BALLOTS AND BULLETS: The Bloody County Seat Wars of Kansas ROBERT K. DeARMENT, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESS, $29.95, HARDCOVER; 800-627-7377.

ballotsandbulletsHere’s an exciting glimpse into an overlooked chapter of Kansas history. Interspersed with better-known characters such as Bat Masterson and Bill Tilghman, this litany of action-filled accounts of political intrigue also introduces us to other gunmen and outlaws who have escaped the typecasted character roles of Western badmen.

At the root of the jealousy, violence and nefarious practices of civilized townsfolk hoping to gain the title of county seat was the allure of growth and development for profit. Sound familiar? DeArment has written an excellent account of an unheralded facet of the expanding Old West. —Chuck Lewis

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