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It all started when Jeff Guinn was assigned to write a piece full of little-known facts about Christmas for his paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A few months later, he received a call from a gentleman who told him that he showed the story to an important friend who didn't think much of it. And who might that be? asked Jeff. The next thing he knew, he was whisked off to the North Pole to meet with this "very important friend," and the rest is, well, as they say, history. An enchanting holiday treasure, The Autobiography of Santa Claus combines solid historical fact with legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus. And who better to lead us through seventeen centuries of Christmas magic than good ol' Saint Nick himself? Families will delight in each chapter of this new Christmas classic--one per each cold December night leading up to Christmas! .
New York Times-bestselling author of The Last Gunfight, Jeff Guinn turns his eye for evocative detail and history to a sweeping novel of the Old West, weaving a compelling tale of life in the Arizona Territory in 1872. We've all got mistakes in our past we'd rather forget. Cash McLendon has always had an instinct for self-preservation, one that was honed by an impoverished childhood and life with an alcoholic father barely scraping by on the streets of Saint Louis in 1872. He's always had a knack for finding and capitalizing on the slightest opportunities, choosing the path of financial security over happiness or real friends. He eventually builds himself up from a Saint Louis street urchin to the son-in-law and heir apparent to industrial mogul Rupert Douglass. Though it lacks passion, his life seems securely set: a wife, a career, property, standing. But when tragedy strikes, all of his plans and his entire future dissolve in an instant. McLendon's instinct for survival kicks in; he flees Saint Louis, and Douglas assigns his enforcer, an ominous skull-cracker with steel-toed boots, to track him down. With nothing to lose, McLendon attempts to reconcile with an old flame--a woman he was nearly engaged to but put aside in exchange for the life now in shambles. He heard through the grapevine that she and her father moved their dry-goods store out west, to a speck-on-the-map mining town named Glorious, in the Arizona Territory. There, McLendon tries to win her back, and in the process discovers a new way of life at the edge of the final American frontier. But he can't outrun his past forever. . . .
Forget everything you think you know about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Previous books and films, including the brilliant 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, have emphasized the supposed glamour of America's most notorious criminal couple, thus contributing to ongoing mythology. The real story is completely different -- and far more fascinating. <P> In Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, bestselling author Jeff Guinn combines exhaustive research with surprising, newly discovered material to tell the real tale of two kids from a filthy Dallas slum who fell in love and then willingly traded their lives for a brief interlude of excitement and, more important, fame. Their timing could not have been better -- the Barrow Gang pulled its first heist in 1932 when most Americans, reeling from the Great Depression, were desperate for escapist entertainment. Thanks to newsreels, true crime magazines, and new-fangled wire services that transmitted scandalous photos of Bonnie smoking a cigar to every newspaper in the nation, the Barrow Gang members almost instantly became household names on a par with Charles Lindbergh, Jack Dempsey, and Babe Ruth. In the minds of the public, they were cool, calculating bandits who robbed banks and killed cops with equal impunity. <P> Nothing could have been further from the truth. Clyde and Bonnie were perhaps the most inept crooks ever, and their two-year crime spree was as much a reign of error as it was of terror. Lacking the sophistication to plot robberies of big-city banks, the Barrow Gang preyed mostly on small mom-and-pop groceries and service stations. Even at that, they often came up empty-handed and were reduced to breaking into gum machines for meal money. Both were crippled, Clyde from cutting off two of his toes while in prison and Bonnie from a terrible car crash caused by Clyde's reckless driving. Constantly on the run from the law, they lived like animals, camping out in their latest stolen car, bathing in creeks, and dining on cans of cold beans and Vienna sausages. Yet theirs was a genuine love story. Their devotion to each other was as real as their overblown reputation as criminal masterminds was not.<P> Go Down Together has it all -- true romance, rebellion against authority, bullets flying, cars crashing, and, in the end, a dramatic death at the hands of a celebrity lawman hired to hunt them down. Thanks in great part to surviving Barrow and Parker family members and collectors of criminal memorabilia who provided Jeff Guinn with access to never-before-published material, we finally have the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and their troubled times, delivered with cinematic sweep and unprecedented insight by a masterful storyteller.
This follow-up to Jeff Guinn's bestselling holiday favorites The Autobiography of Santa Claus and How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas takes readers on a sleigh ride through the history of Christmas in America that lands smack-dab in 2006, as a new reality TV show threatens to destroy the true spirit of Christmas. This third installment in Jeff Guinn's bestselling Christmas Chronicles series finds Santa facing perhaps the biggest challenge of his career. As Santa himself relates in this delightful holiday read, the trouble began in 1841, when a Philadelphia merchant named J. W. Parkinson hired a neighbor to dress as Kris Kringle in order to lure shoppers into his dry-goods store. Much to Santa's chagrin, it's been pretty much downhill since. It seems everybody wants a piece of Christmas, and through the years, it has gotten worse-to the point that not a Christmas can go by without phony Santas posing on street corners across the country. But when, in 2006, it's announced that a new reality TV show called The Great Santa Search will feature a competition to find the "real" St. Nicholas, Santa knows it's time to step in! With all the rich historical detail and glorious Christmas cheer that made The Autobiography of Santa Claus and How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas treasured family favorites, The Great Santa Search is destined to become yet another Christmas classic from Jeff Guinn. .
