A scholarly edition of the original 1879 autobiography by William Frederick Cody (1846–1917), who in his lifetime became perhaps the most famous American in the world.

Editor Christianson (English/BYU; Philanthropy in British and American Fiction: Dickens, Hawthorne, Eliot and Howells, 2008) offers a useful introduction and a number of appendixes and illustrations to illuminate Cody’s celebrated text: photographs, chronology, letters and even an excerpt from one of Ned Buntline’s risible dime novels about Cody. But the centerpiece is the autobiography itself, a document at once self-effacing, unpretentious and profoundly disturbing to contemporary eyes. Cody wrote the book—Christianson argues he had little, if any, help, though no manuscript survives—when he was on the cusp of the worldwide fame that would enrich him. He was touring theaters around the country but was also still actively scouting for the military in the summer of 1876 when his friend Gen. George Custer last stood at the Little Big Horn. Cody was also friends with Wild Bill Hickok and met Kit Carson and any number of other frontier notables. Cody begins with his birth in Iowa and then narrates the experiences that led to his movements west (his father’s early death put him to work early on wagon trains), his adventures with the Pony Express, horse racing, scouting and hunting buffalo. Cody writes proudly about killing some 4,200 bison. Much of the second half involves chasing and killing Indians, running away from Indians, scalping Indians, getting married, making babies, disparaging Indians—and African-Americans, about whom Cody writes in a way that would make Huck Finn blush. Cody never for a moment questions his right to slaughter herds or to kill and scalp human beings. A reminder of the deep belief we once held in white supremacy and manifest destiny.


Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8032-3291-4

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Bison/Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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