PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewSmoothly tackling this near-herculean research task, [Minutaglio] keeps the sweat stains from showing and writes in prose as cool as a trout stream ... Back at the Statehouse in Austin, Minutaglio debunks a succession of the deplorables who clearly deserve it ... Minutaglio also profiles interesting, if lesser-known, political actors, especially among the Latino community ... The book might have been better had it ended in the 1970s, before Minutaglio interjects himself more directly into the narrative. Still, he is strong on the parabolic career of Gov. Ann Richards and on the roles that Lee Atwater and Karl Rove played in the miraculous makeovers of the two George Bushes before their runs for the White House. When Minutaglio visits various cemeteries around the state to examine the gravestones of Texas luminaries, he writes movingly of the nearby \'hanging\' trees where not many years before, horrific tortures and lynchings drew large crowds.
Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... requires a tolerance for some lowbrow jocularity, especially in the opening chapters...But the narrative soon hits its stride, and the story becomes a lively and absorbing one ... Much of the fun of the book derives from how deftly it strips that varnish off and demolishes the prevailing (white) racist shibboleths.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewA quirky subgenre of narrative history has emerged in recent years that explores the lives of iconic heroes of Hollywood westerns. A good example is Charles Leerhsen’s worthy biography ... The new genre has its limitations, and Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw can’t escape them ... Leerhsen...amply demonstrates that cowboys are in his corral. He has taken the trouble to read the literature and track down the living descendants of the Wild Bunch in order to get the slippery details as straight as he can ... Yet even an investigator as diligent as Leerhsen can’t get close enough to the outlaw or lay his hands on enough original material to bring Cassidy, \'a kind of backwater Anthony Bourdain,\' to life. And that is too bad because Leerhsen does a fine job of recounting the events surrounding the heists—like the gang’s use of fresh horses spread out along their escape routes so that they could outgallop whatever lawmen were trailing along in dogged pursuit, thus stealing a trick from the old Pony Express.
MixedThe New York Times Book Review\"Clavin’s chief objective in retelling this story is to entertain us. An equally meritorious goal is to peel away the myth and folklore to reveal the historical truth beneath, a real challenge given that most of the record consists of sensationalized press reports and fictitious dime novel versions of the events ... Clavin, who is a wily veteran of the writing trade, tacks up the truth like wanted posters in every chapter, while simultaneously savoring a few of the more fanciful falsehoods along the way, a neat trick in which he displays some ambidexterity of his own ... Not all of the scenery here is interesting, not all of the events are credible and we may even suffer a few mental saddle sores from blunt transitions and dull Wikipedia-like prose, but for the most part this is a pleasant enough trail ride of a book. Just don’t expect this quarter horse to prance like a Tennessee Walker ... The story ends predictably (even Wild Bill predicts it)...\