Read The Pistoleer by James Carlos Blake Online


A stunning snapshot of the life of one of Texas’s most notorious outlawsFor his forty-two years on this earth, John Wesley Hardin’s name was synonymous with outlaw. A killer at fifteen, in the next few years he became skilled enough with his pistols to back down Wild Bill Hickok in the street. By the time the law caught up with Hardin when he was twenty-five, he had killedA stunning snapshot of the life of one of Texas’s most notorious outlawsFor his forty-two years on this earth, John Wesley Hardin’s name was synonymous with outlaw. A killer at fifteen, in the next few years he became skilled enough with his pistols to back down Wild Bill Hickok in the street. By the time the law caught up with Hardin when he was twenty-five, he had killed as many as forty men and been shot so many times that, it was said, he carried a pound of lead in his flesh. In jail he became a scholar, studying law books until he won himself freedom, and afterwards he tried to lead an upright life. It was not to be.By the time he was killed in 1895, Hardin was an anachronism—the last true gunfighter of the Old West. In this volume, western master James Carlos Blake retells Hardin’s life, exposing the many different sides of the man who became a legend....

Title : The Pistoleer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781453239
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 363 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Pistoleer Reviews

  • Still
    2019-02-20 08:41

    Look. I'd rather milk a mule than read another goddamn page of this thing.If you like your Westerns with a patina of literary/historical high-mindedness then this is your bowl of quail.Not mine.I can appreciate the author's talent but I can't read anymore of this particular novel.3 stars because he's a swinging dick, well-received, big shot author of some esteem.

  • Steve
    2019-03-03 11:26

    Excellent. If you like Cormac McCarthy, or Peter Matthiesen's Killing Mister Watson (which this book resembles, since Hardin's story is told through a variety of voices), you should enjoy The Pistoleer. Similar to Jesse James, Hardin was a product of the violent post Civl War era in Texas. But unlike James, Hardin was no robber. He could however shoot -- and with extreme accuracy (often right into an enemy's forehead or eye). The Hardin that emerges from Blake's version is young and prideful, but also loyal to friends and family. Still, Hardin's luck only lasted so long. Prison, and loss of a family he dearly loved, would turn the gunfighter into a lonely man out of touch with a rapidly changing world. His end, despite an admirable attempt at self reform (he became a lawyer), is totally bound up in the way he lived his life.

  • Eisnein
    2019-03-05 14:20

    John Wesley Hardin, In All His Bloody, Ugly GloryJohn Wesley Hardin was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a 'good person'. As part of a generation of young southern males who were too young to join the Confederate Army, but old enough to strap on a gun when the insults and injustices of Reconstruction became too much to bear. Jesse James was another one of these Rebels-born-too-late; for many of them, guilt over missing the War - while older brothers, cousins, fathers, and friends fought and died, while entire cities were put to the torch - had to be channeled into hatred, redirecting outward the flames that threatened to consume them. In the early years after Lee's formal surrender to Grant at Appomattox in 1965, many bad decisions were made concerning 'Reconstruction'; the use of black soldiers, some of them former slaves, was one of them. Most southerners, even though only a small percentage were slaveholders before the war, saw the presence of black men carrying guns and issuing orders as an unforgivable insult. Belief that blacks were inferior to whites was something taken for granted; on the other side, many of the black soldiers stationed in the former CSA rightfully and understandably despised the whites who would see them dead or back in chains. In such an environment, violence was an inevitability. The Ku Klux Klan was born in this time and place, and so was John Wesley Hardin's career as a killer. James Carlos Blake views the life and legend of America's most notorious anti-hero through the eyes of the people who knew him, structuring his novel like a series of anecdotes told by the many friends, lovers and enemies who passed into and out of his life. He was a complicated man, extremely well read, even becoming a lawyer during a prison stint. Blake refuses to pass judgement, on either Hardin or the fictional/semi-fictional narrators, presenting the ugliest beliefs of the time as honestly as possible. This makes for a powerful and disturbing novel, violent and ugly, but also fascinating; the roots of hatred and violence are never easy things to look upon, but attempting to understand them makes us better for it.

