Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers (Nonfiction)

John E. Hallwas, University of Illinois Press, $29.95, Hardcover.
John E. Hallwas, University of Illinois Press, $29.95, Hardcover.

What an intriguing book! Ed and Lon Maxwell rivaled the James boys in their career of horse stealing, robberies and killings, but none of it occurred far enough west to be included in later Western references. Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota were the areas of action for the Maxwells, but the stories read the same as any Old West deeds of derring do. Narrow escapes, posse chases, lynchings and remarkable skills with firearms made the Maxwell brothers the subjects of blazing dime novels and adventure tales of their day. This extraordinarily detailed work also delves into the psychology of outlawry and the American culture that seems to find entertainment in such notorious personalities. Western history in the future should no longer ignore the escapades of the Maxwell brothers nor this excellent book.

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