Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Northfield: A Western Story” as Want to Read:
Northfield: A Western Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Northfield: A Western Story

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  205 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
On September 7, 1876, the James-Younger gang attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, with disastrous consequences. In a unique, compelling approach, author Johnny D. Boggs shifts perspectives from one first-person account to another to describe the bloody robbery, as well as the events leading to it and its aftermath.
ebook, 194 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Leisure Books (first published June 20th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Northfield, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Northfield

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 14, 2015 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Goodreads is a great tool for those who love books. Using Goodreads I had read several reviews prior to jumping into this. Knowing somewhat to expect really helped. This is a book about the James-Younger gang and their disastrous robbery of a bank in the town of Northfield, Minnesota. The book is told chapter by chapter each from a different person. So you have members of the James-Younger gang, town folk of Northfield and various other players telling you, the reader the story. A unique perspec ...more
Martha Peebles
May 13, 2017 Martha Peebles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Book.

I have enjoyed reading this book on Jesse James and his gang. I will be reading books by this author in the future.
Lee Tyner
I was intrigued by the concept of the same story with different viewpoints. However, some of seemed to be completely unrelated to central story of the book. I stopped early. To for me.
Steve Chaput
Nov 29, 2016 Steve Chaput rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The attempted bank robbery in Northfield, MN is well known from books and films, but Boggs does an amazing job in this book. Telling the tale from the perspective of individuals on both sides of the law. Boggs uses the names of actual people who lived through the events.

The narrators range from farmers and business owners who met the gang members while they were scouting the area, never knowing their true identities until later. The young daughter of a bank employee. Law enforcement officials an
Jul 23, 2010 Shaina rated it really liked it
I love the writing style! Each chapter is told from a different person's perspective. Sometimes they overlap so that you really get a feel for what happened in, before, and after the James/Younger gang attempted to rob the bank in Northfield, MN. The book is short enough to hold your attention throughout, but had enough details to make you feel like the author was there doing interviews of everyone involved. All in all it was very well researched and set out in a very readable and enjoyable mann ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this western about the James/Younger robbery attempt in Northfield. Every chapter is told by a different character, some outlaws, some lawmen or townspeople. I found it fascinating that the author could make me feel empathy and even like Cole Younger and even Frank James, part of me was rooting for them to get away even when they deserved to be caught and put in prison for what they did. Anyone who is looking for a great western would enjoy this book.

update: I just visited Nort
Aug 21, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting account of the Jesse James gang's defeat in Northfield, MN. I liked how the book didn't tell the story from an omniscient narrator, but from the point of view of many different characters. I liked that the same scene could be viewed from one character and then another, it made it seem more real. I also liked that it's not a necessarily well known incident (well, to me at least), but that it is really based in history. I am told, by my friend that went to college in Northfield, the to ...more
Jul 13, 2010 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pleasure
It took a little bit to get going and it took me a little time to get used to the various (many) different styles of "speaking" in the book. Each chapter is written from a different person's perspective, which slowed me down some. In addition, the perspectives included the person's speaking style which made adjusting imperative.

Overall the book was OK... the book is relatively short (compared to the other books I have read recently).
Ken Schloman
Apr 01, 2015 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting take on the James/ Younger gng attempt to rob the Northfield, an effort that was total disaster. A very good historical novel. Told from a variety on view points of people touched by this robbery. Being from Missouri, the lore of Jesse James will always draw my attention. The descriptions of the interactions between gang members lends a taste of real authenticity to the novel.
Jody Mabry
Jan 13, 2015 Jody Mabry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I absolutely loved this book. Maybe it was the outlaws, maybe it was that I don't live too far from Northfield. I think my favorite part of the book is how Johnny Boggs writes in the perspective of everyone directly and indirectly involved in the attempted heist. It brings the daily life of people surrounding the event into the light rather than just the big names of the James and Younger brothers. Well written, believable, and a great story.
Jun 09, 2011 Mrs.b rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this was one of the first books that I read on my new Nook! While I truly enjoyed the historical accuracy (my dad would totally dig this story), the locations and plot twists were difficult to follow. I made a lot of connections to a movie that was about the brothers, so this helped. I think it also helped that I read this book up at the cabin...nothing like a rustic setting to read some American History.
Jun 24, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As others have said....unique way of storytelling. Each chapter spoken by a person either indirectly or directly involved with the Northfield Bank Robbery and murder.
At times I had a bit of trouble keeping up with who was who with the 8 outlaws... they used different names; nicknames.... I could not understand how the Younger/James gang were "heroes"..... No different 100 years ago than today where women write letters to and marry jailed killers... strange concept, but a good book.

