Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

They rode together, dependent on each other's skills with a gun to survive.  The men came from everywhere, forged into a group in the maelstrom that was the Civil War and especially the atrocities of Sherman's March in Georgia.  Powerful men who were willing to do anything to gain an objective; their skills were desirable in the final days of the war and the things they did forged them into a group that would stay together for years.

After the war, when things returned to normal, those actions were condemned as were the men.  But there are always men who need others to do their dirty work and the group never lacked for work.  They were led by Augustus Winter, a man with yellow eyes and hair so white it looked like snow.  There was nothing he feared and nothing he would not do, and men everywhere feared his name.

The men worked against the Klan and those who would derail the Reconstruction.  They were lured to Chicago to help in the elections by those who wanted to win the city and promised pardons to those who were willing to help.  As those promises were broken, the group kept moving westward to open plains and room to roam and became out and out criminals, robbing banks and trains.

Clifford Jackman has written a brutal, honest book about the men who do the deeds not spoken of or claimed in wars and settling land.  The men were loyal to each other, but unemotional about the life or death of any one man.  Jackman explores what it means to be such a man and what drives the creation of someone willing to do horrific acts.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction and those interested in the West and its settlement.

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