The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Ron Hansen

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford One of the great classic tales of The Great American WestIT IS Jesse James at the age of is at the height of his fame and powers as a singularly successful outlaw Robert Ford is the skittish

  • Title: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Author: Ron Hansen
  • ISBN: 9780060976996
  • Page: 452
  • Format: Paperback
  • One of the great classic tales of The Great American WestIT IS 1881 Jesse James, at the age of 34, is at the height of his fame and powers as a singularly successful outlaw Robert Ford is the skittish younger brother of one of the James gang he has made himself an expert on the gang, but his particular interest his obsession is Jesse James himself Both drawn toOne of the great classic tales of The Great American WestIT IS 1881 Jesse James, at the age of 34, is at the height of his fame and powers as a singularly successful outlaw Robert Ford is the skittish younger brother of one of the James gang he has made himself an expert on the gang, but his particular interest his obsession is Jesse James himself Both drawn to him and frightened of him, the nineteen year old is uncertain whether he wants to serve James or destroy him or, somehow, become him.Never have these two men been portrayed and their saga explored with such poetry, such grim precision and such raw boned feeling as Ron Hansen has brought to this masterful retelling Wonderful This is great storytelling, not undermined by our knowin how it turns out The reader is driven by story and by language and by history the best blend of fiction and history I ve read in a long while John Irving, author of The World According to Garp

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      Posted by:Ron Hansen
      Published :2019-01-26T15:44:47+00:00

    One thought on “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    1. Lyn on said:

      Very entertaining. Well researched historic fiction (or fictionalized history?) and a stark portrait of nineteenth century America. This is also a fair study of the foundations of our western culture, focusing on hero worship, victimization and demonization and our propensity for violence.Hansen paints a portrait of James that is also an objective rendering of an American Everyman of this time.

    2. Melki on said:

      Jesse James was an arrogant son of a bitch!During a train robbery, he introduced himself to the engineer and the stoker as "Jesse James, the man they'd read so much about." He took a certain pride in his fame, and infamy.Jesse extricated himself from his heavy coat and laid it on the sofa with his hat. "Did I ever tell you about meeting Mark Twain?""No.""He was in this country store and I recognized him, of course, and went over to shake the man's hand and congratulate him on his good writing. I [...]

    3. Ashley Sandeman on said:

      I fell in love with this book on the first page, with the opening lines, “He was growing into middle age and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. Green weeds split the porch steps, a wasp nest clung to an attic gable, a rope swing looped down from a dying elm tree and the ground below it was scuffed soft as flour.”There begins a master class in description that continues until the novel’s end, and the environment becomes almost as large a character as the protagonist himself a [...]

    4. Willspeare on said:

      What makes this book is the language. Though I am no authority, it has effectively captivated the language we would expect from the time. Hansen is definitely a researcher and it shows, but on top of that, the story seems removed from the contemporary. It breathes forward to us from another time, even though it was probably composed on a computer. The language and tone, generating that removal from the contemporary, provide the elevated platform to be awed at, Jesse James is a realized mythologi [...]

    5. Estelle on said:

      This is a very good story but, somehow, I find myself liking the movie better than the book.There were some great moments, every single time Jesse James & Bob Ford would interract I would hold my breath. Their love / hate relationship was truly fascinating.That said, I struggled a bit with the writing style which I found a bit dull and dry. For me the excitment and the tension of the story was somewhat lost in all the details and the very uneven pace.

    6. Derek on said:

      I'm not particularly fond of the term "a writers' writer"--it seems far too dismissive and a little pretentious--but I'm not sure I can find a more fitting description for Ron Hansen, and for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in particular. I've remarked before that there's no one who manages verbs quite as swiftly and beautifully as Hansen does, a feat he repeats here in Jesse James, but I found myself more smitten with his metaphorical descriptions and always-enviable [...]

    7. Ty Melgren on said:

      When this book was made into a movie a few years ago, I heard an interview with Ron Hansen on NPR and I liked the way he talked about writing and fiction and nonfiction and people and characters and God. Then I forgot about him for a long time until I recently decided that I want to start reading westerns and I remembered the title of this book, even though it isn't really a western. At first it was a little bit annoying to me; it seemed like Ron spent too long writing each of his sentences, or [...]