In How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, Jeff Guinn combines solid historical fact with glorious legend to deliver another heartwarming holiday book for the whole family. It's 1620 and Mrs. Claus's dear husband is off in the New World planting the seeds of what will become a glorious Christmas tradition. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus has chosen to stay in England, where the first signs of a dangerous threat to Yuletide cheer are in evidence. The Puritans have gained control of Parliament and appear determined to take all the fun out of Christmas. But Mrs. Claus knows that it's time for serious action when, in 1647, a law is passed by Parliament that actually punishes anyone who celebrates Christmas. Using as its springboard the actual events of a day in 1647 when ten thousand peasants marched through the streets of Canterbury demanding their right to celebrate a beloved holiday, How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas is rich in historical detail, adventure, and plain ol' Christmas fun.
The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O. K. Corral--and How It Changed the American Westby Jeff Guinn
On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral shaped how future generations came to view the old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons became the stuff of legends, symbolic of a West populated by good guys in white hats and villains in black ones, and where law enforcement largely consisted of sheriffs and outlaws facing off at high noon on the main streets of dusty, desolate towns where every man packed at least one six-shooter on his hips. It's colorful stuff--but the truth is even better. As The Last Gunfight makes clear, the real story of the O.K. Corral and the West is far different from what we've been led to believe by countless TV Westerns and Hollywood films. Drawing on new material from private collections--including diaries, letters, and Wyatt Earp's own hand-drawn sketch of the shootout's conclusion--as well as documentary research in Tombstone and Arizona archives and dozens of interviews, award-winning author Jeff Guinn gives us a startlingly different and far more fascinating picture of what the West was like, who the Earps and Doc Holliday and their cowboy adversaries really were, what actually happened on that cold day in Tombstone, and why. The gunfight did not actually occur in the O.K. Corral, and it was in no way a defining battle between frontier forces of good and evil. Combining newfound facts with cinematic storytelling, Guinn depicts an accidental if inevitable clash between competing social, political, and economic forces representing the old West of ruggedly independent ranchers and cowboys and the emerging new West of wealthy mining interests and well-heeled town folk. With its masterful storytelling, fresh research, and memorable characters--the Earps, cattle rustlers, frontier prostitutes, renegade Apaches, and Tombstone itself, a beguiling hybrid of elegance and decadence--The Last Gunfight is both hugely entertaining and illuminating, and the definitive work on the Wild West's greatest shootout.
The most authoritative account ever written of how an ordinary juvenile delinquent named Charles Manson became the notorious murderer whose crimes still shock and horrify us today. More than forty years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson's childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson's sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson Family have provided new information about Manson's life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person on the property where the murders occurred was spared. Manson puts the killer in the context of his times, the turbulent late sixties, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how Manson created and refined his message to fit the times, persuading confused young women (and a few men) that he had the solutions to their problems. At the same time he used them to pursue his long-standing musical ambitions, relocating to Los Angeles in search of a recording contract. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences as he convinced his followers to commit heinous murders on successive nights. In addition to stunning revelations about Charles Manson, the book contains family photographs never before published.
Based on new interviews with previously undiscovered relatives and filled with revelations and unpublished photographs, this is the most authoritative account of the life of Charles Manson. After more than forty years, Charles Manson continues to mystify and fascinate us. One of the most notorious criminals in American history, Manson and members of his mostly female commune killed nine people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate. Now, drawing on new information, bestselling author Jeff Guinn tells the definitive story of how this ordinary delinquent became a murderer. Manson helps us understand what obsessed him and, most terrifying of all, how he managed to persuade others to kill. Guinn interviewed Manson's sister and cousin, neither of whom has ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson Family have provided new information about Manson's life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person on the property was spared. There are even photographs of Manson's childhood and youth that have never previously been seen outside private family albums. Putting Manson in the context of his times, the turbulent end of the Sixties, Guinn shows how Manson represented the dark side of a generation. He came to Los Angeles hoping to get a recording contract, and the murders were directly related to his musical ambitions, although he cloaked them in a bizarre race-war theory. He was, in the words of one person who knew him, just like many other rock star wannabes--except that he was a killer.
In Our Land Before We Die, Jeff Guinn traces the little-known history of the runaway slaves who fled to the Florida Everglades to live alongside the Seminole Indians. Deeply rooted in tribal oral history, and based on extensive interviews with descendants, this book describes the incredible circumstances of a people who sought shelter in the shadow of a tribe whose land and welfare already hung in the balance. And yet, in their tireless journey-from Florida to Indian Territory in Oklahoma; on the seven-hundred-mile flight from persecution that took them across the Rio Grande into Mexico; and then back across the Rio Grande to Texas-they never surrendered the hope of one day attaining land of their own. Our Land Before We Die brings to life the largely forgotten history of a courageous people and the descendants for whom this story is their only legacy. .
In Our Land Before We Die, Jeff Guinn traces the little-known history of the runaway slaves who fled to the Florida Everglades to live alongside the Seminole Indians. Deeply rooted in tribal oral history, and based on extensive interviews with descendants, this book describes the incredible circumstances of a people who sought shelter in the shadow of a tribe whose land and welfare already hung in the balance. And yet, in their tireless journey-from Florida to Indian Territory in Oklahoma; on the seven-hundred-mile flight from persecution that took them across the Rio Grande into Mexico; and then back across the Rio Grande to Texas-they never surrendered the hope of one day attaining land of their own. Our Land Before We Die brings to life the largely forgotten history of a courageous people and the descendants for whom this story is their only legacy.