I really fell in love with Bill O’Reilly‘s Legends and Lies book series when I first discovered them with The Patriots. Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Real West is almost as good. It is actually written by O’Reilly and David Fisher – I suspect that Bill is just selling his name and writing the introductions and that Fisher actually wrote the thing.

Rather than a look at some of the little known stories of the American Revolution like in Patriots, this one takes on the heroes and outlaws of the Old West.  Narrated by Tom Wopat (Dukes of Hazzard) this one dives into the back story of greats like Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickock, Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Butch and Sundance… if there is a famous historical icon of the Old West, it is in the book. From Custer‘s Last Stand to Annie Oakley, it is all here… and likely with information you haven’t heard before.

If I have a knock against the book it is that for history buffs, there will be a lot of repeat information and a few inaccuracies. Even so, there are some tidbits that were new for me. I loved the Bass Reeves information… whether or not his theory about him is true.

This is a lot of fun and will likely inspire you to take a look at some of the early cinema treatments of those quintessential American stories.

by Chris Doelle

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