WILD EAST: Gunfights, Massacres

Book number: 91620 Product format: Hardback Author: IAN HERNON

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Bibliophile price £8.00
Published price £20

From the New York Times, 4th July 1857: 'Brick-bats, stones and clubs were flying thickly round, and from the windows in all directions, and the men ran wildly about brandishing firearms. Wounded men lay on the sidewalks and were trampled upon. Now the rabbits would make a concerted rush and force their antagonists up Baynard Street to the Bowery. Then the fugitives, being reinforced, would turn on their pursuers...' The scene was set for a classic Western showdown on a dusty main street, a sheriff backed by townspeople facing down a gang of heavily armed hired gunslingers. Someone drew first and a few minutes later ten men were dead or dying and several more suffered gunshot wounds. The hired guns fled. This was in the West Virginia mining town of Matewan in 1920. By contrast, the more celebrated gunfight at the OK Corrall in Tombstone lasted 60 seconds and left three men dead. Matewan was not an aberration. It was the era of the post-Civil War Wild West and it can be argued that it was the most dangerous place to be in the East. Race wars with lynchings and massacres, heavily armed confrontation between infant trade unionism and the forces of capitalism, murderous feuds between corrupt lawmen and the early Mafia were the confrontations in which the US Government bombed and marginalised their own citizens. The law was twisted for private ends, and 'fake news' became the norm. Popular historian Ian Hernon turns his practiced reporter's eye to a forgotten chapter in America's history of the crowded industrial cities of the Eastern United States with their poverty and exploitation. Some surprising facts emerge such as the main centre for horse rustling was not Wyoming but New York at the beginning of the last century, and black townships were bombed from the air before the Civil Rights Movement took hold. Jam packed full of great stories, educational and entertaining. 320pp, 16 pages of illustrations.

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ISBN 9781445689272

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