Shot All to Hell by Mark Lee Gardner

Jesse James is perhaps one of the most famous criminals in American history. With the assistance of his notorious gang of outlaws, James sealed his position in the legends of western folklore. In Shot All to Hell, author Mark Lee Gardner details the gang's final showdown, as they attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.

Gardner provides unique insights into the gang's motivations. It turns out, that the group is comprised of mostly ex-confederates. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why they would want to rob a northern bank. On top of the giant blow the heist would cause the Northerners, the giant sum of money that the gang would acquire would allow the James Brothers to settle down and end their outlaw ways. But as most heists go, this one doesn't go as plan. Despite the gang's confidence in their actions, they never expected the bankers to fight back. Throughout the book, Gardner chronicles the actions of the gang and the group of citizens determined to defeat the notorious criminals.

This book could have easily been a rehash of historical facts, regurgitated as fresh revelations. Fortunately, Gardner eschews the pitfalls of other historical books, writing with a quick prose and surprisingly vibrant wit. He sheds a new light on several aspects of the James gang, remaining objective in both is reporting and observations. This books reads as a fast paced, historical, western, managing to remain both factual and entertaining. At under 300 pages, Shot All to Hell is the perfect summer read for those looking for a smart, quick, alternative to the standard fare.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.

(2013: week 31, book 30)

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 3, 2013 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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