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Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward…
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Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The: A Novel… (1983 original; edició 2007)

de Ron Hansen (Autor)

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6361131,020 (3.78)22
Jesse James was a fabled outlaw, a charismatic, spiritual, larger-than-life bad man whose bloody exploits captured the imagination and admiration of a nation hungry for antiheroes. Robert Ford was a young upstart torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy, the "dirty little coward" who coveted Jesse's legend. The powerful, strange, and unforgettable story of their interweaving paths-and twin destinies that would collide in a rain of blood and betrayal-is a story of America in all her rough, conflicted glory and the myths that made her.… (més)
Membre:pedroppicasso
Títol:Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The: A Novel (P.S.)
Autors:Ron Hansen (Autor)
Informació:Harper Perennial (2007), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:to-read

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford de Ron Hansen (1983)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 11 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Oh wow, finally finished it. This was my pick for a novel based on true facts, and boy, was I sucked in learning about this! I was greatly taken to the person of Jesse James, even though he was completely mad (there are few characters in this novel who are not). So I thoroughly enjoyed the first two parts of the book. The third part deals with the aftermath of the novel's main event (spoiler: an assassination) and that, to me, dragged on, but mostly because I was not much invested in the characters focused on.
Hansen writes comfortably, his style throwing you back to those gunslinging days. However, he has a knack for giving minute details which threw me out of the story -obviously showing he had done the research, while I would have believed anything he wrote down. I confess I still didn't know the names of the James-Younger gang's members by the end, and I didn't particularly care -some background characters received too much time.
A great read if you want to find out what the Wild West was all about, as well as interesting character profiles of Jesse James, Robert Ford, and some other figures in their lives.
(Now time to see if the movie's decent =p) ( )
  stormnyk | Aug 6, 2020 |
I absolutely loved this novel; it's probably one of the best things I've read in the past few years. Hansen's prose is beautiful, and he manages to take a small slice of history and peel back the layers without being unfaithful to his sources. It's a sad, pretty book that I bet will haunt me for a while. ( )
  wordsampersand | Dec 6, 2018 |
Jesse James, the notorious bank robber and gang leader, takes on some new recruits to his gang -- two brothers named Charlie and Robert Ford. Little does he know that Bob Ford will ultimately murder him in cold blood.

I honestly don't know what to make of this book. The movie based on it was recommended to me by a friend some time ago and then by happenstance, I saw the book in my library. I figured I'd start with the book before the movie because the book is usually better, right? Well, I'm not sure in this case because I don't intend on watching the movie after reading this.

I should preface this review by saying that I'm not really much of a fan of the western genre, but there have been some exceptions to that. This particular book reads mostly like a nonfiction narrative with some dialogue and a few bits of imagined details thrown in here and there. There were definitely tidbits that I found particularly interesting, such as the stories of what happened to Jesse James's descendants, but as always with historical fiction, I wasn't sure just how true these factoids actually were. At any rate, these areas of the book were the most compelling to me.

As for the purportedly "imaginative telling" parts, I wasn't really that interested. These parts were not really that vivid or riveting. Jesse seemed like a horrible individual who had no concerns beyond his own well-being, so it was hard to feel any sympathy toward him whatsoever. Robert Ford's motivations in killing him were never made clear, and it seemed we got a lot more of the Jesse-worshipping Bob than anything else. However, it was interesting to see the reactions of the Ford brothers in the years after Jesse's death and how that act came to define them.

But altogether, I found it difficult to focus on this book. It seemed to go on for much too long about nothing. I feel like I would have preferred a shorter factual account instead. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Feb 7, 2017 |
This is a riveting story that reads quickly relative to its dense 400 pages of length. Hansen's writing is so confident and authentic that you as a reader immediately sense you're in the hands of a master. He marries fact and fiction in the most natural way possible; you have to think long and hard to discern where one ends and the other begins. An example:But as (Bob Ford) lifted the dipper he viewed himself in the store window and was discouraged by the picture of a scroungy boy in a ridiculous stove-pipe hat that was dented and smudged, in an overlarge black coat that was soiled and stained and plowed with wrinkles and cinched at his waist by a low-slung holster. He thought he looked goofy and juvenile, so he went inside the store and cruised the aisles. 112He goes onto describe the outfit that Ford picked out, which I assume is accurate and based on eyewitness accounts or maybe newspaper reports. But to describe the thought process behind the purchase takes it one step further. Hansen is actually inhabiting these historical figures, giving them motives and desires and insecurities, and the results are quite convincing.

