Life and Works of General Charles King 1844-1933 Martial Spirit

Author: Bailey, John
Year:1998
Pages:308
ISBN:0-7734-8356-X
978-0-7734-8356-9
Price:219.95
Details King's life from youth, West Point Military Academy, military duty and marriage in New Orleans during Reconstruction, an instructor's position at West Point during the time of the first black cadets, military duty in Arizona against the Apaches, Sioux, and Northern Cheyenne in the northern plains. In civilian life, King wrote for the Milwaukee Sentinel, taught at the University of Wisconsin, and helped found the modern Wisconsin National Guard which he led in action during labor strife in the 1880s. His writing career produced 66 books and over 250 articles, covering the Civil War, Indian Wars, and Spanish-American War, in which he also served.

“. . . a labor of love. . . . well-written and straightforward account of King’s life and careers. . . particularly strong on the details of King’s life as a West Point cadet during the Civil War and on his activities and interest in New Orleans during Reconstruction. Descriptions of military action are clear and compelling. Bailey’s greatest contribution may lie in his thorough discussion of King’s novels, especially of the character types King employed and of his portrayal of Indians. . . . Those interested in both the culture and the popular image of the United States Army from the Civil War to the era between the World Wars may find this to be a worthwhile addition to their bookshelves. Those interested in Charles King will find it useful to have so much biographical data compiled in one place.” – Nebraska History

Reviews

"Charles King once stood among the elite of the Old West's popularizers. Just as his friend Buffalo Bill Cody brought remnants of the Wild West - Indians, buffaloes, cowboys - to countless Americans, so did King in his enormously popular military novels. King, in fact, almost solely birthed the Western novel, and more than twenty years before Owen Wister and Zane Gray vied for the same shelf space. . . . John Bailey offers here a fresh look at one of the forgotten soldiers of the Old Army. Wisconsin native and West Pointer, Charles King figured in some of the American West's most intriguing episodes. He served on in the Philippines and even World War I, compiling a service record unique in American military annals. Perhaps even more importantly, King wrote of his soldier experiences in dozens of novels and histories, almost single-handedly fashioning imagery brought to the silver screen by John Ford and John Wayne two generations later." - Paul L. Hedren, author of Fort Laramie in 1876 (1988), and other histories of the Old Army

". . . a fascinating, insightful, critical biography. . . . Providing a comprehensive overview of the period, Bailey renders a compelling portrait of his subject with excellent discussion of influences and patterns in his writing and analyses of specific works. For students and scholars of western fiction and film, the most interesting and informative chapters are the final two . . . deals with the most substantial part of King's writing, the thirty-four frontier novels and thoroughly analyzes the conventions, stereotypes, and settings. . . . In addition to rendering a vivid picture of the complex and varied frontier life flowing through King's western novels, John Bailey has created a stirring picture of a lively and memorable personality, participating in a crucial moment of our national expansion. He has also included a bibliography of King's works, in addition to a general bibliography very useful to anyone interested in the United States, particularly the American West, in the latter half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries. This is a highly readable, well-documented biography of the man Charles King and an excellent history of his time." - Leonard Engel

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Preface; 1 The Formative Years: 1844-1862; 2. A West Point Education: Molder of Men, 1862-1866; 3. Reconstruction Duty: 1866-1874; 4. Frontier Duty: 1874-1879; 5. Changing Times; 6. Pencraft; 7. King's Novels; 8. The King Legacy; Bibliography, Index