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New Books and Maps » Women of the West

Belle Starr and Her Times

By: Shirley,Glenn
Price: $19.95

University of Oklahoma Press,1982.
"Books, articles, poems, songs, and movies have described her as a ’bandit queen’ or as a ’female Jesse James.’ She was neither. In Belle Starr and Her Times, a book that is likely to become the standard reference on this subject, noted western writer Glenn Shirley examines the extensive popular literature surrounding Belle Starr and compares it to the historical record. Shirley does a good job of sorting out the numerous disagreements between the two. Belle Starr emerges from Shirley’s detailed analysis as a tough, independent woman who lived in an unsettled and difficult time. She associated with western outlaws, and was herself convicted once of horse theft." Choice.

"Belle is revealed to have been a complex woman. She tended sick neighbors, shared favorite recipes with other women, sought gentility for herself and daughter Pearl, and wandered off happily with books and a pillow for a day of reading. But she was a convicted horse theif whose home for years served as a hideout for fugitives such as Jesse James....’It seems as if I have more trouble than any person,’ lamented Belle in an 1876 letter (p. 130). Most of the trouble she brought on herself, which renders her all the more fascinating to twentieth-century readers." Southwestern Historical Quarterly.
Paperback,324 pages.