    8. Joshua West on said:

      Ron Hansen entitled this remarkable book "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" not because he agrees that Robert Ford was coward, indeed, Bob Ford spends much of the last third of the book attempting to prove that he was not a coward, instead, Hansen seems to be drawing our attention to the fickle attitudes of a public that romanticized Jesse and demonized Bob. Yet Hansen's Jesse James, while one of the most compelling and well wrought characters ever committed to a novel, [...]

    9. Booknblues on said:

      The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Fordby Ron Hansen4 starspp. 304I'd anticipated reading Ron Hansen's book, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford for a while before I took the plunge. I'd expected it to captivate me as I really enjoy a good western, but somehow I found myself in a reading bog with this and couldn't force myself to read more than a few pages a day. Hansen can certainly captivate the feel of the west and his language is authentic as shown b [...]

    10. Ayu Palar on said:

      Usually, I prefer to watch the book and after that get in touch with the film. But this time, it's the other way around. I watched the film first, and then read the book. Obviously, having watched the film influenced the way I think and feel about the book, but I think I took the right move. It doesn't mean the book is bad, in fact the book is gripping and exciting in its own way. Yet, kudos to the actors, the film has made the experience of reading the book more pleasing. Everytime the name Bob [...]

    11. Patrick Gibson on said:

      There is a detachment in the writing style that is unengaged. Once you adjust to this punctuated attitude towards the characters, it is easier to absorb the stark beauty of the words. For example: “He was one to read auguries in the snarled intestines of chickens, or the blow of cat hair released to the wind, and years of bad luck that moated and dungeoned him.” Throw away details like the conditions of Jesse’s teeth or the smell of a sweating horse accumulate unconsciously to create a sta [...]

    12. Miss Poppy on said:

      Ron Hansen was the first living author of (semi)fiction I'd read in years. I'd seen the movie and LOVED it - my favorite of the year. It reminded me of "Thin Red Line" and I was not surprised to find that the director of Assassination, Andrew Dominik, had been involved with Malick.The movie is S L O W, so if you're looking for Bruce Willis type action, skip it. There's a voice over and that's what drove me to the book. I hoped that same poetry would be there and it was.Who uses the words 'moat' [...]

    13. Craig Wallwork on said:

      By far one of my best reads this year. Maybe even of all time. I had watched the movie adaptation and was always drawn to the narrator monologues and how poetic and well crafted they were. It was only until recently that I discovered they were lifted from a novel written by Ron Hansen. His command of the language at the time, his descriptions and beguiling way he offers up beautiful phrases is sublime. Part history, part fiction, this book serves as both a wonderful anatomy of James and Ford as [...]

    14. Eslam Mohammed on said:

      It's all about the tempo, the plot was skillfully set, alittle bit slow, the interactions, and the outcomes.erning the movie, cinematography was really great, the music, and as aspecial note Cassey Affleck performance

    15. Realini on said:

      The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, written and directed by Andrew Dominik, based on the novel by Ron Hansen8 out of 10A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:- youtube/playlist?list and realini/This is a remarkable film.With two Academy Awards nominations, including for Best Performance by an Actor in a supporting role, the movie was acclaimed.It has 25 prizes and a total of 65 nominations, with a nod from the Golden Globes, for the [...]

    16. Patrick on said:

      It is not often that I’ll buy a book after enjoying the movie adaptation, but this is something of a special case for me. I saw Andrew Dominik’s film on its release back in 2007 and have adored it ever since. It’s one of those rare movies which I found not only technically superb (a great story well performed, beautifully shot, with a lovely and haunting score) but also deeply affecting on a personal level. I wrote about it here, a long time ago.After seeing it, I was vaguely aware that it [...]

    17. Roger Dier on said:

      The story begins with Frank and Jesse James, whose relationship was strained to antagonistic, gathering a bunch of local rubes for one last heist. The story ends with the death of Robert Ford nearly a dozen years later. In between Hansen weaves a fascinating tale of intrigue and violence surrounding many of those who robbed the Chicago & Alton Railroad on Sept. 7, 1881, five years to the day after the James and Younger gang got shot up trying to rob a bank in Northfield, Minn. Written by Ron [...]

    18. Mick on said:

      Look, I don't know how much of the "novel" THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD is true; I don't know how much of the dialogue and interaction and actions of the characters actually took place, or were embellished by a very gifted Ron Hansen. But does it matter? The account of the final days of infamous outlaw Jesse James (and the subsequent final days of his killer) is "historical fiction", in any case (the definitive oxymoron, if you ask me). What does matter is this tigh [...]

