The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales - Forrest Carter - First Edition (1 of 75 copies) with Letter - SOLD

CARTER, Forrest. The Rebel Outlaw Josey Wales.

Gantt, AL: Whipporwill Publishers, 1973. First Edition. Octavo (9.24" x 6.25"). Red cloth boards with silver lettering, in original dustjacket with $4.95 price. Jacket shows a clean, 1.5 inch tear at bottom front with a crease running diagonally toward fore-edge, along with a few very small tears along top back edge and some tugging to head and tail of spine, but is bright and crisp. Front free endpaper has been cut out, with about 1 cm remaining. Light bumping to upper corner of pages, otherwise pages are clean and crisp with no tears, creases, or marks. Binding is sound. Letter signed by "Bedford Forrest Carter" laid in at front, with photo of Fletcher Taylor, Frank and Jesse James.

One of an apparent 75 copy run of the First Printing, according to an interview with Clint Eastwood by film critic and journalism professor Duane Byrge. One copy was sent by the author to Clint Eastwood unsolicited, which led to the famous film adaptation. At the time it was unknown that Forrest Carter, who would also soon publish The Education of Little Tree (1976), was the pen name of former KKK member and Segregationist speechwriter Asa Earl Carter, who had left politics and moved to Texas, adopting the name Bedford Forrest Carter and claiming Cherokee heritage, to start over as a fiction writer after a failed run for governor of Alabama against George Wallace, for whose campaign he'd previously written.

The included letter, signed "B.F. Carter" above the printed "Bedford Forrest Carter" to an unspecified but suggested relative reads: 

"Mr. Carter,

Am sending this along from one of yore pore [sic] Alabama kinfolk...

Hope you will find time to read it, and that you will find merit in its story regarding Texas.

I am well acquainted with Don Josey of Dallas, having spent many pleasurable days at his ranch, north of Dallas...

...which I realize doesn't measure up to Fort Worth..but it was the best I could do for "room an' boardin'" at the time."

Regarding this letter: Both the Texas State Historical Association and the Encyclopedia of Alabama, along with a few other sources I found, list this as Asa Carter's full pseudonym, which he took on after moving to Abilene, Texas, though he published simply under the name Forest Carter. Further research showed the ranch referenced in the letter to be the Josey Ranch in Carrollton, Texas (just 20 or so miles south of our store in Denton), and that Carter had befriended the Joseys and had indeed stayed at their ranch for a time. The ranch was bulldozed sometime in the mid 1980s, just a few years after Carter's death in 1979. An online customer who wrote a dissertation on Carter and saw our listing wrote me a helpful message about Carter mentioning that his youngest son was also named "Bedford Forest," and wondered if the letter might be signed by the son instead. I have yet to find a reliable example of Carter's signature for comparison, but given the reference to the ranch, I'm inclined to believe the letter is the author's, though cannot say for certain at this time. As such we're putting this book on offer simply as a First Edition of Carter's rare novel, and are regarding the letter as an interesting bonus rather than considering this a known signed or association copy.