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book cover of Under the Stars and Bars

Under the Stars and Bars

(The fifth book in the Civil War series)
A novel by

The sudden drumming of hooves mingling with the crackle of revolvers' shots, accompanied by a ringing shout of 'Yeeah! Texas Light!' Following them, smoke and flames might rise from a Quartermasters' Corps depot; a supply train would be found, its wagons wrecked, their loads carried off and teams driven away; a cursing Artillery officer could find the guns in his battery spiked and his magazine exploded.
That was how the men who rode under the Stars and Bars flag of the Confederate States fought against the Yankees in Arkansas. One name ranked high when such incidents were mentioned. That of an eighteen-year-old captain, the commanding officer of the Texas Light Cavalry's Company 'C'.
His name was Dusty Fog.


John Thomas Edson was born at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, on February 17 1928, the son of a miner who was killed in an accident when John was nine. He left Shirebrook Selective Central School at 14 to work in a stone quarry and joined the Army four years later.

As a sergeant in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Edson served in Kenya during the Emergency, on one occasion killing five Mau Mau on patrol. He started writing in Hong Kong, and when he won a large cash prize in a tombola he invested in a typewriter.

On coming out of the Army after 12 years with a wife and children to support, Edson learned his craft while running a fish-and-chip shop and working on the production line at a local pet food factory. His efforts paid off when Trail Boss (1961) won second prize in a competition with a promise of publication and an outright payment of 50.

The publishers offered 25 more for each subsequent book, and with the addition of earnings from serial-writing for the comic Victor, Edson was able to settle down to professional authorship. When the comic's owners decided that nobody read cowboy stories any more, he was forced to get a job as a postman (the job had the by-product of enabling him to lose six stone in weight from his original 18).

Edson's prospects improved when Corgi Books took over his publisher, encouraged him to produce seven books a year and promised him royalties for the first time. In 1974 he made his first visit to the United States, to which he was to return regularly in search of reference books. He declared that he had no desire to live in the Wild West, adding: "I've never even been on a horse. I've seen those things, and they look highly dangerous at both ends and bloody uncomfortable in the middle. My only contact was to shoot them for dog meat."

His heroes were often based on his favourite film stars, so that Dusty Fog resembled Audie Murphy, and the Ysabel Kid was an amalgam of Elvis Presley in Flaming Star and Jack Buetel in The Outlaw.

Before becoming a recluse in his last years, JT's favourite boast was that Melton Mowbray was famous for three things: "The pie, Stilton cheese and myself but not necessarily in that order."

Genre: Western    

Used availability for J T Edson's Under the Stars and Bars

Hardback Editions

June 1980 : UK Hardback

Title: Under the Stars and Bars
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-7091-4445-8 / 978-0-7091-4445-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

May 1987 : USA Mass Market Paperback

Title: Under the Stars and Bars
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-425-09782-X / 978-0-425-09782-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Berkley
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

December 1970 : UK Paperback

Title: Under the Stars and Bars
Author(s): J T Edson
ISBN: 0-552-08589-8 / 978-0-552-08589-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

March 2016 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Under the Stars and Bars (A Dusty Fog's Civil War Book 4)
Author(s): J T Edson
Publisher: Piccadilly Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA