The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas

Andrea Warren. Amazon/Two Lions, $19.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4778-2718-5
Warren (We Rode the Orphan Trains) provides an enjoyable if overly laudatory look at the life of Buffalo Bill Cody (1846–1917), founder and center of the internationally famous Wild West Show that entertained the crowned heads of Europe with sharpshooters, trick riding, and Western outfits. The focus is on Cody’s childhood in Kansas Territory, then known as Bleeding Kansas due to the violence that accompanied the question of whether it would enter the U.S. as a slave state or a free one. Cody’s father died of complications of a wound dealt him by a supporter of slavery, and Cody grew up in an atmosphere of guerilla warfare. His work with the Pony Express and as a spy for the Union Army lends suspense and drama to an already fascinating narrative. Unfortunately, Cody’s personal flaws are glossed over (such as the way his wild behavior strained his marriage or his belief in the concept of manifest destiny), which renders the overall account of his character somewhat less believable, but it’s a fairly minor failing in an otherwise gripping and intelligent read. Ages 10–up. Agent: Regina Ryan, Regina Ryan Publishing Enterprises. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/21/2015
Release date: 10/20/2015
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4778-2871-7
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