Jul 22, 2011 Izzie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was interesting. It follows the James-Younger band through their disastrous bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota but each chapter is from the view point of a different character involved, whether bank robber or innocent bystander. This could make for a good book for a high school English class or even History class.
At first I wasn't really sure I was going to like this book, but as I got into it started to flow better. There is something about having one event told by many different views. You heard from the outlaws and from the people they came in contact with. It was about Jesse James and his "gang" and a bank robbery that went bad. *Warning* there is some language through out this book.
Joel Stronberg
May 21, 2016 Joel Stronberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new favorite western writer

I really enjoyed the approach taken by the author. The writing was excellent. He captured both the different perspectives and voices of the characters and wove them into a tightly structured and entirely believable rendition of an oft told story. If you're looking for your next favorite western author, look no further.
Jul 23, 2013 Dina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Westerns are not my genre, but Jesse James is a fascinating historical character, so I decided to try this book. I really enjoyed it. I liked the constantly changing point of view, and I felt the author did a great job installing personality into each character, even when that character only told one chapter.
Carlos Mendoza
I rather liked the style of telling the events from many different 1st-person perspectives. Of course, much of it was entirely fictionalized. Boggs changed up the narrative style to match the storytellers', which kept it interesting, without also being repetitive.
Jan 05, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read in some time.

I found the telling of this story, which most of us already know, from the view of many of its participants very interesting and entertaining.

I look forward to reading more of Johnny D. Boggs works.
Richard Stover
Jun 21, 2016 Richard Stover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a good western biology of the James and Younger gang that made a trip north to Wisconsin. And their capture and subsequent life. I like the way the author made it like the people they came in contact with seem to be telling the story.
Jul 01, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good western.

Johnny Boggs is a new author to me. His view of the James-Younger raid on Northfield Minnesota is well written and entertaining. I enjoyed that each chapter was from another point of view e w.
Jul 28, 2010 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I really liked this book. I live about 15 miles North of Northfield and have always been intrigued by the history of the town. I liked how the book changed vantage points during the story and I also liked hearing the story from some of the townspeople and farmers the James gang had contact with.
Feb 22, 2008 Coalbanks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear, concise, good characterization, sets the scene & atmosphere, does not over dramatize, could have been better with contemporary photos but overall a good read & better than others on the subject.
Barb B
May 12, 2011 Barb B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read...much different than the conception of the Northfield bank robbery by Jesse James and his gang. More in depth about their participation, the injuries, and lives after the event.
Mar 21, 2012 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read my review at my blog.
Jan 02, 2011 RollingT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the story and the author brought the era to life. I assume the charactrerization were close to real. A very good story.
Janet Dawson
Apr 05, 2012 Janet Dawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific account of the abortive Northfield, MN bank robbery.
Jul 05, 2010 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a freebie on the Nook, but I enjoyed reading it, and learned quite a bit about Jesse James and his ilk.
Jul 21, 2010 Lesli rated it it was ok
Meh. Westerns just aren't my thing, unfortunately. Not to mention I didn't like the multiple first-person chapters. Too many perspectives and voices to remember.
Oct 18, 2011 Beth rated it did not like it
Well, I read three chapters (my rule before I put a book down) before confirming that yep, I'm not a Western kind of girl. The writing was's just not the genre for me.
Nov 11, 2010 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
An excellent retelling of the Northfield robbery by the James-Younger gang, told from an interesting set of perspectives.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Siren of the Waters (Commander Jana Matinova, #1)
  • The Glades
  • Hunt at the Well of Eternity (Gabriel Hunt, #1)
  • Kell's Legend (Clockwork Vampire Chronicles, #1)
  • All Tied Up (Pleasure Inn, #1)
  • The Wicked House of Rohan (The House of Rohan, #0.5)
  • Hour of the Hunter (Walker Family, #1)
  • The Hands of the Buddha
  • Weddings Can Be Murder
  • First, There Is a River (Spirit of the River, #1)
  • A Nail Through the Heart (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #1)
  • The Hunters
  • Billy Boyle (Billy Boyle World War II, #1)
  • County Line
  • Ninja
  • Devil's Dream
  • Retirementology: Rethinking the American Dream in a New Economy
  • Golde the Mother (Lost Tales of Mercia, #1)
Johnny D. Boggs is a Spur- and Wrangler Award-winning author of the American West and frontier. Born in 1962, Boggs grew up on a farm near Timmonsville, South Carolina, around the old stamping grounds of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion (chronicled in his frontier novel The Despoilers). He knew he wanted to be a writer at an early age. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife, Lisa Smit ...more
More about Johnny D. Boggs...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »