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Legends of the Wild West: The Life and Legacy of Belle Starr by Charles Rivers Editors

Legends of the West: The Life and Legacy of Belle Starr - Charles River Editors

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There are four good things about these books by Charles Rivers Editors: 1) They are usually brief, 2) They do provide a good overview of a particular topic, 3) They usually have a decent bibliography and 4) They can usually be got for free.


Shorter than usual, this book does lay out pretty well what is historically known about Belle Starr, showing that the reality of the old Wild West figures is usually pretty boring compared to the wild, fanciful tales of popular legend. Starr had hardworking parents and a classical education background. But her various marriages ended up being with men who weren’t the most successful or ambitious of types and who skirted the law more often than keeping it. Starr’s reputation for being an outlaw seems to come mostly from her association with outlaws rather than much criminal activity on her part, although she was convicted several times. The fact that she was the victim of an unsolved murder also undoubtedly fed the legend of her wild ways.