A well-researched, engagingly written, though incomplete portrait of a fascinating, complex figure.

Warren explores how the man who became the most famous entertainer of his time and a legend of the "Wild West" grew up amid a violent regional conflict that would soon tear apart the nation.

William Cody was 8 when his family moved to the Kansas Territory in 1854, soon to be plunged into a bloody conflict between anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions. When his father died from complications of a savage attack after delivering an abolitionist speech, 11-year-old Billy supported his family herding cattle, working on wagon trains, and riding for the Pony Express. Seeking revenge, he joined the Jayhawkers, guerrilla irregulars fighting pro-slavery militant groups. He enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and later worked as a scout during the Indian Wars. Providing contextualizing information along the way, Warren chronicles all these colorful adventures in lively prose but, perhaps due to her focus on his early years, gives short shrift to Cody's contradictions. He earned his nickname for single-handedly slaughtering thousands of bison yet feared their extinction and spoke out against hide-hunting; that selfsame slaughter was part of a U.S. government campaign to destroy Plains Indian culture, yet Cody hated how the Indians were treated—both of these are largely unexplored. The volume is liberally illustrated with archival material, and extensive backmatter supplements the narrative.

A well-researched, engagingly written, though incomplete portrait of a fascinating, complex figure. (notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4778-2718-5

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015



In 1910, Pascal D’Angelo and his father left the harsh Abruzzi region of Italy to escape its impossible poverty and journey to the United States; Pascal was 16 years old. Murphy, a graceful narrator of history, presents the life of the peasant as he journeyed through life in the new country. He never became wealthy or even comfortable, but did leave an impression with his poetry—and this from a man who became literate in English as an adult, largely self-taught (and librarians will be delighted to know that they helped him). D’Angelo also wrote an autobiography, Son of Italy, relating to life as an immigrant and the hard—largely pick-and-shovel—work he did to earn a scant living. Such a telling should resonate when readers think about why people come to a new country where they do not speak the language, do not know the customs, and too often are alone, even (or especially) today. The protagonist does not come through as a sharp personality; he is somewhat shadowy against the times and places of his life. He stands out as a symbol rather than a full person. But his accomplishments are certainly large. Archival photos are interesting but sometimes captions are non-indicative; what do they mean? When and where were they taken? There are two photos of D’Angelo. As usual, Murphy provides details that help set the story. A biography of a common man that is also the history of a civilization and its times. (index and bibliography) (Biography. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-77610-4

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000



In her first book for young readers, personal-finance expert Chatzky offers straight talk on all things related to money—where it came from, how it’s made, how to earn it and how to save it, everything from gross domestic product to gross viruses on paper money. Having spent three months traveling the country and talking with kids, the author presents questions and answers in a volume attractively designed in a kid-friendly manner, with plenty of illustrations, charts, lists and sidebars for fun facts and kids’ questions. One thing not learned on the trip, apparently, was not to take all middle-school students’ answers at face value, as readers will see wise-guy responses, illogical explanations and self-centered comments mixed in with the mostly thoughtful and sincere questions and statements. Still, the clear and conversational text, coupled with the inviting format, will appeal to young readers, who should enjoy learning about a subject important to them. (appendices, map, glossary, web resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9472-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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