatre. Also at this time he began writing western fiction as Frederick H. Christian, a pseudonym derived from his own, his wife Heidi's, and his older son's first names.

Over the next decade, while working in publishing in New York and London - Nolan produced fourteen westerns and half a dozen children's books, as well as a considerable body of journalism. Between 1971 and 1975 he also edited and co-published The Gee Report, one of the most widely-read and influential international book trade publications of its time.
By that time he had quit his job as a highly-paid publishing executive and signed a contract to write eight (!) full length novels in a year. The first of these, The Oshawa Project (published in the US as The Algonquin Project), was a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic, and was later filmed by MGM as Brass Target, starring Sophia Loren, John Cassavetes, Max von Sydow, Robert Vaughan and George Kennedy. Two years later came The Mittenwald Syndicate, also a major international bestseller.

Since then he has written many successful thrillers (Red Center, Wolf Trap, Sweet Sister Death, Rat Run), historical novels, biographies, childrens' books, and translations from French and German, as well as many radio and television scripts; other fiction has included a highly-praised series of legal thrillers written under the pen-name Christine McGuire. He has contributed profiles of songwriters such as Cole Porter, Johnnie Burke and Sammy Cahn to the Dictionary of American Literary Biography, and is also the author of a biography of the lyricist Lorenz Hart, A Poet on Broadway and a joint biography, The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein.

A leading authority on the outlaws and gunfighters of the Old West, he has scripted and appeared in many television programs both in England and in the United States, and authored numerous articles in historical and other academic publications. His award-winning books on Southwestern frontier history include The Life and Death of John Henry Tunstall (1965), The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History (a New York Times 'Book of the Year' in 1992), Bad Blood: The Life and Times of the Horrell Brothers (1994), The West of Billy the Kid (1998), an annotated edition of Pat Garrett's Authentic Life of Billy the Kid (2000), and a popular introduction to the history of the frontier, The Wild West: History, Myth and the Making of America, published in 2003. Two more books were published in 2007: Tascosa, Its Life and Gaudy Times, a comprehensive historical study of the Texas Panhandle cattle town, and The Billy the Kid Reader, a new anthology. More recently he has edited the "frontier memoir" of Frank Clifford, a contemporary of Billy the Kid--Deep Trails in the Old West, for publication in October, 2011. In addition to all this he has completed the script for a film about the life of the Kid which is currently in development.

In 1993 Frederick Nolan received the Border Regional Library Association of Texas' Award for Literary Excellence. In 2001 he was awarded the first France V. Scholes Prize for outstanding research from the Historical Society of New Mexico and during the same year, he received the first J. Evetts Haley Fellowship from the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. In 2005 the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association (WOLA) gave him its highest honour, the Glenn Shirley Award, for his lifetime contribution to outlaw-lawman history. In 2006, The Westerners Foundation named his The West of Billy the Kid one of the 100 most important 2oth-century historical works on the American West. In 2007 the National Outlaw-Lawman Association (NOLA) awarded him its prestigious William D. Reynolds Award in Recognition of Outstanding Research and Writing in Western History and in 2008,True West magazine named him "Best Living Non-Fiction Writer."



