Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fleming, Candace. Presenting Buffalo Bill, The Man Who Invented the Wild West.

Fleming, Candace.  Presenting Buffalo Bill, The Man Who Invented the Wild West.  Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press  2016   272p    $19.99  ISBN 978-1-59643-763-0  ms/hs  Nonfiction  E-BN                     
William F. Cody became the larger-than-life figure of Buffalo Bill.  This title takes him from his youth into adolescence and through adulthood.  He made many claims about his life in his Wild West show, and they are all examined and compared with statements made in other sources.  The veracity of some is unclear; others are true, but many are either completely false or constitute gross exaggerations.  This does not detract from the personality of the ultimate showman.  He was very successful in spreading a particular image of the western United States, but was a poor money manager and was almost constantly in debt.  His treatment of his Native American actors is shown to be to more than fair, and it seems he gave many the opportunity to provide well for their families.
This is a meticulously researched document.  The source notes alone cover 24 pages.  Archival sources are listed along with primary sources, secondary sources, and online resources.  The detailed index is eleven pages long.  Yet with all this research and attention to detail, the story is very readable and flows smoothly.  The reader is caught up in the story of Cody’s life.       

Summary: This is a well-researched and well-documented look at the life of Buffalo Bill Cody.  It takes what he wrote and finds substantiation.  It is a very inclusive biography suitable for research, but it reads smoothly and conversationally.  Upper middle to high school.       

Buffalo Bill Cody                                                                                                       —Joan Theal

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