The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (novel)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (1983) is a novel by American writer Ron Hansen.[1] It explored the life and times of Jesse James and his gang, and his death at the hands of Robert Ford.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
AuthorRon Hansen
SubjectJesse James
GenreWestern novel
PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date
1983
Pages304
ISBN9780394516479

Plot

The title is based on a folk song of the era. Based on deep research, the novel imagines the lives of Jesse James, his brother Frank and their followers, including their guerrilla activities during the American Civil War and their insurgency afterward as robbers. While they achieved a folk status, the novel reveals they kept all their money for themselves.

Reception

In a 1983 book review, Kirkus Reviews remarked the book contained "well-written, artful descriptions. . . yet also drawing away to show us the frame like an announcer's binding narration" and noted that "only occasionally can [Hansen] get tension into this documentary approach; and the zooms between close-up and voice-over soon become predictable and sapping. Thoughtful, artful reconstruction—yet largely uninvolving."[2]

The novel made the short list for the 1984 PEN/Faulkner Award.[3]

Adaptations

In 2007, the novel was adapted as a film of the same name.[4] The screenplay was written and the film directed by Andrew Dominik. It starred Brad Pitt as James and Casey Affleck as Ford.

References


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