Product Description

Synopsis

Photographs and text provide a chronicle of the life and times of Billy the Kid. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Additional information
It may help your readers to know that as well as being a new biography with much fresh research, the book contains over 270 illustrations, many of them published for the first time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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FEW AMERICAN LIVES HAVE MORE SUCCESSFULLY resisted research than that of Billy the Kid. Read the first page
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
A pencil drawing of my great, great, great uncle is in this book. My family knew Billy and Pat Garrett. Both spent nights at my great, great grandfather's ranch prior to the killing of Billy. My family was present during the drama, the Lincoln County Wars, and the governorship of Lew Wallace. Maybe I am not an expert on Billy the Kid, but I feel I have right to a few opinions via ancestry and old family stories. One opinion is that good solid research on the Kid is hard to come by. I have been hardily disappointed by many books that portray him either as a complete socio-path or as a half-wit misled by circumstance. This book does the best of any I have encountered in placing Billy in a mileau, a time, a place. The resultant sense of having been there and having seen the interaction of real people with complex motives is the reward. This volume has many photos and inset personals on the people whose lives surrounded Billy's. It is a study of a man in context, and therefore, is a study, too, of the time. Thank you, Frederick Nolan, thanks for giving me and my family the Billy we always knew existed, the Real Billy.
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By Mr Nigel J Goldby on 26 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for those that would like to understand the real America, how it was formed and the truth about Billy. Absolutely fascinating !!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Billy the Kid Lives 13 May 2000
By Bob Reece - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Frederick Nolan is, by far, one of the top-notch writers living today dealing with the subject of William Bonney (Billy the Kid). Even though Nolan makes his home in England you wouldn't know it by reading his material; he's a man of the west and that west is Lincoln County, New Mexico.
I've studied the Kid's life since my first visit to Lincoln in 1969. As a young boy standing at the foot of the stairs in the Lincoln County Courthouse, I saw firsthand evidence of the Kid's desperation to live; a bullet hole in the wall. This resulted from the Kid's dramatic escape, while being held prisoner in the Courthouse, on April 28, 1881. He shot at deputy James W. Bell and missed, hence the bullet hole in the wall. The Kid's next shot found its mark and Bell stumbled out the back door before he died. The Kid's next act is pure Hollywood except it's true. Still shackled by ankle, the Kid made his way to the Sheriff's armory, grabbed a shotgun and moved toward the window facing northeast on the second floor. There he waited for Deputy Bob Olinger. I'll have Nolan tell the rest of the story.
Nolan's book is filled with many fascinating photos of the places and people during the Kid's life. Many photos are comparison shots of the places then and now. Nolan has dedicated many years researching this story and tells it with passion. I highly recommend THE WEST OF BILLY THE KID.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Well-researched, entertaining and finally, a fair account. 18 April 1999
By maudeo@fone.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A pencil drawing of my great, great, great uncle is in this book. My family knew Billy and Pat Garrett. Both spent nights at my great, great grandfather's ranch prior to the killing of Billy. My family was present during the drama, the Lincoln County Wars, and the governorship of Lew Wallace. Maybe I am not an expert on Billy the Kid, but I feel I have right to a few opinions via ancestry and old family stories. One opinion is that good solid research on the Kid is hard to come by. I have been hardily disappointed by many books that portray him either as a complete socio-path or as a half-wit misled by circumstance. This book does the best of any I have encountered in placing Billy in a mileau, a time, a place. The resultant sense of having been there and having seen the interaction of real people with complex motives is the reward. This volume has many photos and inset personals on the people whose lives surrounded Billy's. It is a study of a man in context, and therefore, is a study, too, of the time. Thank you, Frederick Nolan, thanks for giving me and my family the Billy we always knew existed, the Real Billy.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The West of Billy the Kid Brought to Life 7 Nov. 2003
By Randall Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The first thing that struck me upon receiving this book was the pictures. Nearly every page includes photos of the people and places in the saga of Billy the Kid that help bring his story to life. This is particularly helpful in sorting out the characters of the Lincoln County War. Putting faces with the names is a big help. Many of the characters' photos include short bios. Nolan does an excellent job telling the story from facts that are known, leaving conjecture to those of us who read his book. For example, included in one of the many photos is a picture of Telesfor Jaramillo, the son of one of Billy's girlfriends. The similarities between Telesfor and Billy are great in my opinion and Billy has long been rumored to have fathered a son. But Nolan never states this and leaves it to the reader to make or not make the conclusion that Telesfor may have been his son. The book is painstakingly researched and the wild life of Billy the Kid is well told.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Billy Joel should have read this book before he wrote his song 17 Feb. 2008
By Richard Dicanio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Several years ago while at work, it became evident that at least for several weeks Billy Joels'well known song, "The Ballad Of Billy The Kid" was getting airplay at the same time each week. We could almost predict it and kind of expected it.I had heard it before but never really listened to it closely.Now, I was paying attention to every line as others may have,and took it for fact.This was right up until I heard a well known disc jockey discount the song and state that much of what was in the song was not fact at all but just made up ,fabricated and just literal allusion. At first I was taken aback, a little annoyed, but then I realized that Mr. Joel had to rhyme his words and possibly used what worked and to hell with the facts,which of course, was his prerogative.In doing so however, he did Billy The Kid a great injustice.Now I became curious for real facts about Billy and I did some searching and boy was I astounded at what I found.His life was nothing at all like the song or even what I had thought Billy the Kid was like based on my general knowledge of him picked up along the way.I envisioned a killer cowboy,a bank robbing,train robbing outlaw terrorizing the early west.Well,I have since developed an enduring respect for him after reading a very accurate and truthful history of him as written by Frederick Nolan.This book reads like a Russian novel.There are so many characters and people involved in the Kids world it boggles the mind.This book is completely filled with photos,maps,references and mini histories, one doesn't know where to begin. It does get jumpy at times where I felt lost in all the action but each chapter ends well seemingly tying up all the loose ends.How these guys did it and why anybody would go west is beyond me.But go they did and it was less than placid. The early west was a dry, dusty violent place and the Kid was right in the middle of it.His beginnings were confusing from a historical point of view due to lack of information and it seems he rarely experienced any lengthy periods of true peace.He always had to scrape for an existence,fight for scraps and he did defend himself as any respectable person would.He killed when absolutely necessary and was not the sociopathic killer history's tall tales have made him out to be.He had emotion,compassion and youthful exuberance and was well liked among his peers and was respected as well for his sense of fair play and justice.This it seems, was all for nought for his death was both tragic and violent at the hand of Pat Garrett who has his own version to tell and did for profit.He lived his life as best he could under the circumstances and remains a tragically misunderstood chapter of our midwest history. Just a blip on the radar, but a person who stood fast for his rights and was cheated out of a fair shake on more than one occasion. Nolan reflects that and is honest in his assessment of just what is truth and what is fiction.He attempts to dispell the myths and report the events down to their absolute truths without using dramatic,theatrical scenes.I did alot of research on Billy and boiled down the real books on his life.This book glared like a beacon for its honest assessment of just who and what Billy Antrum,and then Billy Bonney and then who became finally, Billy The Kid, was and what his life was from its mysterious beginings to its abrupt yet vague end.If Billy the Kid is a source of mystery that needs to be cleared then Nolans book is it.It is clearly evident that he did his research and would not fabricate facts to enhance the history.I recommend this book to Mr. Billy Joel.Perhaps he could compose a second edition more accurate to poor Billy Bonney to give him proper justice.As a book about the man and his times I highly recommend it.It is an arduous but fun read and when you hear the above noted song you will smile to yourself and know better and perhaps hold a place in your heart for the young man that history crucified perhaps a bit prematurely.The book is tops if you need or want to know Billy the Kid.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Fred Nolan is one of the best... 28 Jun. 2006
By Jim Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fred Nolan is one of the most recognized and popular historians of the old west, but where he makes many of his mistakes is by repeating too many things written by previous authors without sufficient evidence. I find most of his statements impossible to prove incorrect, but there are a few problems in his writing. Also, the editing of his book has a few flaws in that there are many glowing contradictions within the book. But, if you can figure out where the errors were made, the rest of the book is interesting and appears to be factual. In comparison to the other books currently on the market on Billy, this is one of the better ones, especially if like good pictures..
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