and the Treasures They Left Behind
Written by W. C. Jameson
August House 3/7/2020
252 Pages Age 9—12
Genre: Middle Grade Book, Fiction
Themes: Outlaws, Old West, Buried Treasures
By combining the allure from the Wild West with the mystery of lost treasure, renowned treasure hunter, W.C. Jameson has created a blockbuster collection of over two-dozen outlaw tales. These intriguing stories feature an eccentric cast of misfits, bandits, and adventurers like the infamous Frank and Jesse James, treacherous Dalton Gang, notorious Doolin Gang, glamorous Belle Starr, Apache warrior Chief Victorio, along with the pirate Jean Lafitte.
If you love a good yarn, enjoy compelling stories from the Old West, or ever wonder what it would be like to search for outlaw treasure, then this book is for you. W. C. Jameson fans will not be disappointed by his latest collection of outlaw tales. (from publisher)
“One of the most successful outlaw bands in the history of the United States was the Dalton Gang. It was comprised of brothers Bob, Grat, and Emmett, along with an oft-changing cast of two to three additional members.” [from “The Buried Treasure of the Dalton Gang,” (chp. 1)]
Why I like America’s Outlaws and the Treasures They Left Behind
Jameson’s American Outlaws include famous, well-known criminals like Frank and Jesse James, the Dalton Gang, and Belle Starr. Others include a Mexican Bandit, a pirate, and three lawmen turned outlaws (okay, that was also the Dalton brothers, who could not get the pay owed them on payday, so they took to robbing banks.). Many of these thirty outlaws who will be unknown to most middle-grade readers.
Jameson’s tales, all based on available facts, tell about each outlaw, maybe why they became outlaws, their favorite job, and the treasure they buried (none of which have ever been found). The tales read as fiction, but have a nonfiction flair to them. Kids who are interested in the Old West—or the Wild West—and outlaws of that era will find America’s Outlaws extremely interesting.
Honestly, I am not a big fan of the subject, yet the tales drew me in. Once a tale was started, I had to know how it ended. I think kids from age 9 to 12 will find the same force working on them as they read these long-lost tales.
Jameson’s writing is compelling, interesting, and informative. He will have readers wondering if they could find any of the 30 lost treasures included this book. It all must be somewhere in the US’s western states, right? Even the Mexican bandit, Tiburcio Vasquez, buried his considerable treasure in the Vasquez Hills near Paramint, California. The Mexican outlaw considered himself a Mexican-American and an “ardent defender of Mexican-American rights.” To this day, Vasquez is a hero to some ethnic people.
Teachers will find a lot to consider for the classroom. From traditional bandits and outlaws, the roles include Indians, pirates, families, and at least one female. This diversity offers much discussion points for the classroom (and at home, if students are homeschooling). Jameson is a renowned buried treasure authority, with a number of books on the subject. The thirty outlaws/gangs he includes in America’s Outlaws are:
Big Nose George Parrott
Black Jack Christian
Black Jack Ketchum
Clem Durkel Gang
Curly Bill Brocius
Mississippi Train Robbery
Outlaw Cy Skinner
Pirate Jean Lafitte
W. O. Wilson
“Favorite outlaw” may not be the best description, as I do not like or find any real outlaw interesting. I do like pirates and it so happens there is a pirate in America’s Outlaws. Pirate Jean Lafitte, questionably born in France—but possibly Spain, New York, or Haiti—in 1780. In the War of 1812, Lafitte got a “letter of marque” from the U.S. giving him authority to attack and capture British ships; the government then bought the ships from Lafitte. He was to also hand over any loot he captured, but being a pirate, Lafitte kept most loot to himself.
Lafitte then became a privateer for Columbia, under the same rules as he had with the US. Being a good pirate, he didn’t return ships or loot to Columbia. He instead sold these goods in New Orleans (where the people were quite pleased, though the governor was not).
With the war still raging, Lafitte now sided with England but then, a year later, again sided with the U. S. The pirates helped the US defend New Orleans on condition they were pardoned. In the end, the British were defeated and the Lafitte brothers and all their men got their pardoned. Lafitte changed sides as he needed; a true pirate of the seas around North America.
A list of the books used to write America’s Outlaws and the Treasures They Left Behind are included in a “Selected References” section. A few of Mr. Jameson’s books are included.
Beyond the book list is a one-paragraph “About the Author.” Mr. Jameson is an amazingly interesting fellow. He is a prolific writer, with over 100 books; the consultant for films (none listed); and an analyst and narrator for television.
Mr. Jameson is also a musician. His original songs fill out ten albums. He performs his original songs at music festivals, colleges, concert halls, roadhouses, and on television. Mr. Jameson has contributed to the soundtracks of seven movies and, when not writing, found himself the subject of two documentaries.
W.C. Jameson can be found in Llano, Texas, on the rare occasions this master-of-everything-creative is home.
Available at Amazon: America’s Outlaws and the Treasures They Left Behind
AMERICA’S OUTLAWS AND THE TREASURES THEY LEFT BEHIND. Copyright © 2020 by W.C. Jameson. Published by August House, Atlanta, GA.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[396 word count-review only]
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