Sun City West author Steve Wiegand has a new book, “1876 – Year of the Gun: The Year Bat, Wyatt, Custer, Jesse and the Two Bills (Buffalo and Wild) Created the Wild West, and Why It’s Still with Us.”
It’s the story of six events all occurring in America’s centennial year, each of them involving a legendary Wild West figure or figures: Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, George A. Custer, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody and the James-Younger Gang, and how the events and personalities helped create our perception of the West.
The book also encompasses what was going on in the rest of the country as America celebrated its 100th birthday. For example, on the same day and at nearly the same hour George Armstrong Custer and much of his 7th Cavalry was being wiped out at the Little Bighorn in Montana, Alexander Graham Bell was demonstrating his new invention – the telephone – at America’s first World’s Fair in Philadelphia.
As Wyatt Earp was moseying into Dodge City, Albert Goodwill Spalding was on the pitchers mound in Chicago, helping to establish baseball as America’s national pastime – and creating a sporting goods empire. And while the James-Younger gang were robbing banks and trains, the Democrats and Republicans were jointly conspiring to steal a presidential election.
Western Writers Hall of Fame author Johnny D. Boggs calls “1876 – Year of the Gun” a history told “with a journalist’s attention to detail, dry wit, and a ton of verve.” Novelist and essayist Dan O’Brien contends “every American should read this book.” Wild West Magazine describes it as “entertaining non-fiction … at times evoking (intentionally) a smile or a chuckle or two.”
An award-winning journalist, Wiegand spent 35 years at the San Diego Evening Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee. He is the author or co-author of 10 books, including “U.S. History for Dummies,” now in its fourth edition, “The American Revolution for Dummies,” “The Dancer, the Dreamers and the Queen of Romania” and “The Mental Floss History of the World.”
The book is 432 pages, with bibliography, full index and 32-page color and black and white photographic insert, is available in hardcover, online audio or tablet version at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com; direct from Bancroft Press, bancroftpress.com; or at independent book stores across the country.