By Mark J. Dworkin
Walter Noble Burns (1872–1932) served with the 1st Kentucky Infantry in the course of the Spanish-American battle and coated basic John J. Pershing’s pursuit of Pancho Villa in Mexico as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. even though history-making those forays could seem, they have been merely the start. within the final six years of his lifestyles, Burns wrote 3 books that propelled New Mexico outlaw Billy the child, Tombstone marshal Wyatt Earp, and California bandit Joaquín Murrieta into the world of legend.
regardless of Burns’s extraordinary command of his subjects—based on exhaustive examine and interviews—he has been principally overlooked through students due to the renowned, even sometimes fictional, method he hired. In American Mythmaker, the 1st literary biography of Burns, Mark J. Dworkin brings Burns out of the shadows. via cautious research of The Saga of Billy the Kid (1926), Tombstone: An Iliad of the Southwest (1927), and The Robin Hood of Eldorado: The Saga of Joaquín Murrieta (1932) and their reception, Dworkin exhibits how Burns used his journalistic education to introduce the heritage of the yankee West to his era’s basic readership. within the procedure, Burns made his topics family names.
Are Burns’s books truth or fiction? used to be he a historian or a novelist? Dworkin considers those questions as he uncovers the tale in the back of Burns’s mythmaking works. A long-overdue biography of a author who formed our inspiration of western background, American Mythmaker documents in attention-grabbing element the fashioning of a few of the best American legends.
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