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This Way Slaughter
This Way Slaughter

This Way Slaughter

A Novel of William Barret Travis

FICTION

240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket

Cloth, $22.95 (US $22.95) (CA $30.95)

Publication Date: March 2018

ISBN 9781609405694

Rights: WOR

Wings Press (Mar 2018)

eBook

eBook Editions Available

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Overview

This Way Slaughter, an original work of literary, biographical fiction about "the Voice of the Texas Revolution" and Commander of the Alamo, William Barret Travis, marks the first and only time that figure has received full-length treatment in a novel. Typically a character portrayed as a rather minor stick figure forfeit to a much larger, unthinkably violent and bloody drama, one overshadowed by more celebrated names like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Sam Houston, Slaughter places the 26-year-old attorney, schoolteacher, editor and diarist centerstage where he is subjected to relentlessly probing, yet empathic scrutiny. Here is "Buck" Travis, not as pop culture insists upon depicting him, but as a living, breathing, "walking around" human being, warts and all: Valorous to a fault, yet capable of the most bitter cynicism. Intellectually brilliant, yet a courtier of romance. A political firebrand with but a begrudging interest in politics. An unwilling warrior more interested in words than in weaponry who found himself reluctantly drafted into occupying an epic, history-making role for which he considered himself singularly ill-suited. In the end, what emerges in the course of the novel is an indelible, highly provocative portrait of a conflicted, fatalistic, yet duty-bound young man haunted by an unsavory past, pledged to an impossible present, and pursued by an inescapable future, one whose violent love affair with an even more violent Texas frontier, cost him his life. On another level, the novel is both a meditation on historical time, and the manner in which the interplay between fact and fiction determines the kinds of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, about our past, and about how we choose to bequeath those stories to the future.

Reviews

"This Way Slaughter, an original work of literary, biographical fiction about "the Voice of the Texas Revolution" and Commander of the Alamo, William Barret Travis, marks the first and only time that figure has received full-length treatment in a novel. Typically a character portrayed as a rather minor stick figure forfeit to a much larger, unthinkably violent and bloody drama, one overshadowed by more celebrated names like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Sam Houston, Slaughter places the 26-year-old attorney, schoolteacher, editor and diarist centerstage where he is subjected to relentlessly probing, yet empathic scrutiny." —fantasticfiction.com

"Bruce Olds's novel This Way Slaughter is a de-Disney-fied anti-epic, a dazzling Menippean satire upon the myth of the Alamo as told by the garrison's fatally amateurish commander-by-default William Barrett Travis, a tactical genius of catastrophe whose main idea was to trap his men inside a glorified cattle pen and send for help. Iconoclastic, irreverent, subversive, and slyly anachronistic, This Way Slaughter detonates with wit and poetry under received wisdom and the glittering past." —Douglas Glover, author, The Life and Times of Captain N and Elle

"An Olds novel not only reproduces a moment in history, it recreates the process by which that moment became history. The result is a revaluation of the code of sanctified violence that is at the heart of the Western and of American myth. A fascinating exploration of the psychology and patterns of belief of a particular kind of American hero . . . . Moving, funny and smart." —Richard Slotkin, author, Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600–1860

"'Remember the Alamo!' was a rallying cry, and you will remember the Alamo after Bruce Olds's astonishing This Way Slaughter, but you'll remember it differently than ever before. With a formal opportunism to rival Jean Toomer's in Cane and a historical resonance the equal of W.G. Sebald's in Austerlitz, Olds sets his William Barret Travis to telling more than he meant to tell. The result is 'the proper purring of the page,' a gripping story that sheds light on a past moment, and sheds even more on the present. —H.L. Hix, author, First Fire, Then Birds and American Anger

"This Way Slaughter is not the literal story of the rise from the ashes of the Lone Star of the Republic of Texas. It is the literary tale of the birth of the Texas mythology with the gods Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, James Bowie, Juan Seguin, David Crockett, James Bonham, Sam Maverick above the fires of the Alamo and within the pearly gates of San Jacinto as seen through the eyes of one of those gods, William Barret Travis, commander and poet of the Alamo." —Robert Flynn, author, North to Yesterday and Wanderer Springs; past president, Texas Institute of Letters

"Olds (The Moments Lost, 2007) does not only bend genre in his newest novel but he goes beyond the bounds of genre itself. This Way Slaughter is neither biography nor war novel but a piece of one man's complicated life read through the lens of a fever dream. William Barret Travis was the commander of the Alamo Mission when the Mexican army laid siege in 1836, despite having almost no experience as a military man. Travis was a lawyer who came to Texas after leaving his home state of Alabama, fleeing debtors and a possible murder charge. Despite his lack of expertise, Travis led his troop of soldiers during the entire 13-day siege, and he died in the final Battle of the Alamo. The story is told in turns through Travis' stream-of-consciousness thoughts, diary entries, third-person narration, poems, and even Travis' fictionalized curriculum vitae. Fans of Stephen King's The Dark Tower (2004) will enjoy Travis' inner monologues and dark humor. History buffs will love Olds' attention to detail and extensive research. Readers will find themselves engrossed in this unusual tale from the first pages." —Seth Emery, Booklist

Author Biography

Reared in the Upper Midwest, Bruce Olds has lived at various periods in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and Chicago. He is the author of three award-winning works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize nominated The Moments Lost (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007), Bucking the Tiger (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001 ) and the Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Raising Holy Hell (Henry Holt, 1995). His nonfiction work has appeared in Granta and American Heritage among other publications. His book reviews have been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald. After working his way through college as a Teamster, Olds worked for several years at daily newspapers, first in Philadelphia, then in Baltimore, as an award-winning columnist, feature writer, and book reviewer, before leaving the business mid-career to devote himself full time to writing fiction. His sui generis approach to his historical fictions—one that is genre-blurring, multi-dimensional, frankly collagist, and that privileges language and architecture over strict historicity—is, he suspects, in part the result of his having as an undergraduate studied under and been influenced by the pioneering literary Postmodernist scholar Ihab Hassan. Olds's novel about the abolitionist John Brown, Raising Holy Hell, was an IMPAC Dublin Literary Award nominee, amd was named Novel of the Year by the Notable Books Council of the American Library Association. It also received the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award for Fiction. Bucking the Tiger, an ALA Notable Book, was adapted for the stage as "The Confessions of Doc Holliday." His third, set in turn-of-the-century Chicago and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, plumbed parts of his own family history. The father of an adult son, Olds lives along the Atlantic Coast of northern South Carolina.