Friday, May 17, 2013

Forgotten Books: The Bad Man of the West - George D. Hendricks


I didn't even know there was a paperback edition of this book until I came across a copy not along ago and snatched it up. I used to have the hardback edition. It's a great Old West reference book and excellent reading in its own right, even if you're not doing research. Instead of just recounting the lives of various outlaws and gunfighters, the author delves into the causes that made them the bad men they were and does a fine job of it, while still providing a lot of biographical information along the way.

I'm also fond of this book because the author, George D. Hendricks, was one of my professors at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas). For years his signature class was "Life and Literature of the Southwest", and I was fortunate enough to be in one of those classes. We got along well and I learned quite a bit. The big research paper I did for him was called "The Texas Rangers in Fact and Fiction". I'm not sure what he thought of it, since I did a considerable amount of babbling about the Lone Ranger, Jim Hatfield, and the TV show "Laredo", but looking back on it now the subject matter seems pretty appropriate. I enjoyed the class and was glad I got to take it, and I'm glad I found this copy of Dr. Hendricks' book, too.

4 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I have a copy of this edition, and I remember Dr. Hendricks, though I didn't have him for a course.

Ben Boulden said...

I have this edition, too, and when I read it a few years ago I really enjoyed it. I may have to pull it off the shelf and go through it again.

Shay said...

I have to stop reading your blog. You just made me buy another damn book.

Anonymous said...

Just checked it out of the library on your recommendation. Really readable, and though some of the conclusions may be disputed by current historians of the West (like the idea of the shared "code" and whether there were actually many mano a mano stare down, fast draw shootouts), it is still very interesting. He obviously LOVES his subject! One interesting "benefit" of a library book: a previous reader left detailed notes in pencil in the margins that take umbrage with a number of Prof. Hendricks'statements,including notes arguing that the Earps were nothing but "murderers."