A Book of Highwaymen

By Rex Dixon (Reginald Alec Martin)
First Published 1963 by Nelson
Illustrated by Robert Hodgson

First edition wrapper. Click to enlarge and see full picture
First edition dustwrapper
Robert Hodgson
Nelson 1963
The highwayman is a familiar figure in English fiction. Masked, cloaked in black, invariably courteous to the ladies, he featured in many a stirring tale.

But what were they really like, these Gentlemen of the Road ? What was it that drove them to a life of danger and hardship with death on the gallows as its probable outcome ?

To find an answer to these questions, Rex Dixon has examined the records of over six hundred highwaymen. from this mass of material, he has chosen to present the life stories of seven of them.

Seven more different characters it would be hard to find. John Cottingham, or Mull-Sack as he was known, was sent out to work for a chimney-sweep when he was nine. For him crime provided a way of escape from a life of grinding poverty. Claude Duval on the other hand was given the best education his parents could afford. Or again there was William Davis, alias the Golden Farmer. This man had no real need to steal. For him highway robbery was a part-time occupation which he combined with running a farm - so successfully that it was forty-two years before he was brought to justice.

But, although different in so many ways, all seven had in common a daring and ingenuity, a willingness to risk life and limb and a reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions which make this true account of their adventures as exciting as anything the fiction writer could devise.

First edition:
Nelson 1963:
Hardback with dustwrapper; 108x204mm; 202 pages; 22 black and white illustrations.
Dustwrapper full colour and picture wraps to include the spine; front flap has the publisher's 'blurb' reproduced above.

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Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup and Mike McGarry
Created 4th December 2011