And Not to Yield: A Novel of the Life and Times of Wild Bill Hickok

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9780312869250: And Not to Yield: A Novel of the Life and Times of Wild Bill Hickok

Born James Butler Hickok, Wild Bill Hickok made his reputation as a gunslinger extraordinaire, and his legend has titillated journalists, novelists, and historians ever since. Here is the story---crafted by a master novelist---of this complex hero whose exploits have become part of the lore of the American frontier.

Nurtured by devout, staunchly Abolitionist parents, young Hickok quickly leaves their hardscrabble farm to homestead in Kansas. A true romantic and a Renaissance man, nourished by Greek and Arthurian legends, he effortlessly succeeds as a rancher, gambler, Union soldier, Indian fighter, lawman, baseball umpire, merchant, actor, marksman nonpareil---and lusty lover of whores, debutantes, and Libbie Custer.

But Hickok's many talents could not bring him peace. Guided and plagued by phantoms from his past, blessed and cursed with supernatural gifts, Hickok, like his hero Ulysses, must fulfill his destiny through his travels. From bleak upstate New York to the rugged Badlands, from New York City's Broadway to the Rockies, from the Mississippi riverboats to the Great Salt Flats, here is the compelling Odyssey of an American icon, told in Randy Lee Eickhoff's unforgettable voice.

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About the Author:

Randy Lee Eickhoff holds several graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in Classics. He lives in El Paso, Texas where he works on translations in several languages, poetry, plays, and novels of which two have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His translation of Ireland's national epic is now a text in not only schools in the United States, but countries overseas as well. His nonfiction work on the Tigua Indians, Exiled, won the Southwest History Award. He has been inducted into the Paso Del Norte Writers Hall of Fame, the local chapter of the Texas Institute of Arts and Letters. He spends his time in El Paso, Ireland, and Italy, lecturing on Dante and The Ulster Cycle.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1
 
"ONCE UPON a time a long, long time ago, a good knight loped gently over the plain on his faithful horse, and this good knight felt badly in his heart because he had a terrible deed to face...."
Papa told me that story. I was five. He told me many stories. His face always smiled. His face was always tired.
The knight came over the green fields. He went into a forest. Everything was dark and scary. He was looking for the Green Knight. The Green Knight had let him chop off his head. It rolled on the floor of King Arthur's castle like a bright green and hairy ball. But the Green Knight picked up his head. He got on his green horse.
"'I'll be waiting for you to come to me in a year and a day for your return blow,' the Green Knight said, and he galloped away. Now Sir Gawain, for that was the good knight's name, had to let the Green Knight chop his head off...."
* * *
Here is the house. It is white and red. Papa says red is more dura...dura...lasts longer.
The trees in the grove are green and brown.
The road is dusty. When the buggies and wagons go by, the dust hangs in the air. I cough.
Papa and Mama and me and Oliver and Lorenzo and Horace live there. There was another Lorenzo. He died. Papa said that the name hadn't been used up. That's why Lorenzo is Lorenzo.
* * *
Rock of ages, cleft for me;
Let me hide, myself in thee.
* * *
He sang me to sleep with that song.
"Sleep time, little Jim," he said. "Close your eyes. Nod your little head."
And I pretended to close my eyes.
Then I came awake.
Mama made biscuits for breakfast. I poured syrup on them. The syrup came from Papa's store on the first floor of the Green Mountain House. I used to watch the men play dominoes. They sat by the stove in the winter and they played dominoes.
I liked the store.
Then Papa got sick and lost it.
We went on a trip and Papa got a farm in a bunch of trees and Lorenzo teased me and hid among them and I couldn't find him and then Celinda was born and Lydia was born and
* * *
Lor, Lor, my pretty little Pink,
Lor, Lor I say,
* * *
We had a hidden cellar where Negroes used to hide when the bad men came looking for them. It was filled with hay so they could sleep on it.
"Your Uncle Aaron was at Bunker Hill when the British attacked. And there they stood, brave men holding their fire until Israel Putnam shouted out, 'Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!' And Aaron held his fire, kneeling there as the Redcoats marched up the hill..."
* * *
Old Dan Tucker was a fine ol' man,
Washed his face in a frying pan,
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
Died with a toothache in his heel.
 
Copyright © 2004 by Randy Lee Eickhoff

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