He had arrived in America in 1887, but we first met him in 1906 when it seemed he may be approaching the end of his story, for he has been arrested from blowing up the ex-governor of Idaho, a murder which lead to one of the most celebrated trials of the period. The men questioning him wan t him to implicate Big Bill Haywood, leader of the IWW and the Western Federation of Miners. Wanting to save himself, he tells the detectives stories they want to hear. He also tells stories he wants us to hear. They are not always the same, but they are all true stories of the American West. His subsequent experiences, as he flees further west, pursued by Pinkerton detectives, provide a story of violence and class conflict found neither in the Wild West Show, nor in the dime novels. He finds himself increasingly entangled in an American West which is dangerously too real, and a fate which has led him to a cold prison cell and the threat of the gallows.
Bill gives an overview of the book:
I was born December 16, 1942 at the French Hospital in Manhattan. On December 27th I moved to the Bronx where I was circumcised by Rabbi T.M. Belkin. Five years later I joined the post-war Borscht Bowl Exodus to the Promised Land in California, driving across the country with...