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American Outlaw

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  398 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
The New York Times bestselling self-portrait of a flawed but determined Jesse James: rebel, outlaw, gearhead, artist, entrepreneur, lost son, and fiercely committed father.

Jesse James is everything you imagined him to be—and more than you ever expected.

He has led a violent life. He’s survived lower depths, faced harder times, and beaten down more private demons than most—
ebook, 368 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Gallery Books (first published April 28th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 22, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea why I read this book other than it grabbed my attention at the library. After reading it, my overwhelming impression is that Jesse James is a narcissist. He remembers way to may detailed conversations, and those parts strike me as fabricated, but more than a liar, I think he distorts his view of reality so much that he believes it. He blames all his troubles on a violent childhood. The real problem seems to be his womanizing, and I don't see a valid excuse for that provided in his ...more
Lee Anne
In high school, did you know a football player who was a big guy who cared as much about beating the crap out of people as winning? Did you ever go see a punk show in the eighties, and see a guy who threw punches in the mosh pit, just for fun? Have you ever met a blue collar guy, who lives to work, and defines that work as something that is physical and gets your hands dirty? Put all these stereotypes together, and you have Jesse James.

I never watched an entire episode of "Monster Garage" and th
May 16, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What to say. I have always been intrigued by Jesse James; however, this book was painful to read. Life is messy and Jesse's life has been especially complex. People come into their own at different ages in life. I don't think anyone worked harder than Jesse after he straightened out his life from some of his juvenile problems. Fortunately, according to Jesse, he is now emotionally maturing. Unfortunately, his delayed emotional intelligence learning curve has been at the expense of many, man ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be a pretty decent read. It had a very nice flow, and was well articulated.

I found the telling of Jesse James' early life very compelling. It definitely sheds light on why he is the way he is today. But beyond all the hardships, and all the shit he had been through, he still had a lot of motivation and drive.

I can definitely respect a guy who works hard, and Jesse James definitely did. He built his empire from the ground up, literally using his bare hands. I think more should be
Oct 07, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
American Outlaw is a great book to read, in my eyes however. The reason I read this book is because I am a huge fan of motorcycles and classic cars and I’ve always been intrigued by Jesses craftsmanship. He tells his memories so effervescently and with such great detail as if it all just happened yesterday. He coalesces his stories perfectly, starting from when he was a young teenager, into present day. The thing I like most about this book is his word choice. He doesn’t put a bunch of big fancy ...more
May 05, 2011 Garci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celebrities
I was as shocked as the rest of the world was when the news broke last year about Jesse James' infidelity and subsequent destruction of his marriage to Sandra Bullock. I wanted to read his book to get the story from his perspective and see if there were any answers in it.

He didn't really explain WHY he strayed in his marriage -- he just explains he was bored and felt undeserving of this great life he was living. I think he was basically a good person who made a ridiculously bad and selfish choi
Dec 19, 2011 Kristie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
American Outlaw is an amazing read. It's meaningful and holds a lot of answers to anyone who knows what it feels like to be going through a difficult time. Jesse Jame's story is a very heart felt chronical of who he is and why he is Jesse James.
This book has opened my eyes and given me the strength to not be afraid to look at the past memories and overcome them.
Loved this book!
Janet Burney
May 29, 2012 Janet Burney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book! Although Jesse is a troubled man, it had a good message behind it: never give up on a dream!
Mar 04, 2015 Anne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, really about a 5th grade writing level. So much dialogue! Just kept having to scan it until the Sandra Bullock part.
Book was interesting, but it just confirmed the fact that he's a douchebag. Why the hell would you cheat on Sandra Bullock? She was too good for him anyway.
Jan 12, 2015 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still think he's a douche...just a tad more of a human douche
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luis Navarro
Jan 30, 2016 Luis Navarro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of one's hard life growing up, a story of fame, betrayal and love . The story all starts off after an event where Jesse had just cheated on his wife, and being famous as he is with his many T.v. shows the paparazzi was all over him. The book goes more on about his life growing up, as a kid, he had a problematic life, with his parents getting divorced when he was only 6 years old. Then he had spent most of his life with his tough father and a number of slutty stepmoms. He grew up in Cali ...more
I was ready to hate Jessie James, perhaps I already did.
This book was picked up at a yardsale a few years ago by my son in a bag full of books for $1, and I groaned and rolled my eyes and explained why I thought the choice was a bad one.
My son reminded me that I'd loved Monster Garage, and really, what information could the media be depended upon to truthfully provide?

It took me a few years, but I finally relented and read the book.
What I found was some very smart writing and a glimpse into the
Sep 24, 2016 Joey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my genre and not my favorite guy, but I kept reading it, and it brought about some interesting conversations with the Mrs., so it earned a third star. Interesting book in that it seems half intent on showing what an "outlaw" he is and courting your admiration of this fact, and half a list of excuses presented as an apology to his kids and exes. The thing I kept thinking is that, if you had given me a couple of key facts about his childhood, I could have written his biography without knowing ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Charmaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I really enjoyed reading this book as I did not know anything about this (and not the outlaw) Jesse James. It was fast paced with some action, some speed and motorbikes. There was even straight talk about how to get up when all the chips are down, all the stuff I would expect from a "tough guy book".

