Gunfighter in Gotham
Bat Masterson's New York City Years
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
304 Pages | 6 x 9 | 15 b&w illus.
The legend of Bat Masterson as the heroic sheriff of Dodge City, Kansas, began in 1881 when an acquaintance duped a New York Sun reporter into writing Masterson up as a man-killing gunfighter. That he later moved to New York City to write a widely followed sports column for eighteen years is one of history’s great ironies, as Robert K. DeArment relates in this engaging new book.
William Barclay “Bat” Masterson spent the first half of his adult life in the West, planting the seeds for his later legend as he moved from Texas to Kansas and then Colorado. In Denver his gambling habit and combative nature drew him to the still-developing sport of prizefighting. Masterson attended almost every important match in the United States from the 1880s to 1921, first as a professional gambler betting on the bouts, and later as a promoter and referee. Ultimately, Bat stumbled into writing about the sport.
In Gunfighter in Gotham, DeArment tells how Bat Masterson built a second career from a column in the New York Morning Telegraph. Bat’s articles not only covered sports but also reflected his outspoken opinions on war, crime, politics, and a changing society. As his renown as a boxing expert grew, his opinions were picked up by other newspaper editors and reprinted throughout the country and abroad. He counted President Theodore Roosevelt among his friends and readers.
This follow-up to DeArment’s definitive biography of the Old West legend narrates the final chapter of Masterson’s storied life. Far removed from the sweeping western plains and dusty cowtown streets of his younger days, Bat Masterson, in New York City, became “a ham reporter,” as he called himself, “a Broadway guy.”
“An intriguing biography looking at the man behind the legend. . . . Fascinating and much recommended.”—Midwest Book Review