BOOK REVIEWTracy CallisENTERTAINMENT IN THE OLD WEST Theater, Music, Circuses, Medicine Shows, Prizefighting and Other Popular Amusements By Jeremy Agnew
Everyone has heard cowboy stories and seen western movies. Television has even had its grand episodes - Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, Cheyenne, etc. Most of us formed our concepts of the early years in the wild west from these productions. In his new book, Jeremy Agnew has set the record straight in his educational and interesting book about the "Old West."
The book talks about the goings-on from around 1850 until circa 1920 - such things as the size of stages where actors performed, the behavior of audiences during a presentation (and actors too),accomodations for traveling entertainers, etc. Remember now, there were no motion pictures, television or radio in those days.
A number of pages reference such famous performers as Buffalo Bill, "Wild" Bill Hickok, Jack Langrishe, "Taxas Jack" Omohundro, Jenny Lind, Sarah Bernhardt, P.T. Barnum and many others
Theaters and opera houses receive very much description. Quite a few pages are dedicated to telling about women, waiter girls, prostitution, minstrel shows, medicine shows, cross-dressing, circuses, dog fighting, animal fighting such as bears versus bulls, and drinking as well as temperance.
Although there is not a lot written about boxing, the discussions of the times and conditions put the fight game of the "Old West" in perspective. Many of the places where fisticuffs were held are described and a number of informative photo images are included.
Speaking as a fan of western stories and adventures, I liked this book very much and learned quite a bit from it. I think anyone who reads it will come away with an appreciation for the work Mr. Agnew has done.
This book includes nice photo images, notes for each chapter, a bibliography and an index. Anyone, boxing historian or otherwise, who follows the sport, will profit from reading this book.
Jeremy Agnew is a consultant in the field of biomedical electronics. He has written numerous books on the Old West.
To order this book, visit the websites amazon and McFarland
The McFarland Order Line is 800-253-2187
241 pages, softcover (6 x 9) 2011
41 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Print ISBN : 978-0-7864-6280-3
EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-8645-8
ENTERTAINMENT IN THE OLD WEST
Review courtesy of Tracy Callis, Historian, International Boxing Research Organization
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