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Black Hat Jack

Joe R. Lansdale: Black Hat Jack (USA 2014)

From the Publisher:
The story of African-Americans in the West has been confined to the dusty, bottom shelf of recorded history and American literature. But in the vein of the old dime novels containing stories about such heroes as Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, and Jesse James, comes the true story of one of those ten-cent novel heroes, Deadwood Dick, disguised in those novels as a white champion of justice and adventure, but in reality a black cowboy, buffalo soldier, Indian fighter, and general hell raiser.

Here, Nat Love, the one and only Deadwood Dick, writes down his version of certain events, straightening out numerous misconceptions raised in the popular and sanitized dime novels. Though his version varies considerably from the numerous volumes of adventures attributed to him, his true story, with perhaps a bit of exaggeration, is no less fascinating or exciting.

Nat was one of those Old West characters who seemed to be everywhere and met everyone that was anyone at some point in his life. Black Hat Jack details Nat's version of the events of the now famous Second Battle of Adobe Walls, where he and a handful of buffalo hunters, primarily his good friend, Black Hat Jack, were pitted against hundreds of Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa warriors.

Heroics abound. Curse words fly. Humor flows as free as blood, and there's even a spot of romance. And with all that real life bravado, there might even be a few lies.

Joe R. Lansdale's stories about Nat Love are based loosely on the real Nat Love, who may have told a few windies about his time in the West, but at the same time revealed that African-Americans of that era were not all cooks and custodians. In fact, a full third of the cowboys of the Wild West days were African-American, Hispanic, or of mixed blood. This is a tribute to the real deal, as well as to the great mythology of the Old West.

Joe R. Lansdale: Black Hat Jack. The True Life Adventures of Deadwood Dick, as told by His Ownself. Dust jacket and interior illustrations by Ken Laager. Subterranean Press, ISBN: 9781596066779 (September, 2014), 130 p., $25.00.

 

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