Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Book Buys Pt. 3: Pat and Bat

This Bat book by Richard O'Conner has been around forever, or at least since 1958, when this paperback was published. I’ve always been tempted to pick one up, if only for the TV tie-in cover, and there it was waiting for me in Lincoln City, a first printing in almost new condition. Made me realize I know only scattered moments in Bat’s life (Adobe Wells, Dodge City, New York) and nothing in between. Time to fill in the blanks. I know far less about Pat Garrett, and most of that's from movies. Yikes.

I’m sure there are more recent biographies of each, and likely hailed for their superior scholarship. But I’ve found that when dealing with subjects this old, newer is not necessarily better. Many biographers and historians are either too trusting of their predecessors or too lazy to check facts for themselves, and some of the stuff that passes for fact is amazing. What may have been gentle supposition, whimsy, or mere rumor to the original writer can be passed down over the years until it’s carved in stone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richard O' Conner also wrote a biography of Wild Bill Hickok.