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Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West

by Candace Fleming

Published by A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2016
273 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59643-763-0

12 and older

Before the Wild West of the American imagination was fabricated by Hollywood, it was fabricated by Buffalo Bill Cody. This blend of biography, history, and myth-busting gives an account of Buffalo Bill’s life and the Wild West Show that made him famous and romanticzed the West in mainstream culture. So much of Buffalo Bill’s life as he told it was fiction, some created by the dime novelists who were writing about him in his own time and much by Cody himself. Author Fleming has made this part of her narrative. Each chapter moves forward the story of Cody’s life as he and others told it but also includes a “Panning for Truth” section that compares the story to the factual evidence (or lack thereof ) that historians have uncovered. The result is a sense of Buffalo Bill as an icon propagating a view of the “Old West” that never really existed, but that entertained the crowds who attended his shows, and that (mis) informed future generations. Fleming also addresses how Lakota and other Native performers used the show as an opportunity to leave the reservations with their families, something the U.S. government made almost impossible at the time, in this finely researched and documented work. (Age 12 and older)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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