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Joaquin Murieta

by Paul Reilly

ISBN 1-59108-000-2
  (Printed Trade Paperback)

   (Kindle eBook)

ISBN 1-59108-002-9
   (Adobe Digital Edition)

The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit, is a unique book in many ways. In 1854, it was the first novel published in California, and it is also the first novel written by a Native American. Yellow Bird was the son and grandson of famous Cherokee chiefs, and he lived a vigorous and dangerous life as an Indian. But he was also a well-educated and literate man, known in the white man's world as John Rollins Ridge. Both a novelist and poet, Yellow Bird made his living in California as a newspaperman, ending his short life in Grass Valley as the editor of the Grass Valley National newspaper, of which he was a part owner. He was just forty when he died, but he had lived a fuller life than most.

The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta was Yellow Bird's only novel, but it left an enduring mark. It not only sparked a number of knockoffs but also created the enduring myth of Joaquín Murieta.

Joaquín comes to the California Gold Rush in 1849 and tries hard to lead a honest life with his lovely Rosita, only to be victimized time and again by lawless and ruthless whites. Finally, he is pushed too far and becomes a Robin Hood of the old West, looting and murdering the greedy and giving money to the poor.  He leads them on a merry chase, but in the end, meets his end, but with honor and pride.  A classic western.

In short, this book was the genesis of the "dime novel" industry of the late nineteenth-century that persists even today as the paperback Westerns found in every bookstore, newsstand, and even supermarket. It was truly a first in that regard.

But it is worth reading for more than those reasons -- it is a colorful and romantic story that fires the imagination of the reader, portraying in no uncertain terms what life was like in those times.

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Order Joaquin Murieta locally

If you wish, you can order this book from your local bookstore in North America and the UK,  although it is unlikely they will have it on the shelf.  Just tell them that it is a Print on Demand book distributed by both Ingram Books and Baker & Taylor and then give them the ISBN 1-59108-000-2.


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You can also purchase the printed book on-line from many on-line book sellers. For your convenience, we made a list of links which you can use. In addition, this book is carried by a number of other retailers on-line, so you should be able to find it at your favorite website.

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