Tag Archives: Women in History

WILDCAT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West's Most Notorious Woman Bandit Joh Boessenecker
Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit John Boessenecker
TitleWildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild
West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit 
AuthorJohn Boessenecker
PublisherHanover Square Press (November 2, 2021)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages385
GenreHistory of Southwestern United States, Criminal
& Memoirs of Criminals
LanguageEnglish
ASIN # B08QZHQZZT

AUTHOR

Author John Boessenecker

True West magazine, in 2011 and 2013, named Boessenecker Best Nonfiction Writer. He received a prestigious Spur award from Western Writers of America and Best Book award from Westerners International. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media.

SYNOPSIS

John Boessenecker breathed new life into an old case; the case of Lillie N. Davy known by the noms de guerre of Pearl Hart. Drawing upon his research skills, he’s removed the fallacies, the myths, the lies and revealed in extraordinary detail the life and times of Pearl Hart. She was one of the most notorious late 19th Century female criminals of the old West. Pearl was a cross-dressing female with a flare for making herself incognito when the need arose. Her endless dalliances with numerous men doesn’t mark her as unique however, her need to control situations was unique for a woman of that time. At a period in history where women were meant to be housebound homemakers; meek, submissive, barefoot and pregnant; Pearl railed against the expected norms and challenged the mores of the time. 

What John Boessenecker has presented in Wildcat is the unoccluded view of a female recidivist from child to adulthood. His research is as exceptional as it is detailed and he comingles them into a completely engrossing narrative. Boessenecker artfully recounts Pearl’s story from her parents brief courtship to her birth and on. He details ad infinitum her early years as the daughter of an indigent, semi-literate, workshy child molester and petty criminal in Canada. We follow her itinerant lifestyle across  many years and locations culminating with the pinnacle of her criminal enterprise; a coach robbery. 

Throughout the book we discover Pearl’s life of bitter poverty, abuse, and abysmal parenting culminating in a damaged woman bereft of morals, dignity or honesty. Like many women in those historic days, she was often forced to make difficult decisions just to survive. After viewing her circumstances in the round one cannot help but be sympathetic.

Boessenecker reveals the uncompromising world that Pearl lived in and the uncompromising woman that it birthed. From his detailed accounts, she owned the ‘Wildcat’ nickname. She lived life her own way, loved risk taking and took the punishment where she found it. She was intelligent and ‘street smart,’ a potent combination for an erstwhile career criminal.

Living in a time where women rarely left the home once they were betrothed and were kept in check by societal and socio-cultural norms, Pear turned the world on its head to live her own way. She seamlessly integrates into the criminal underclass not as a woman, but as a boy and later a man. She would alter her outer appearance by cutting her hair and affecting a manly stride. She was often found in the company of the criminal class sharing or gleaning useful information for future criminal activities. Peal, we discover, took things to a whole new level when she began utilizing firearms. Weapons that no doubt added to her sense of safety and security, especially due to the company she would often keep. 

She is such an outrageous character, that it is amazing that her story has been lost in time until now. It seems strange that she is forgotten but characters like Big Nose Kate still hold a semblance of allure for many Western History fans. If I were to compare the two, I would say that Pearl’s story has far more impact than the latter. 

The review of Wildcat would not be complete without mentioning Katy Davy, Pearl’s younger sister. An outrageous character every bit as unique as her older sibling. Katy Davy, who used the sobriquets of Millie Davy has an incredible nerve and was talented physically and mentally. Both sisters were, without-a-doubt, survivors; Katy even more so. At thirty-six-years-old, in the 1890’s, Katy became an ascensionist and a descensionist. She took a rest from being a fille de joie started parachuting from a balloon at a thousand feet. Following a near fatal accident she retired, but not for too long. The many tales of prison escapes, her years as a teenage madam and rescuing her husband from prison, Katy appears to have an unending skill in creative problem solving. They sisters even made it into Cosmopolitan magazine, the nations most popular women’s publication at that time. The sisters were walking contradictions for women of their time.

CONCLUSION

John Boessenecker’s writing style is compelling from the very beginning. His research is second to none, and his narrative is fascinating throughout.

The book is entertaining, inspiring, alarming and touching in equal measure. The main characters are mentally re-created. Boessenecker did an exceptional job in breathing life back into the long dead. He avoided tainting the account with his own opinions and simply reported the facts previously occluded by time, myth, disinformation and lies. Overall, John Boessenecker created a fair illustration of the characters, the time period and the environment in which they lived. He’s managed to inject new life in the antics and life of Pearl Hart and her sister. It is a superior read. Some of the material discussed will remain with you long after you have read it.

I highly recommend Wildcat to all adults and children over the age of sixteen. It is entertaining, heartbreaking, outrageous and so much more in-between. If you enjoy reading about true survivors of extreme circumstances, look no further because Wildcat is the story of two consummate survivors.

