A Gentlemen?s Guide to Style and Self-Defense in the Old American West (Traditional American History Series) (Volume 14)

A Gentlemen?s Guide to Style and Self-Defense in the Old American West (Traditional American History Series) (Volume 14) by James M. Volo PhD 1533444692 9781533444691
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The Old West has had a powerful impact on the concept of gentlemanly masculinity among Americans. To behave like a gentleman may mean little or much. To spend large sums of money like a gentleman may be of no great praise, but to conduct ones self like a gentleman implies a high standard even for those without financial means. For almost two centuries, the frontiersman has been a standard of rugged individualism and stoic bravery for the American male. Provider, protector, counselor, and knight errant to the weak or helpless, men on the frontier stood apart. Newspapers, Dime Novels, and Wild West Shows helped to form the popular view of Old West masculinity in the later 19th century. Novels and short stories served this purpose in the first half of the 20th century, but it was films and TV that cemented the image of the Old west that most post WWII Baby Boomers have today. The study of film and other media representations has been a particularly energetic field for masculinity research. However, western films are not so much about the West as they are about the Westerner. He stands alone, heroic, powerful, and seeking justice and order. The Westerner is the "last gentleman" and Westerns are "probably the last art form in which the concept of honor retains its strength." Directors and screenwriters, ultimately having overcome the simplistic shoot-em-up, used the genre to explore the pressing subjects of their day like racism, nationalism, capitalism, family, and honor, issues more deeply meshed with the concept of manliness than simply wearing a gun belt and Stetson hat. Fear not, Old West purists! For those traditionalists among you, these pages are filled with authentic designs, facts, weapons, and tales from the mid 1800s to the turn of the century and slightly beyond. Here are some of the roots of the most popular holsters, fashions, weapons, cartridges, and myths preferred by collectors and reenactors. So-called Cowboy Action enthusiasts, NRA members, and armchair generals will find sections of this work devoted to their hobbies, and while stodgy academics might cringe, Old West historians will have their obsessions somewhat mollified. Nonetheless, the current author grew up in the days of Shootem-up Saturdays at the movies, prime time TV Westerns, and those wondrous sights and sounds of Cowboy gunfights with cap guns on a hillside and Indian encounters on the pavement during a childhood when neither activity was considered politically incorrect. Few other authors in this genre have a resume that includes formal training in science, weapons, and horsemanship; nor have they actually been a horse wrangler, ridden in a troop of cavalry, and reenacted a mounted charge with dozens of others, Hollywood cameras running, revolvers or swords in hand. Nonetheless, there comes a time when we are all "too old and too fat to jump rail fences with horses" (True Grit) and must retire to our easy chairs to write. What follows is a serious (if a bit nostalgic) effort at history by a critically noted author and widely published historian with the proper credentials and practical experience to attempt to carry it off. Cling to your Bibles and to your guns, partner! Dudes need not apply.

Author: James M. Volo PhD

Language: English

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 120

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2016-05-24


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