Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Oct 27, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 544 pages
In this brilliant biography T. J. Stiles offers a new understanding of the legendary outlaw Jesse James. Although he has often been portrayed as a Robin Hood of the old west, in this ground-breaking work Stiles places James within the context of the bloody conflicts of the Civil War to reveal a much more complicated and significant figure.

Raised in a fiercely pro-slavery household in bitterly divided Misssouri, at age sixteen James became a bushwhacker, one of the savage Confederate guerrillas that terrorized the border states. After the end of the war, James continued his campaign of robbery and murder into the brutal era of reconstruction, when his reckless daring, his partisan pronouncements, and his alliance with the sympathetic editor John Newman Edwards placed him squarely at the forefront of the former Confederates’ bid to recapture political power. With meticulous research and vivid accounts of the dramatic adventures of the famous gunman, T. J. Stiles shows how he resembles not the apolitical hero of legend, but rather a figure ready to use violence to command attention for a political cause—in many ways, a forerunner of the modern terrorist.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tbrennan1 - LibraryThing

An inspiring biography of Jesse James which illustrates the "historic figure" of the outlaw against the background of Missouri before and after the American Civil War (1861-1865). The author "pulls no ... Read full review

JESSE JAMES: Last Rebel of the Civil War

User Review  - Kirkus

In this excellent biography of the famed bandit, journalist/historian Stiles reveals his subject as less a Robin Hood than an Osama bin Laden for his time.The son of a luckless itinerant preacher who ... Read full review


Title Page
FIRE 18611865
DEFIANCE 18651876
CHAPTER TEN The Guerrillas Return
CHAPTERELEVEN The Death of Captain Sheets
CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Persistence of Civil
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About the author (2010)

A native of rural Benton County, Minnesota, T.J. Stiles studied history at Carleton College and Columbia University, where he received two graduate degrees. His writings about American history include articles in Smithsonian, essays in the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post, and a five-volume series of primary-source anthologies. He lives in New York. For more information on T. J. Stiles and Jesse James see

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