Wildcat will resonate with you if you are an avid reader of Western History of the United States, Criminal Biographies or Women in History. This it is a rip-roaring tale. You know that if Pearl were alive today, she would be down at Cancún during Spring Break doing whatever she wants whilst engaging in some nefarious activity. You are left with the feeling that she was mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that she was also probably huge fun. 

Why not give it a read yourself? Be prepared, it’s quite a ride; remember to hold on to your hat!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank John Boessenecker, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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According to Kate – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title According to Kate: The Legendary Life of Big Nose
Kate, Love of Doc Holliday
Author Chris Enss
Publisher TwoDot (October 1, 2019)
Format Kindle, Hardcover     
Page 184     
Language English     
ISBN # 1493037730 ISBN-13 #: (978-1493037735)       

Author’s Bio

Chris Enss is a prolific and professional writer with decades of experience and more than 40 titles on the subject of the historic West. She holds numerous awards as well as being a New York Times Best Seller. 

Who is the Target Audience?

History buffs and those with a penchant for Western History are likely to enjoy this presentation. In addition, those whose interests range from women’s history and biography may also find the book an enjoyable read.

Synopsis

The title revolves around the real-life adventures of Kate Elder the amour of the notorious Doc Holiday. The Wild West was an unforgiving environment for women, and it appears to have taken a rare toughness of mind and character combined with smarts to exist among the rough and tumble men. Enss shows the other, softer side of Kate Elder aka Big Nose Kate. Kate was gifted in many crafts. In writing this book Enss has given Big Nose Kate an epitaph she missed in the days of old. 

Enss work shines from her masterful and crafted prose and her obvious respect for her subject. The familiarity Enss has of the life and times of the Old West is clear. According to Kate is a pleasant and interesting read about a character that history almost forgot. A female that although long dead is brought to life again through the professional writing skill of Enss. I did feel at times that the pace of the book was a little too slow. 

Conclusion

The story written by Enss revolves around the female character of Big Nose Kate, aka Kate Elder, the sometimes wife of Doc Holiday. She lived in the tumultuous times of the 1800s in places such as Tombstone, Arizona, among many others. 

Overall, the book is worthy of your time.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley, and the Publisher, TwoDot for affording me the opportunity to review According to Kate: The Legendary Life of Big Nose Kate, Love of Doc Holliday.

SEDUCING AND KILLING NAZIS -REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Seducing and Killing Nazis by Sophie Poldermans
Seducing and Killing Nazis by Sophie Poldermans
TitleSeducing and Killing Nazis
AuthorSophie Poldermans
PublisherSWW Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2019)
FormatKindle, Paperback     
Page228     
LanguageEnglish     
ASIN #B07TMRTVBD     

Author’s Bio

Sophie Poldermans is a Dutch, Women’s rights activist and lecturer. She formerly worked at the National Hannie Shaft Foundation (NHSF). It was at the NHSF that she learned of the heroic actions of three Dutch young women and the tragic end of one of them. Poldermans seeks to lift the veil of time off this forgotten tale of daring-do and to remind us of all the sacrifices that many women made during the war.   

Who is the Target Audience?

Seducing and Killing Nazis is foremost a history book but it is also a memorial to Hannie Shaft, one victim of millions. The story is told by her friend Freddie Oversteegen, who is now 90 years old, and her sister Truus. This personal account of the events of World War II will satisfy; students of Military History or those studying the events in Europe during World War II, and those studying the Shoah. It may also be interesting to Feminists and other women. If you enjoy reading about strong characters, especially personal accounts of women in war situations, you could find this book inspirational on many levels.

Synopsis

Seducing and Killing Nazis is monograph by Sophie Poldermans. She introduces us to three ordinary girls who did extraordinary acts during tumultuous times. Of the three main characters, two are still alive; Freddie Oversteegen and her sister Truus Oversteegen. The third woman, Hannie Shaft sadly lost her battle in 1945. I could go further into the details of the in-depth biographical account of the surviving sisters and the historically available information researched by Poldermans; but to experience the life of these women and girls during the horrors of that era, you really need to read this book for yourself. Fortunately, this book is available in many formats and stores. If you enjoy well researched, concisely written, biography of the horrors of war from the female perspective then this is the book you may enjoy.

Conclusion

Sophie Poldermans has provided a valuable account of the dire experiences of three young females. Their lives, and for Hannie her death, forever changed by their experiences and activities. They may have begun as ordinary students but they ended up being remarkable women. Their stories are inspirational and their bravery is undeniable. These three teenagers set a high standard for the rest of us to follow. I could not help but be inspired and motivated by the life they describe. It is a perfect memorial to the life and times of Hannie Shaft, the forgotten heroine of World War II.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: NetGalley and the Publisher SWW Press for affording me the opportunity to review of Seducing and Killing Nazis.

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