Through the Shadows with O. Henry: The Unlikely Friendship of Al Jennings and William Sydney Porter

Al Jennings (Author)


Al Jennings lived a life more akin to tall tales than reality. He was an attorney in business with his two brothers in Oklahoma until one was killed and the other wounded in a shootout with a rival attorney. Jennings then joined an outlaw gang and made his living robbing trains. He and his brother fled from the law to Honduras, where he met William Sydney Porter, America's favorite short-story writer, who would be known by his pen name, O. Henry. Porter was also a fugitive, on the run from charges of bank fraud.

This encounter in Honduras would not be their last meeting. Jennings was captured and imprisoned in Ohio, again joining Porter as he had returned to America and been sentenced to three years in the same jail. Jennings would be pardoned in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and the two friends went their separate ways until once again meeting in New York.

First published in 1921, Through the Shadows with O. Henry is a colorful, tall-tale memoir of their friendship and life while in prison and their later meetings in New York. Jennings masterfully describes the horrors of prison life, the ways in which he and Porter coped, and the long, philosophical discussions they would have in prison and after. This is the unbelievable, and sometimes impossible, story of friendship between two natural storytellers.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details

Skyhorse Publishing
Publish Date
February 16, 2016
5.5 X 1.0 X 8.2 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author

Al Jennings was a practicing attorney in the Oklahoma Territory before becoming an outlaw and the head of a gang that robbed trains. After being imprisoned once, Jennings worked as a silent film star and technical adviser for films featuring bank robbers. He died in Tarzana, California, in 1961.