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November 26 , 2007

Confessions of a Missouri Guerrilla: The Autobiography of Cole Younger


This is an intelligent, articulate, Cole Youngernot the blood-thirsty desperado of myth. Now he tells HIS side of the story. The Kansas-Missouri border was a bitter place in the 1850s, and no one knew that more than the Younger family.Southern sympathizers, the Younger brothers saw their father murdered, their mother burned out of her home, their cousins imprisoned, and their property pillaged.This led Cole Younger to join Quantrells Raiders and later to become a lieutenant in the Confederate army; where he acquired a reputation for bravery to the point of recklessness. After Appomattox Younger was prepared to settle down, but the war was not prepared to let him. In Missouri the brutally unfair Drake Constitution gave amnesty to Union soldiers for deeds done during the war, but held Confederates account-able.No former confederate soldier or sympathizer could practice any profession, hold any office, or even vote. In effect, Cole Younger was forced to become a criminalliterally as a continuation of the war he wanted so desperately to quit. At that point the legend began.On the eve of sixty, I came out into the world to find a hundred or more books, of greater or lesser pretensions, purporting to be a history of The Lives of the Younger Brothers. I venture to say that in the whole lot there could not be found six pages of truth. This then is HIS side of the story.
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