Books: Second-Rate Badman

SAM BASS—Wayne Gard—Houghton Mifflin ($2.50).

Since the publication of Walter Burns's The Saga of Billy the Kid in 1926, romanticized accounts of the lives of Western desperadoes have become as commonplace in the U. S. literary scene as gangster films in the cinema. Last week the appearance of a routine volume dealing with a minor Texas badman not only revealed how thoroughly this particular field of Americana had been combed but suggested that a work of definite historical value might be produced if Western biographers would turn their eyes away from the gunsmoke...

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