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Hallwas to Sign Copies of New Book Saturday, Aug. 2

July 28, 2008

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MACOMB, IL - - Moving from bootleggers to horse thieves, John. E. Hallwas has brought another story of area outlaws to life with the release of his newest book, "Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers." Hallwas will sign copies of his latest release from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 at New Copperfield's Book Service, 120 North Side Square in Macomb.

Hallwas, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and former archivist at Western Illinois University, has written and edited more than 20 books and monographs, most of them focused on Midwestern literature and history. In 1998, his book "The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America" was nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.

"Dime Novel Desperadoes," published by the University of Illinois Press, tells the true story of Ed and Lon Maxwell, outlaw brothers from Illinois who once rivaled Jesse and Frank James in national notoriety. Already made famous locally by newspapers that wanted to dramatize crimes and danger for an eager reading audience, the brothers achieved national prominence in 1881 when they shot and killed two Wisconsin lawmen who were trying to apprehend them. Public outrage sparked the largest manhunt for outlaws in American history, involving some 20 posses who pursued the desperadoes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. They were eventually portrayed as heroes in sensationalistic dime novels.

"Desperadoes" contains maps, more than 40 photographs, and Hallwas's examination of social inequities, media distortions and justice system failures that reveal the complicity of 19th century culture in the creation of violent criminals.

Vouchers are available to reserve copies in advance of the book signing. Those unable to attend may reserve copies and have them inscribed. For more information, visit or call (309) 837-3052 or toll-free at (866) 252-1154.

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