Review: Highwaymen and Outlaws by Michael Billett

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Relive the violent world of the outlaw, where western legends Billy the Kid and Jesse James rode, England’s Dick Turpin murdered, and Australia’s Ned Kelly robbed. Hear tales of highwaymen who stole from the rich and gave to the poor; cavaliers who killed lawmen, but spared women; and Mexico’s guerrilla bands who financed their revolutionary ways through crime.

I read this book to go along with Shadow on the Highway (which ended up having far less highway robbery in it than advertised). While this book was nicely laid out with pictures, it seemed like the author was trying to cover far more material in a short span than he was able. Because of that, many of the topics were only briefly and superficially touched on. And to be fair, the author was trying to cover a lot: outlaws in three different continents, outlaws from many different centuries, punishment of outlaws, and police enforcement. The book also seemed laid out rather strangely at the beginning, where topics were hopped back and forth from in a rather confusing manner. That being said this might make a nice superficial reference book on the topic of highwaymen, but I doubt it will really hold my high school students’ attention and was a bit disappointing on a topic that seems like it should have been very easy to make very exciting.

3 out of 5

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