Step into the wayback machine as we groove on back to the swinging 60’s, man..the 1860’s! WHAT?!! What kind of crazy bookness is this? Chill, baby, I got you on this! Now, saddle up and let’s ride into a few great books that you ‘Otter’ be reading!!
Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner
This was one of my 5-star reads from last year. Engrossing and well told-an exhaustive recounting of the Northfield Raid by the James/Younger gang and their amazing escape. I enjoyed this book so much because it’s not just a retelling of the same old-same old story. Gardner gives great details about other players in the drama: detectives, victims and even children impacted by this shocking crime. My only criticism of the book was the teeny tiny map-but I had to really get nitpicky to even say that! This is a great book that everyone with an interest in the Old West should read.
Jesse James Last Rebel of the Civil War by T. J. Stiles
Do you enjoy super detailed and well-researched non-fiction? Stiles goes into every little detail and nuance of Jesse James in this huge (528 pages!!) book. No part of his life & times is left out-early days, Civil War & bushwhacker days, Outlaw days and untimely death at the hands of a ‘friend’. The book begins with Jesse’s parents as they move to Missouri so it takes a while to get to the meat of the book-but that’s ok. All that back story brings Jesse to life in a way not usually found in biographies. I gave this one 4 stars and it’s another one I recommend to Civil War and/or ‘outlaw’ history buffs. Well worth reading.
Destiny of the Republic; A Story of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
I’ve had this one on my to-read list for a while. It’s the story of President James A. Garfield from the assassins bullet until his death. As Garfield fought for his life, history happened: Alexander Graham Bell designed a metal detector to search for the bullet and Garfield was kept cool by the world’s first air conditioner. Lots of interesting stuff and I need to move this book closer to the top of my reading pile.
Bloody Crimes; The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse by James Swanson
I had previously read Swanson’s earlier work: Manhunt; The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer and thought it was fabulous. This book is the follow up to that book as Confederate President Jefferson Davis is thought to be behind the assassination. With a $100,000 bounty on Davis’s head and chased by Union Cavalry, his story is intertwined with the spectacle that is the journey of Lincoln’s corpse-a 1600 mile odyssey home to Springfield. I know from the Manhunt book that Swanson is an excellent story teller and this is another book that needs to be moved closer to the top of the stack.
So, cool cats, our journey to Throwback Thursday is complete. What will grab your reading interest this week?