Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pulp-Era Historical Novelist Hugh Pendexter Gets His Due


Ever hear of Hugh Pendexter?


Early in his career he was endorsed by Mark Twain, who included one of Dexter's humorous pieces in an anthology he edited. Later he was known for his historical fiction -especially his westerns, and his works set on the 18th century American frontier.

Black Dog Books is making sure Pendexter gets his due, releasing new editions of several of his books. I was very honored to be asked to write the introduction to two of them: The Shadow of the Tomahawk (1920), which was about the now-virtually-unknown Lord Dunmore's War of 1774, and Red Trails (1919), set in 1784 in the territory that would later be Tennessee. In my introduction I not only spoke about Pendexter's career, but explained how the two books -set ten years apart -were closely related phases of the same overall American Indian resisitance to Colonial/Early American expansion, as demonstrated by one very important historical figure who ties the two books together.

All of Black Dog's Pendexter books can be ordered at their WEBSITE, as well as at AMAZON.

I am including the first few paragraphs of my introduction below:

Hugh Pendexter (1875-1940) was a prolific author from Norway, Maine. His name is probably familiar to anyone with an appreciation for pulp-era action tales. Forty of his historical novels, most of them set in the Old West or the early frontier, were serialized in the popular magazine Adventure. Pendexter taught high school Latin and Greek for a short while, then spent several years as a newspaper journalist before turning his full attention to fiction. His journalistic background showed through –Hugh Pendexter took great pains to gather the facts. His historical fiction was notable for its rich detail, and he demonstrated an understanding for his subjects that ran far deeper than mere surface information.
After choosing a plot, Pendexter would consult every book on the subject in the library, often searching out and buying volumes that were not readily available. He took careful notes, often word for word, laying them out in his work space –sometimes more than two hundred typewritten sheets, in a process that required weeks of work before writing his first sentence of narrative. Pendexter often attached bibliographies, and even footnotes, to his novels.
In other words, he worked much like a historian.

Check these books out.


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