That was until I got to the end. Reading about famous or infamous personages going through re-hab is just so 2000+late for me. That made me want to deduct one star. I didn't because the overall story
Amy Killian
Jan 07, 2013 Amy Killian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could only get through about 20 pages of this book. I used to be a big fan of Jesse's; I've even been to his MC shop in Long Beach. But this whole book felt like a big pity party: "I'm Jesse, I've done bad things in my life, and this is why, please forgive me." Maybe the timing of it was bad, since it came out right after he confessed to his cheating on Sandra Bullock. But one of my pet peeves is people who use their past as an excuse for their present actions. That's all this book was to me.
May 20, 2011 Evalynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 words. Pictures at the end! (ebook anyway)
I really enjoyed the book. I looked forward to reading it every night and going to sleep dreaming of him ;)
The man has had a crazy life and I must say, I am very very jealous of all the bands he got to tour with.

Because I never watched any of his shows, I went into this book having no idea what to expect other than motorcycles, Sandra Bullock and the whole drama surrounding that. I feel that I learned a lot about him, it's a good look into his life.
Bozo The Clown
Mar 13, 2012 Bozo The Clown rated it really liked it
Is Jesse James a sympathetic character? yes. Are his marriage troubles his own doing? Yes. Does he say as much in the book? Yes. Is this a full, factual accounting of his life? No, it is as he remembers it and with his own bias. He does take responsibility for how things have turned out and clearly he positions himself as sympathetic. But there does seem to be a core of truth to the story he tells.

Regardless whether you love him or hate him, believe or doubt his version of events, it does make f
Oct 07, 2012 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I haphazardly picked up this book at Books A Million for $6.00. It was on clearance so I figured it was worth a shot. I've been a fan of Jesse James despite his "supposed" antisemitic views. Turns out he isn't antisemitic at all. I learned the truth about him and where those rumors came from. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It is well written and provides vivid details into the life of Jesse James.
Jul 01, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading every kind of biography and this one was no different. The book is a fly through book in that it's written plainly and easily. Jesse James is a fascinating man who seems to have an innate movement to propel himself forward no matter the circumstance. I love when authors share their stories with accountability, awareness and learning; all of which Jesse did. He's no angel but he's all American product of our time and for that I like him. Great read- I recommend it!
Jan 03, 2012 Dino rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in the dollar bi at Barnes and Noble. I finished it in one night. Honestly I used to think the guy was awesome, then he went through the fame years, and he came off like a dick. But the book makes you believe that he was as sick of that in the moment as everyone else who thought it was.

He cops to the Bullock thing in a serious bit of literary bravery.

Janine comes off butt ass crazy.
Jul 28, 2011 Manda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at that library...And sort of covered it up while walking walking around.

Honestly, I was curious about the whole affair part of the story. He had nothing but nice things to say about Sandy (but some things sort of contradicted interviews he later gave). His story growing up was painful, so it is quite an achievement in all that he has built today.
Aug 17, 2011 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very informative book about the man behind the West Coast Choppers power house.. I didnt know he played football and was that good, altho from looking at his build, it's not hard to see it now.. After his troubled past, it's also easy to see why his marriage to Sandra Bullock took a horrible turn..
Aug 28, 2011 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographys
kp brought this book to me to read. he and i were fans of monster garage. this book tells alot about jesse and why he is the way he is. he even covers on cheating on sandra bolluck. i sympathize with his hard child life. i see him more as a victim now then i would have ever thought. he is a kinda trashy dude but he sure is american.
Christopher Beck
Feb 21, 2012 Christopher Beck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many people have such interesting stories and I love to read about them, especially success stories. This wasn't the best bio I have ever read and it wasn't the worst, the overall writing wasn't the greatest but that doesn't mean this was a bad read.
Adam Bricker
Oct 06, 2011 Adam Bricker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm slightly ashamed by how much I liked this book. Of course I watched Monster Garage and the other Discovery shows about him, but I was never really a fan. And his very public indiscretion didn't really do much for my opinion of him, but this is a well-written, thoughtful book.
Dec 25, 2011 Ruds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt slightly embarrassed reading this book but it turned to be well-written, insightful and over-all decent piece of work from Jesse James. I finished it in under a day, it was so engrossing that I spent half of Christmas day glued to my reader.
Lisa Salo
Jan 11, 2013 Lisa Salo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a creep. Usually Autobiographies give me understanding of a a person and therefore, make them more likeable. Not so. Hard worker, yes. But all his other choices - self centered, arrogant, and violent. I hope he gets help.
May 29, 2012 J. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad. The first half of the book, about his formative years, football, starting his business, etc was really good. At some point it kicked into Sandra Bullock kiss-ass mode, and was pretty boring. The last little bit wasn't bad though. Overall, a good read.
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