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.
  • 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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  • June 2008

    Lieutenant Ramsey’s War

    Ed Ramsey never aspired to be a hero. He was only 12 years old when his father committed suicide. He was a natural-born hell-raiser; bootleg whiskey and fighting were his passions. His mother thought the Oklahoma Military Academy might salvage him. He loved horses and all things martial. The academy had both.

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  • <i>Federales</i>, Gringo Style
    May 2008

    Federales, Gringo Style

    For most of American history, federal law enforcement consisted only of U.S. marshals serving in the territories of the West. Their legacy is decidedly mixed. Many were appointed purely for their political connections, and graft and corruption were not unusual.

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  • April 2008

    Payback for Pearl Harbor

    I was recently visiting with an old Marine Corps buddy, Ralph Willis, at his home on California’s central coast. At 86, he is one of the fortunate few who are still alive to describe their experiences fighting the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II.

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  • The Loss of American Identity
    March 2008

    The Loss of American Identity

    I have never been able to get it through my thick skull that one’s identity, culture, and national sovereignty should not stand in the way of making money. For whatever reasons, I have always had a real attachment to my name, my family, my people, my place, my way of life.

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  • Westerns: America’s Homeric Era on the Silver Screen
    February 2008

    Westerns: America’s Homeric Era on the Silver Screen

    Some time around 800 b.c., Homer put the heroic tales of the Achaeans into lyric form: battles, expeditions, adventures, conquests. The tales were inspiring, heroic, tragic, triumphal.

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  • December 2007

    The Fighting Irish

    Before a new documentary series on World War II by Ken Burns even aired on PBS, there was controversy. Mexican-American organizations complained that there was no episode that focused solely on their people.

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  • The Skin of Their Teeth
    December 2007

    The Skin of Their Teeth

    John Ferling, professor emeritus from the University of West Georgia and author of several other books on politics and political figures in the Revolutionary and New Nation eras, has produced a work of mature scholarship that reflects a lifetime of study and lecturing and offers a highly readable and comprehensive military history of our War of Independence.

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Results: 154 Articles found.