Wildwood boys : a novel

by Blake, James Carlos.

Format: Print Book 2000
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Blake, J
Location  CLP - Main Library
 
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
 
Call Number  FICTION Blake, J
 
 
Summary

American history is a complex weave of heroism and courage, conquest and carnage -- and no novelist today better understands the checkered character of our past than Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner James Carlos Blake. In prose as richly colored as an artist's palette, he again proves himself one of our most accomplished authors in this epic story set amid the Civil War's guerrilla conflict along the Kansas-Missouri borderland.

Wildwood Boys

Like his free-spirited father, William T. Anderson was never meant for the farming life. Born in Missouri on the coldest day of 1840, he is raised in a fiercely independent family given to the pleasures of poetry and music -- yet ever ready to defend itself. The family resettles in Kansas, where Bill and his brother Jim are tutored by their father in the rustling trade. They revel in the thrill of horse thieving -- until the imminence of the Civil War turns their adopted homeland into "Bleeding Kansas." Despite the family's efforts to stay clear of hostilities, the first Anderson casualty soon follows, and the rest of the family is banished back to Missouri.

Now the entire border region is aflame with violence Kansas "redlegs" spreading terror under the Union banner, Missouri "bushwhackers" flying the black flag of no quarter. Its loyalties torn between North and South, Missouri becomes the bloodiest ground of the Civil War, its major centers under Yankee control, its wildwood country ruled by rebel guerrillas. Before long the Anderson brothers are riding with Quantrill's raiders, the most notorious of the bushwhacker bands, though most of them are barely more than boys. Then Bill Anderson suffers a catastrophic loss -- and an implacable fury is unleashed in his anguished soul. He becomes the most fearsome guerrilla captain of them all and earns a name some whisper with reverence, some with terror: Bloody Bill.

From the raw clay of historical fact, Blake has sculpted a powerful novel of a man and an America at war with themselves. It is a poignant and brutally honest work about relentless passions -- including Bill's abiding devotion to a pair of unforgettable women with wills as indomitable as his own. The heroic and unsettling saga of "Bloody Bill" Anderson is as American as a Missouri country ballad of violence, honor, and ill-fated love. It is a story only James Carlos Blake could tell so splendidly.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Once again Blake (Red Grass River) takes on a notorious historical figure and attempts to humanize a man whose reputation is synonymous with murder. William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson emerged along the Kansas-Missouri border in the early years of the Civil War. A horse thief turned "bushwacker"Äthe nom de guerre of irregular Southern forces in the regionÄAnderson is driven from Kansas and persecuted by Union militia and "jayhawkers"ÄUnion irregularsÄuntil he forms a company and joins forces loosely led by the infamous Charles Quantrill, who, along with Anderson, George Todd and Arch Campbell, terrorized the Sni-a-Bar region of southern Missouri for nearly four years. Blake's depiction of Anderson is kinder than in other recently published novels (Desmond Barry's The Chivalry of Crime; Kevin McColley's The Other Side), which characterize him as one of the most feral and conscienceless men ever to ride across history. Here, Anderson is a Shakespeare-loving, poetry-spouting gentleman, sensitive to nature, kind to women and children. Only in the heat of battle does he exhibit sociopathic expertise in heinous and horrifying ways. The accidental death of his sister, Josephine, with whom Anderson is incestuously obsessed, spurs him to even more brutal acts of malice in the name of Southern glory. Blake's highly readable style is tempered by some gratuitously fustian vocabulary and literary insertions, catalogues of historical detail and somewhat overdone eloquence; thankfully, he eschews the more graphic depictions of violence that he has indulged in elsewhere. With slow, repetitive passages and historical license liberally taken, this epic is not as taut as In the Rogue Blood, but it is still a gritty, gripping adventure. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Fiction.
Missouri -- Fiction.
Kansas -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :William Morrow,2000
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 369 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 0380977494
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