The story of Billy Byrne—as extraordinary a character as the famous Tarzan.
fighter; but the old gang still saw much of him, and he was a familiar figure about the saloon corners along Grand Avenue and Lake Street.
During this period Billy neglected the box cars on Kinzie Street, partially because he felt that he was fitted for more dignified employment, and as well for the fact that the railroad company had doubled the number of watchmen in the yards; but there were times when he felt the old yearning for excitement and adventure. These times were usually coincident with an acute financial depression in Billy's change pocket, and then he would fare forth in the still watches of the night, with a couple of boon companions and roll a souse, or stick up a saloon.
It was upon an occasion of this nature that an event occurred which was fated later to change the entire course of Billy Byrne's life. Upon the West Side the older gangs are jealous of the sanctity of their own territory. Outsiders do not trespass with impunity. From Halsted to Robey, and from Lake to Grand lay
Okay Burroughs adventure story, but you've really got to suspend your disbelief -- perhaps even more so than for his Tarzan books. In this case, it seems a little diction training can turn a brawling, lifelong street criminal into a high-minded aesthetic. Hmmm. Tough to swallow, but still interesting from an action/adventure standpoint.
I enjoyed reading this book. It's been a years since I've read an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.
This eBook contains both "The Mucker" and The "Return of the Mucker". The Return of The Mucker begins at Part II of this book. The The Return of the Mucker eBook on this site is the same as Part II of this book. I'm now reading The Oakdale Affair, which is the 3rd in the Mucker Trilogy.
A lot of fun, with everything from street slums to pirate ships, to tropical islands filled with head-hunting natives, and back to New York City high life. A wonderful, now campy, read that had me considering reading ahead - it was that good!
A 'mucker' is made into a gallant gentleman. This is one of ERB's most sought after story and he had high hope the Billy Byrne would be one of his most popular characters - alas - it did not turn out so. Interesting to compare the first Tarzan story and see the contrasts and parallels between Billy Byrne and Tarzan and their character developements into gentlemen. Burroughs gives apes ('Kala') more humane traits than men of the inner cities and slums. Despite being an adventure story, ERB's book seems to make some indictment of the men of 'world' of the inner city and slums of the era. I wonder if he was influenced by 'muckracker' writers that started in the 1880's and continued into the 1920's.
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