Roger D. McGrath

Chronicles corresponding editor Roger D. McGrath is the author of Gunfighters, Highwaymen, and Vigilantes. A U.S. Marine veteran and former history professor at UCLA, he has appeared on numerous documentaries, including The Real WestBiographyTales of the GunCowboys & Outlaws, and Wild West Tech.


Latest by Roger D. McGrath in Chronicles

Results: 161 Articles found.
  • November 2010

    Dan Daly

    A friend recently sent me an e-mail with a link to YouTube. A click took me to a tribute to Col. Bob Howard, broadcast by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams upon Howard’s death just before Christmas 2009.

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  • September 2010

    The Man Who Won the Revolution

    Every history textbook has a paragraph or more devoted to Crispus Attucks, who, besides being half black and half Indian and one of those killed in the Boston Massacre, was of little historical significance. Nearly everything else said about him is a matter of speculation.

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  • July 2010

    Red Cloud's War

    The Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud is generally portrayed as someone who chewed up the U.S. Army in battle after battle. He was, in the words of one author, “the first and only Indian leader in the West to win a war with the United States.”

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  • Arizona's Got Sand

    On October 26, 1881, a gunfight erupted in a vacant lot on Fremont Street in Tombstone, Arizona, that would go down in history as the Shootout at the OK Corral.

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  • June 2010

    Double Down: Illegal Aliens and Crime

    For too long now I have heard that illegal immigrants are not criminals and that they have come to America only to work. Not really. Whether or not they want to work, they have already committed a crime by illegally entering the United States.

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  • May 2010

    Lucky Lindy

    Nearly everyone knows that in 1927 Charles Lindbergh made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, lifting off from a field on Long Island and touching down in Paris 33 hours and 3,600 miles later.

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  • March 2010

    The White Man's Burden

    The havoc wreaked by the Haitian earthquake reminded me of Rudyard Kip­ling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden,” originally published in McClure’s Magazine in 1899.

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  • The Great American Outlaw
    February 2010

    The Great American Outlaw

    When Public Enemies was making the rounds in theaters across America last summer, doing nearly $100 million of business domestically, I was reminded that we Americans love our outlaws—not our criminals, mind you, but our outlaws. It is a distinction with a difference.

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  • Pancho Villa
    January 2010

    Pancho Villa

    There are hundreds of Mexican restaurants in the United States named for the revolutionary Pancho Villa. Photos of the Durango native line the walls, and his raid on the small American hamlet of Columbus, New Mexico, is celebrated. Nowhere is mentioned the many atrocities Villa and his forces regularly committed.

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  • November 2009

    The Flying Tigers

    The first “paper & stick” model airplane I ever made was a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. I painted it in the color scheme of the famed Flying Tigers, including the shark’s mouth on the cowl and air scoop. Mine was powered not by a 1040 horsepower V-12 Allison but by a rubber band that I wound by turning the prop dozens of times.

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  • September 2009

    The Noble Savage

    A sequel to Dances With Wolves is reportedly scheduled for release in 2011. Not only did Dances create a romantic American Indian who never existed, it reversed the roles of the Sioux and the Pawnee.

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  • July 2009

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    I recently saw a video clip of a television talk-show host calling President Truman a war criminal for authorizing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I have heard others make similar comments.

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  • You Should Have Been Here Yesteryear
    June 2009

    You Should Have Been Here Yesteryear

    California was imagined and named before it was discovered. In 1510 in Seville there appeared a novel that would have Fabio on the cover today. Written by Garcia Ordóñez de Montalvo, Las sergas de Esplandián is a romance of chivalry that vividly describes the adventures of a fictitious Christian knight, Esplandián.

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  • May 2009

    Mr. Outside: Glenn Davis

    As the 20th century drew to a close lists of the century’s greatest figures in various fields of endeavor appeared regularly in newspapers and magazines. Revealing that memories were short, the lists tended to be dominated by figures of recent vintage, especially in the sports world.

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  • March 2009

    Epic But Forgotten: Peleliu

    Few Americans today know of Peleliu, a speck of an island in the southwest Pacific. A part of the Palau group of the Caroline Islands, Peleliu is only six miles long and two miles wide.

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  • January 2009

    What Really Happened on Hotrocks

    Little did I know that when I entered junior high I would be confronting red-diaper babies. These kids were intellectually sophisticated and well educated. They told me many things that were contrary to my instincts. Having little knowledge of the subjects they addressed so adroitly, I was at a loss to respond.

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  • Paradise Lost
    November 2008

    Paradise Lost

    California was once a paradise. We who were born and reared here never considered the possibility that we would lose our paradise or that whites would become a minority—just like those living in other states never thought the illegal-immigrant invasion was anything more than a California phenomenon.

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  • October 2008

    Fastest Jewish Gun in the West

    Frank Gallop’s 1966 spoof recording, “The Ballad of Irving,” left most people laughing heartily. What nearly no one knew then and few know now is that there was a real Jewish gunfighter in the Old West, and he ranked considerably higher than the “142nd fastest.”

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  • The Dean of Western Historians
    September 2008

    The Dean of Western Historians

    It is usually difficult to choose only one author who is essential to the study of a particular subject. When it comes to the history of the frontier West, however, the choice is easy. Ray Allen Billington stands alone above all.

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  • Videites
    August 2008


    Perhaps more than most I wax nostalgic for the 50’s, which was not a decade but an era that began in the late 1940’s and lasted through the early 60’s. It was the best of times for Southern California kids to grow up, especially for those of us in Pacific Palisades.

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Results: 161 Articles found.