...a magnificent book, written with verve and care. Across 500 pages, Faragher keeps a firm hand on the tiller, even while he lets the drama and depraved pathos of his stories unspool into deadly chaos ... The other strand of justice Faragher follows is institutional justice, the maturation of the Los Angeles frontier into adoption of, and respect for, systems of jurisprudence and punishment. This thread in Eternity Street is even more important than story after story of people beating and killing one another.
John Mack Faragher is one of the great living American historians, and his area of expertise is the American frontier. His 1992 biography, Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, is a modern classic, and Eternity Street is destined to become one.
Unlike so many chronicles of violence, it gets to the right question: Why do people get murdered — certain people, that is, at certain times, in certain ways? ... Faragher should be praised most for advancing the framework for the study of violence generally — not just rough justice in the American frontier or the racial spectacle lynchings of the South but extralegal violence in societies around the world.