“The mass of men know that their hearts are a riot of lusts and base desires, but they fear the risks of acceding to those wants. They desire to do violence to their enemies but they are too fearful of provoking violence unto themselves. They fear consequences, you see, and such fear is the rankest sort of cowardice. They cannot beat this truth and so they cleave to the lie of morality, that sum of shams, to defend themselves against it, and thus do they lay a second kind of cowardice atop the fist. They warrant no pity.” — Wildwood Boys, JCB
Few people realize just how ugly the American civil war got. Even less know the history of the Kansas Missouri guerrilla war that raged in all its depravity from years before until years after the war of “brother vs brother”.
Plundering, Pillaging, burning, looting, lynching, none of it overlooked in a particularly dark chapter in U.S. history. James Carlos Blake’s Wildwood Boys captures that grotesquely cruel period of our past. An era that spawned men like Frank and Jesse James from our nation’s heartland, and maybe even just a little bit of that mean streak that we still carry around with us as a nation as well.