The matter-of-fact prose -- at times electrifying in its succinctness -- helps with the characterization. Hansen also utilizes a wide variety of colorful imagery and metaphor to describe scenes in altogether unique ways. In the first pages of his description of Jesse James he magically brings him to life with such passages:He could intimidate like Henry the Eighth; he could be reckless or serene, rational or lunatic, from one minute to the next. If he made an entrance, heads turned in his direction; if he strode down an aisle store clerks backed away; if he neared animals they retreated. Rooms seemed hotter when he was in them, rains fell straighter, clocks slowed, sounds were amplified: his enemies would not have been much surprised if he produced horned owls from beer bottles or made candles out of his fingers. 6On the next page there's this simple yet utterly effective description of a coat:. . . climbed into a Confederate officer's coat that was rich with the odors of manual labor and was heavy enough to snap the pegs off a closet rack. 7And how about this for an interesting description of a death during a train robbery:. . . Frank McMillan was craning to look inside for himself when a lead ball punched into his forehead above his right eye, stopping his life instantly. His body collapsed just as the air brakes screeched and McMillan too slipped off the slackening train. 92And check out the level of detail when describing Wood Hite's death:Wood said nothing. His eyes were closed. A string of saliva hung from his mouth to the floor and it bowed with each cold draft of air. Martha tugged the blue muffler off and picked the blood-tipped hair from his brow. 151As a visual reader I love writing like this because I can actually see it happening. It definitely has a cinematic quality and I can understand how Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik were so excited about filming it. What's more, the scenes with Jesse James are menacing and nerve-wracking without fail. The way he turns every gesture, glance or word from James into a paranoid delusion or veiled threat is masterful.

So those are all the reasons to read it, but it's not a flawless book. Because it is essentially a chronicle of the preamble and aftermath to one particular event, and because Hansen apparently takes pride in being thorough, providing a beginning and end for every person involved (no matter how minor), the book has a disjointed feel in places. This is notable especially after the assassination itself, and at the beginning of Part 2 when there is an extended aside about the feud between Wood Hite and Dick LIddil.

Also, while it becomes apparent fairly early on that Robert Ford is the main character, we are still left with maddeningly little explanation as to why he chose to act the way he did. Hansen does provide some more insight much later in the novel, when Ford is commiserating with Dorothy Evans a few months before his death, but it's a case of too-little-and-late for my tastes.

Overall, however, it's a captivating book about a fascinating time in the country's history: when it was transitioning from the uncivilized "Wild West" to the more lawful ways of the East. Bob Ford represents this transition in certain ways and thus serves as a supremely intriguing subject. Combined with Hansen's exceptional writing, this is a novel that will please anyone who doesn't require a traditional narrative. ( )
  blake.rosser | Jul 28, 2013 |
I came upon Ron Hansen's western novel, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, through the fantastic 2007 Andrew Dominik film of the same name. After watching the film and hanging onto every piece of well crafted dialogue I went in search of the writers. I found Dominik himself had written the screenplay but based in on Hansen's 1983 novel. I prefer, like most, to read the book before seeing the movie, but when a movie is that good I had to read the original.
The book begins in 1881, with the infamous James Gang meeting Bob Ford, brother to Gang member Charley. It is quickly discovered how young Bob idolizes the leader, Jesse James. Hansen's descriptions of the settings and character are superb. I felt as though I were reading a contemporary account written during the period. The language he uses transport the reader back in time, riding along with the outlaws.
The story next goes into the back story of Jesse, brother Frank and others. The reader is taking onto trains for robberies and into banks for hold-ups, and all along the way Hansen expertly weaves history with story. He has managed to blur the line betwen non-fiction and fiction.
A good portion of the book reads like a historical account of what happened with Jesse James and his bandits. Hansen works the fictional dialogue into the story so well it is easy to forget that it is a novel. All the way to the climax, when the Coward finishes off his hero Hansen maintains a great level of tension between James and everyone out for the bounty on his head.
This book is fantastic. It is no wonder why so much of the dialogue from the film was taken straight from the pages of the book, it is difficult to improve on such exceptional writitng. ( )
  SethAndrew | Jan 25, 2013 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Ron Hansenautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Freed, SamNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hugon, VincentTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Thomas, G. ValmontNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Jesse James was a fabled outlaw, a charismatic, spiritual, larger-than-life bad man whose bloody exploits captured the imagination and admiration of a nation hungry for antiheroes. Robert Ford was a young upstart torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy, the "dirty little coward" who coveted Jesse's legend. The powerful, strange, and unforgettable story of their interweaving paths-and twin destinies that would collide in a rain of blood and betrayal-is a story of America in all her rough, conflicted glory and the myths that made her.

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