    19. Mindy Jones on said:

      I saw the film adaptation of this book several times before reading the book. I love how it tells the story and how it was shot. The photography and music were spot on and the acting was nice too.After reading the book, it feels like the movie was made to be a sort of companion to the book rather than an adaptation. The two lean on each other and thrive as one piece. They act as a sort of collaborative diptych.While the book has beautiful meandering descriptions of people and events, the film fo [...]

    20. Pete on said:

      i actually really enjoyed this book, but it slows down after the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford. two things kept me going: the tone of dreamy matter-of-factness that hansen hits, and the simple fact that i really needed to know what happened to robert ford in the end (it's not a huge surprise, but there is some narrative tension sustained). this could have been probably 25% shorter (i think i've said that about like the past 10 books i've read, maybe it's me). was partic [...]

    21. Bart on said:

      This book is a real pleasure. Its writing is meticulous and understated.As the novel opens, Ron Hansen shows great care with his description of Jesse James. Most novels show great care with the opening depictions of their protagonists, though, so as always a reader is advised to say, "Let's wait and see." But as the novel progresses, Hansen's descriptions never lose their detail and never resort to irrelevant imagery.That is this novel's best surprise. Hansen knows what deserves his ample descri [...]

    22. James on said:

      I read this book not long after it came out. I remember liking it a great deal.I've just re-read it, and I have to say, this is easily one of the best novels I have ever read. The formality of the language, the diction, the sheer brass confidence of the writer, line by line--this work gripped me like nothing else has in a very long time.I wonder how I managed to just like it the first time. Maybe I had different expectations. Certainly, I am not the same person now I was a couple of decades ago. [...]

    23. The Book Gobbler on said:

      Don’t be fooled by the title. This isn’t just a fictional retelling of a murder, of one of the most infamous celebrity assassinations in United States history. This is the story of two lives that once-upon-a-time intersected, and were forever changed, each by the other, for better or worse. Jesse James: train robber, thief, husband, father, ex-bushwhacker and hero to many, at the long and lonely end of his ‘night riding’ ways. Bob Ford: young, impressionable, and desperate to be like his [...]

    24. MargaretDH on said:

      When I was writing my MA history thesis, my advisor said to me, "Narrative is the hardest thing to write."What he meant was that a long string of narrative, devoid of historical argument is difficult because the simple recounting of facts gets really boring after a while.The story of Jesse James and Robert Ford is far from boring, but the style of this book reads like the narrative portions of a history or narrative non-fiction book. Only a very few times are we allowed access to the thoughts of [...]

    25. Erik on said:

      As a rule, movie adaptations are never as good as books, right? Well, this may be the exception that proves the rule, as throughout the novel my mind kept wandering off, wondering if the Brad Pitt/Casey Affleck film was available on Netflix or if I could possibly find the Blu-Ray in the Walmart discount bin.That being said, I did enjoy the novel. I especially liked that the actual assassination took place somewhere around the mid-point, which was followed by a lengthy telling of future lives of [...]

    26. Steve on said:

      This book was a mental joy to read. A book lover's dream, it is the perfect mix of true life history and plot driven fiction. the characters are illustrated with detail that doesn't miss the smallest inch. It is also a grim biography of two complicated men, bob ford and jesse james. the writing is thick with descriptions and stories and rich vocabulary. the story moves along with equal parts action, drama, and gallows humor. i haven't seen the movie yet, so i'm not sure how it compares.

    27. Kemper on said:

      Thoughtful account of Jesse James and his killer, Robert Ford. The author does a nice job of summarizing the history of the James gang and Ford's introduction to Jesse as well using historical clues to track how Ford went from worshipping Jesse to killing him to spending the rest of his life trying to justify what he'd done. Fans of westerns and historical figures like James should enjoy.

    28. Jennifer on said:

      This is an instance where I really liked the book and the movie. There are no surprises, you know the way it turns out, but still a great deal of suspense comes through. It has an atmospheric, melancholy quality that appeals to me.

    29. Shannon on said:

      I'll admit it: I got the book because the movie is one of my top 5 films of all time. So I read the book because I liked the movie. I'm one of THOSE people. My other admissionI liked the movie better than the book. (Cringe.) It doesn't happen often. But if it's in my top 5 films of all time, heck, I like that movie better than MOST books, right?What made me want to pick up the book is the gorgeous narration in the film, lifted directly from Hansen's prose. Oh my goodness. He's like James Still: [...]

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