The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Now a major movie starring Brad Pitt.
Ron Hansen was the first writer to approach the mythology of the West with the intent of rewriting history, to show the mixed motives and dubious intentions of heroes and outlaws alike. Drawing on contemporary records, newspapers and courtroom reports The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford creates a vivid, detailed description of the James gang and the America that created them, and builds a stunning portrait of one of the founding myths of the United States.
Hansen re-creates the real West of the most famous outlaw of them all, Jesse James, and of his death at the hands of Robert Ford. Ford is drawn to Jesse, uncertain if he wants to serve or destroy him, or somehow become him.
James, a charismatic, superstitious, and moody man, controls his ragged gang who fear his temper and quick shooting. The classic story of the American West, and of how Ford would gain immortality as the “dirty little coward who laid poor Jesse in his grave”.
“Wonderful. This is great storytelling… Ron Hansen has one of the most accomplished prose styles in contemporary fiction, and this narrative is the best blend of fiction and history I’ve read in a long while.”
“Thrilling and mythic… Hansen’s psychological acuity and downright excellent writing make it seem timeless.”
‘Independent on Sunday’