This book's subtitle is The Life and Times of the Real Rooster Cogburn, the Man who Inspired "True Grit," and as such, I'm afraid I found it disappointing. While Brett Cogburn does show that Charles Portis clearly did a lot of research into the history of Arkansas and the people, names, and places therein, I was never convinced that Brett Cogburn's ancestor Franklin "Rooster" Cogburn in any way directly inspired the one-eyed U.S. Marshal of True Grit fame. Franklin Cogburn was never a Marshal, had two good eyes, was only rarely called "Rooster," and never lived to be an old, fat man. What he did do was serve a prison sentence for moonshining and conspiring to kill a Marshal, then raise a family, turn preacher, and die of an illness at 45.
So as the story of a man who inspired Charles Portis' novel, this did not convince me.
However, as the well-researched, loving, and detailed history of a backwoods patch of Arkansas where moonshiners held enough sway to keep the Revenuers at bay for a long time, it's very interesting. Rambling, but interesting. I enjoyed reading it, I didn't feel like it was wasting my time, and I now have a firmer grasp of the history of this country's midsection in the 19th century.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for language, alcohol use, and violence.