Adrianne Ambrose's Reviews > The Life of John Wesley Hardin: As Written By Himself

The Life of John Wesley Hardin by John Wesley Hardin
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's review
Oct 16, 2011

really liked it
Read from October 16 to 20, 2011

You might remember John Wesley Hardin from those Time Life advertizements that claim he shot a man for snoring too loud. (Well who has stayed in a youth hostel dorm and not wanted to do that?)Anway, I found out that of all the gunslingers of the old west, he's the only one that wrote his memoirs so of course I wanted to read it.

First of all, there is some controversy as to whether he actually penned the book, but after comparing the writing to letters he wrote his wife, I believe he did. After all, the guy shot a bunch of people, got pardoned and then became a lawyer. He had to have had some brains.

Now, huge spoiler alert - If you are a fan of gunslingers and like to think of them as cool desperados, stop reading immediately.***

My gods the old cowboys sound like a bunch of tantrum throwing babies. Hardin doesn't mean to depict himself, Wild Bill and numerous others as blood thirsty ten-year olds with six-shooters, but that's how they come off. For example, Hardin is in a bar, someone makes a comment against Texas, says he is from Texas and willing to fight, the other guy stands up and (according to Hardin) goes for his gun, Hardin goes for his gun and shoots the guy between the eyes. (Hardin was always shooting people dead between the eyes or straignt in the heart, according to Hardin...) Really? Shot a guy for poking fun of Texas? Seriously? Holy hell! Think of what would have happened if these boys had the internet.

I did find the book of historical interest. A lot of the gunslingers came to trouble in the reconstructionist South and I thought there was some information for history buffs although I'm not sure I'll be able to watch another Hollywood wester without cracking a smile (for which JW Hardin would probably want to shoot me between the eyes).

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