  • Jonathan Briggs
    2019-03-10 07:34

    I'm all for any novel that has at least one guy per chapter getting his brains knocked out the back of his head by a Colt .44 slug. This is one viscerally violent, action-packed "literary" western. James Carlos Blake uses the form of the oral history to tell the story of "the most feared mankiller in Texas," John Wesley Hardin. Each chapter takes on a different narrator and a different impression of Hardin. Some see him as a postwar hero, others as a vicious, rabid killer. Some admire him, others fear him. Lawmen, whores, ranchers, innocent bystanders, saloon rats, a muckraker named Peckinpah, anyone who has the fortune/misfortune to cross paths with Wes Hardin takes a turn telling the story. If there's one flaw to the novel, it's that at the end, the reader has no clearer understanding of the man behind the fast draw. Who was Wes Hardin the person? How do you reconcile the loving, fiercely loyal family man with the reptilian, thrill-seeking murderer? Was he a sociopath sporting different masks, or was he caught up in a legend that grew too big to handle? It's hard to tell whether the ambiguity is the result of the novel's form and the outsiders' POV or whether Blake couldn't quite grasp his "hero." Or maybe there's no insight to be had. Maybe Hardin was unknowable. Whoever he was, his exploits, factual or embellished, make for a blistering good read. Disappointingly, he never kills a man just for snoring.

  • John Campos
    2019-03-11 13:26

    Blake's first novel, unless I'm much mistaken, and perhaps his most creative, its subject and delivery are as masterful and rough as a confident whiskey shot. A historical must, even for the most diligent and devoted historian.

  • Jim
    2019-02-23 12:19

    A very entertaining read about John Wesley Hardin, told in the first person by a number of narrators who were present at the various events in the Texas gunfighter's life. Blake is an artist at giving multiple characters their own unique voice. Two thumbs up for this author. If you enjoy westerns, based in fact, but not the usual "horse opera," then give James Carlos Blake a try.

  • Nicole Kruck
    2019-03-04 10:28

    a very interesting read, and while written from interesting perspectives (each chapter is written from a different person's perspective-people who were supposedly around when the current events were taking place), it got a little frustrating to continually have to refocus myself for every new chapter. on top of this (building off of the changing perspectives) mini stories of side characters were told. if I were a huge old West fan I would have been elated to learn so much. as it is, I've really only heard of Hardin from my husband and have no clue if these side characters were even real people. because of that, large portions of the book were pretty dry. very very well written.....just overall not really my area of interest, which honestly made me a little sad. a good book wasted.

  • Marco Subias
    2019-02-24 07:24

    I loved the language in this book, the setting was richly-drawn, and there were fine supporting characters. I put it down halfway through though. I had to. The main character was insufferable. He was the best at everything. The best rider. The best roper. The best shooter. The most charming with women. Best lover. Hardest-working farmer. Most skillful and lucky gambler. Blake's Hardin is just so damned wonderful at everything he starts to get boring.

  • Ron
    2019-02-23 13:24

    This book actually redeemed itself starting with a bit past the halfway mark. Stylistically, it is well-written, although even that can be a bit hard to judge at times since the book is told from the point-of-view of various individuals, some real/some fictional, of various origins and levels of education. What was hard for me to swallow about this book was that early in the book, even characters who had reason to dislike Hardin intensely kept pointing out things in their narratives that seemed to justify his actions, making them 'neutral' at best. Oft-times that half of the book seemed a bit more hero-worship than narrative, even though it was still interesting enough I likely would have given it three-stars. Without giving things away, at one point in the story, Hardin is actually dragged into something against his will for once...and the story from that point becomes extremely engaging, starting a story of vengeance, horrendous loss, and even an attempt at redemption. There were also a few small things Blake had his characters do that weren't anachronistic, but historically 'unlikely'. That took a little fun out of it.

  • Dan Downing
    2019-02-25 15:21

    James Carlos Blake's first book, published first in large paper back format, appeared to be a semi-historical Western novel. After being read, it began to be recognized as a cunningly told biography of John Wesley Hardin and the times he lived through, mostly in Texas. From my perspective the only major flaw is technical: the many chapters are 'written' by different people---friends, enemies, kin, lovers and so forth---but the tone and style are, with little exception, uniform. To do this type of thing well, one needs to write in different voices, an exceedingly difficult task.Putting that aside, Hardin makes a fascinating study of violence and Southern 'honor', while Blake can explore the forces shaping Texas society post-war and into today. A violent, occasionally graphically sexual, story, Blake's first work presages his more polished and mature efforts while entertaining and informing in its own right. Recommended

  • Charles
    2019-03-02 08:34

    This book answers the long burning question posed by Bob Dylan, "John Wesley Hardin"? I guess I don't know much Texas history(myth). I recently read The Diezmo by Rick Bass which is set in Texas after the Civil War but doesn't seem to connect to any events in this book. So I have some reading to do.I think I've encountered this form of story telling before. A form where each short section is told by another character about the protagonist. Mostly similar books use journal entries, newspaper stories, letters and other efemers. This book uses mostly character statements addressed directly to the reader. It seemed a little strange. All the characters sound alike. I guess there was a fear that too much attempt to produce the sounds of individual accents, regional isms, and socio economic variants would in the end come off comic.I like James Carlos Blake and intend to read soon In The Rogue Blood.

  • Debbie Bridge
    2019-03-10 13:45

    I have to admit, I did really enjoy reading this story. I gave it 4, instead of 5 stars because, well, it's a great story, but after reading a very good book: 'Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend', this book just didn't come up to the same level.Still, it was a very entertaining read and I would recommend it for it's fun story line and very interesting story line. I had never read a fictional biography before, so this one has shown me a new genre, which can be a lot of fun, but can muddy the waters of fact even more around this Western legend.

  • David
    2019-03-09 12:21

    The Pitstoleer is an interesting fictional biography of John Wesley Hardin, but nothing new is learned about the man or what really drove him. If the reader has not heard of Harding this would be a good starting point. The book dragged a bit in the middle and would have been a tighter read if it were 50 or 100 pages shorter but this does not diminish the experience. As with all of Blake's books this is a Peckinpah hymn to violence and enjoyable because of that, but for readers who do not like violence this book is not for you. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

  • Joni
    2019-03-02 13:27

    The description for this book actually describes the book written by Blake about those who fought with Pancho Villa not "The Pistoleer" which is a historical novel about John Wesley Hardin.I liked the use of different narrators and how each told of their personal interaction with Hardin. In this way Blake allows the reader to finish the novel having learned something about the life of John Wesley Hardin yet he leaves the mystique of the gunslinger intact. For those who are interested in Texas history I recommend they put James Carlos Blake on their list of authors to follow.

  • Judi
    2019-03-08 09:18

    Great visit to the old west... and meeting one of the most notorious outlaws. I like the way Blake uses first person narrative -- not from John Wesley Hardin's perspective -- but from those who knew him. Each chapter is told by a different person; it starts when he was fifteen and shoots his first person to when he is finally shot down himself. Recommended for anyone who likes a literary western.

  • Aric
    2019-03-10 08:35

    Once again loved Blakes writing style, but he still just misses being fantastic. The way he eloquantly describes violence reminds me of McCarthy, the way he describes sexuality the way a cocky seventeen year old boy would is a cross between genius and hilarity. I love reading him but just wish he would hit something in me I'm missing.

  • Shauna Lacombe
    2019-03-08 11:27

    3.5 stars. Well written and a fantastic story...honestly just not a big fan of the story-telling style though - each chapter is a different character recounting his/her experiences with John Wesley Hardin. It makes for a slightly chopped up story line which made it hard to be really engaged in the story.

  • Brian Coffman
    2019-02-18 09:30

    This is an interesting read. It was very engaging and tells the story of John Wesley Hardin in a unique way. It is not the best book I have ever read, but if you are looking for something different it is very unique.

  • Tom
    2019-03-15 12:42

    It was okay. Fairly faithful to the facts, but got monotonous after a while.

  • Dan 625
    2019-02-25 09:41

    If you liked "Ride with the Devil". If you haven't read "Ride...", go there first.

  • Stephen Crowe
    2019-03-13 12:33

    Racist and misogynistic. Oh yeah, and boring

  • John
    2019-03-19 10:43

    Good book about the life of John Wesley Hardin. I like that it was made up of many stories told by people who supposedly knew the subject.

  • John of Canada
    2019-03-03 07:24

    For people who like Cormac McCarthy,Blake is a good option.History,quality writing and a bit of darkness.

  • Doug
    2019-03-16 10:36

    Fictionized life of John Wesley Hardin. A good read.