Roger D. McGrath

Corresponding editor Roger D. McGrath is the author of Gunfighters, Highwaymen, and Vigilantes.  A U.S. Marine and former history professor at UCLA, Dr. McGrath has appeared on numerous documentaries, including Big History, Cowboys & Outlaws, Jesse James: Legend, Outlaw, Terrorist, and Wild West Tech.

Latest by Roger D. McGrath in Chronicles

Results: 154 Articles found.
  • That Damn Cowboy
    September 2020

    That Damn Cowboy

    The Western frontier transformed Teddy Roosevelt from a New York aristocrat into the rough rider who charged up San Juan Hill. While living as rancher, he impressed the locals with his tenacity, and his ability to handle himself in a bar fight.

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  • The Chinese Exclusion Act
    July 2020

    The Chinese Exclusion Act

    In 1882 Congress took steps to control Chinese immigration. From the start, the Chinese were different than other immigrants. They were sojourners in the U.S. who rejected the values of American society and carefully maintained their own culture.

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  • Epidemic for the Record Books
    April/May 2020

    Epidemic for the Record Books

    As the hysterical coronavirus overreaction crashes our economy, I can’t help but think of the Spanish flu, which took some 675,000 American lives in 1918 and 1919.

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  • Jackson and the American Indians
    February 2020

    Jackson and the American Indians

    Everyone knows that Andrew Jackson wanted American Indians annihilated, defied the Supreme Court in a famous challenge to Chief Justice John Marshall, and forcibly removed the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast to lands west of the Mississippi River. What everyone knows is not true.

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  • January 2020

    Books in Brief

    Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation Against America, by Mary Grabar (Regnery; 327 pp., $29.99). Mary Grabar has performed an invaluable service by taking the time to dissect Howard Zinn’s polemical attack on America, A People’s History of the United States (1980). Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age, by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Diane Montagna (Angelico Press; 338 pp., $30.00). How are the Vatican’s Amazon Synod, a board meeting of GlaxoSmithKline, and a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee different?

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  • George O'Brien: American Star
    December 2019

    George O'Brien: American Star

    WWI veteran George O’Brien became a star in Hollywood with his breakout performance in John Ford’s silent film epic, The Iron Horse. Handsome and built like the top athlete he was, O’Brien appeared in 11 more Ford movies and 85 films altogether, a successful career punctuated by voluntary and selfless distinction in two more wars, WWII and Korea. O’Brien represented all that was best in Hollywood and in America, which perhaps explains why he is forgotten today by a different Hollywood and a different America.

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  • The British Invasion of the Ozarks
    September 2019

    The British Invasion of the Ozarks

    Chronicles readers may recall my “Old Route 66” (September 2013) and “Keep the Water on Your Right” (February 2015) motorcycle travelogues, in which I rode through small towns and rural areas to reconnect with the land and people of America. A road trip can do this like no other kind of journey, and doing one astride a motorcycle creates an intimacy with the road absent in other vehicles. Riding a motorcycle, one is exposed to every scent in the air, whether good or ill.

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  • The Old West's Deadly Doctor
    August 2019

    The Old West's Deadly Doctor

    Most Americans know of Doc Holliday only as Wyatt Earp’s sidekick. He was much more than that. He was not only one of the most colorful characters in the Old West but also one of the most feared. He acquired the nickname “Doc” honestly, earning a degree in dentistry and practicing in several towns. However, he eventually spent nearly all his time as a professional gambler and occasionally as a gunfighter. He had a vicious temper and feared no man, perhaps because tuberculosis had already given him a death sentence.

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  • Getting Real About Reparations
    June 2019

    Getting Real About Reparations

    The call for slavery reparations is reverberating throughout the land once again. It will be entertaining to watch the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 position themselves on this topic.

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  • James Howard: Two-Theater Double Ace
    April 2019

    James Howard: Two-Theater Double Ace

    One would think the only American fighter pilot to earn the Medal of Honor in World War II in Europe would be remembered and honored, or at least mentioned in history textbooks in high school and college. No such luck today.

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  • William Lundigan
    February 2019

    William Lundigan

    Of our 20th-century wars World War II stands alone. In a sneak attack early on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Japanese naval forces bombed Pearl Harbor. As reports were broadcast throughout the day American shock turned to anger.

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  • Butch Cassidy, Part 2
    December 2018

    Butch Cassidy, Part 2

    A station agent tried to telegraph Price, Utah—the direction the outlaws were headed—but Butch Cassidy and Elzy Lay had cut the wires. The paymaster had the train’s engine uncoupled.

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  • Bob Mathias
    October 31, 2018

    Bob Mathias

    One of the greatest Olympians of all time, Bob Mathias, is all but forgotten today. He was born in 1930 in Tulare, in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Robert Bruce Mathias was his name, but everyone called him Bob.

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  • Cowboy Heroes
    September 17, 2018

    Cowboy Heroes

    The cowboys were our heroes. There were dozens to choose from. My favorite among the B Western stars was William Boyd, who made 66 films as Hopalong Cassidy beginning in 1935 and ending in 1948.

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  • October 2018

    Butch Cassidy, Part 1

    Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a smash success when it was released in 1969. Surprisingly, the movie generally follows the actual events of Butch Cassidy’s outlaw life.

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  • David Crockett
    August 2018

    David Crockett

    “Watch what people are cynical about,” said General Patton, “and one can often discover what they lack.” Since the 1960’s I’ve been watching what are often called revisionist historians trying to destroy the American heroes I grew up admiring.

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  • Parry O’Brien
    June 2018

    Parry O’Brien

    It’s difficult to explain today that, from the 1920’s through the mid-1960’s, track and field was a major sport in Southern California. There were several reasons for this.

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  • April 2018

    Hang ’Em High

    I was recently watching Westward Ho, one of the many dozens of B Westerns I have in my collection, and it struck me that until the 1940’s vigilantes were most often portrayed in the movies as the good guys.

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  • February 1, 2018

    The Long Sadness

    William Ball was just shy of 19 and living in the town of Souris on the prairies of Canada when war erupted in Europe in August 1914. The region was still something of a frontier, devoted to trapping and trading with Indians, and inhabited by hearty, adventurous types, Ball among them.

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  • February 2018

    The Klondike Stampede, Part II

    The 250 Indians who inhabited Dyea on the eve of the gold rush were Chilkats, members of the Tlingit tribe. They were short and stocky, and excellent packers. They commonly carried packs of 100 pounds or more.

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Results: 154 Articles found.



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