Illustrated with archival material and supplemented with extensive backmatter, this is a thoroughly engaging portrait of a...

PRESENTING BUFFALO BILL

THE MAN WHO INVENTED THE WILD WEST

Fleming presents a lively, evenhanded portrait of William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, a master of self-promotion who became a world-famous entertainer and whose name became synonymous with “Wild West.”

When his abolitionist father died from a savage attack after delivering an anti-slavery speech in “Bleeding Kansas,” 11-year-old Cody herded cattle, worked on wagon trains, and rode for the Pony Express. He joined the anti-slavery Jayhawkers, served the Union during the Civil War, and worked as a civilian scout during the Plains Indian Wars. He earned the nickname “Buffalo Bill” for single-handedly slaughtering thousands of bison. Throughout her chronicle of Cody’s adventures, Fleming notes the ever present challenge of distinguishing the realities of Cody’s life, given his penchant for embellishment and outright fabrication. Fleming depicts Buffalo Bill as the first global superstar, whose lasting fame came as a result of his Wild West Show, which toured throughout the United States and Europe and featured fellow living legends Sitting Bull and Annie Oakley. Fleming also suggests without exploring at great length that the show did much to mythologize the “Wild West” in the popular consciousness, with many misconceptions persisting.

Illustrated with archival material and supplemented with extensive backmatter, this is a thoroughly engaging portrait of a fascinating, larger-than-life figure. (photos, bibliography, source notes) (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59643-763-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy.

BONNIE AND CLYDE

THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

A portrait of two victims of the Great Depression whose taste for guns and fast cars led to short careers in crime but longer ones as legends.

Blumenthal (Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2016, etc.) makes a determined effort to untangle a mare’s nest of conflicting eyewitness accounts, purple journalism, inaccurate police reports, and self-serving statements from relatives and cohorts of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Though the results sometimes read as dry recitations of names and indistinguishable small towns, she makes perceptive guesses about what drove them and why they have become iconic figures, along with retracing their early lives, two-year crime spree, and subsequent transformations into doomed pop-culture antiheroes. She does not romanticize the duo—giving many of their murder victims faces through individual profiles, for instance, and describing wounds in grisly detail—but does convincingly argue that their crimes and characters (particularly Bonnie’s) were occasionally exaggerated. Blumenthal also wrenchingly portrays the desperation that their displaced, impoverished families must have felt while pointedly showing how an overtaxed, brutal legal system can turn petty offenders into violent ones. A full version of Bonnie’s homespun ballad “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” and notes on the subsequent lives of significant relatives, accomplices, and lawmen join meaty lists of sources and interviews at the end.

Painstaking, judicious, and by no means exculpatory but with hints of sympathy. (photos, timeline, author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47122-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE STORY OF BRITAIN

FROM THE NORMAN CONQUEST TO THE EUROPEAN UNION

Tricked out with a ribbon, foil highlights on the jacket and portrait galleries at each chapter’s head by Ireland’s leading illustrator, this handsome package offers British readers an orgy of self-congratulatory historical highlights. These are borne along on a tide of invented epithets (“ ‘Foreigners!’ spat Boudicca”), fictive sound bites (“Down with the Committee of Safety!”) and homiletic observations (“By beating Napoléon the British showed how strong they were when they worked together”). Aside from occasional stumbles like the slave trade or the Irish potato famine, Britain’s history—from the Magna Carta to the dissolution of the biggest empire “there had ever been”—unfolds as a steady trot toward ever-broader religious toleration, voting rights and personal freedom. American audiences will likely be surprised to see Mary Queen of Scots characterized as “one of the most famous of all monarchs,” and the Revolutionary War get scarcely more play than the Charge of the Light Brigade. It makes a grand tale, though, even when strict accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to truthiness. Includes timelines, lists of monarchs and an index but no source lists. (Nonfiction. 11-13)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5122-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more