American Mythmaker: Walter Noble Burns and the Legends of by Mark J. Dworkin

By Mark J. Dworkin

Billy the child, Wyatt Earp, and Joaquín Murrieta are fastened within the American mind's eye as towering legends of the outdated West. yet that has now not continuously been the case. there has been a time while those males have been principally forgotten relics of a bygone period. Then, within the early 20th century, an imprecise Chicago newspaperman replaced all that.

Walter Noble Burns (1872–1932) served with the 1st Kentucky Infantry through the Spanish-American battle and coated normal John J. Pershing’s pursuit of Pancho Villa in Mexico as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. even though history-making those forays could appear, they have been in simple terms the start. within the final six years of his existence, Burns wrote 3 books that propelled New Mexico outlaw Billy the child, Tombstone marshal Wyatt Earp, and California bandit Joaquín Murrieta into the world of legend.

regardless of Burns’s notable command of his subjects—based on exhaustive learn and interviews—he has been mostly neglected through students due to the well known, even sometimes fictional, process he hired. In American Mythmaker, the 1st literary biography of Burns, Mark J. Dworkin brings Burns out of the shadows. via cautious research of The Saga of Billy the Kid (1926), Tombstone: An Iliad of the Southwest (1927), and The Robin Hood of Eldorado: The Saga of Joaquín Murrieta (1932) and their reception, Dworkin indicates how Burns used his journalistic education to introduce the background of the yank West to his era’s normal readership. within the strategy, Burns made his topics family names.

Are Burns’s books truth or fiction? was once he a historian or a novelist? Dworkin considers those questions as he uncovers the tale in the back of Burns’s mythmaking works. A long-overdue biography of a author who formed our notion of western background, American Mythmaker documents in interesting aspect the fashioning of a few of the best American legends.

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