William Palmer

Southern Man

Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War

By T J Stiles

Jonathan Cape 510pp £20 order from our bookshop

Hollywood has presented versions of Jesse James in several movies; usually he is seen as a poor, persecuted farm boy from the gallant South, forced into a genteel form of banditry on the Robin Hood model until his good works are brought to an untimely end by a cowardly bullet in the back. T J Stiles offers a very different picture of Jesse and his world in an exemplary and brilliantly researched study.

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