cover image Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West

Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West

Candace Fleming. Roaring Brook/Porter, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-159643-763-0

Fleming's even-handed biography of William Cody, the "hardscrabble frontiersman who became America's legendary showman," is more than just the story of a larger-than-life figure. Fleming (The Family Romanov) weaves Cody's life into a history of the development of the West in the late 19th century and provides a clear and sensitive study of the treatment of American Indians during that era. Each chapter opens with a vivid description of a scene from the outrageously successful Wild West spectacle that Cody produced, followed by real-life events that link to%E2%80%94and possibly inspired%E2%80%94the scene. In comprehensive sidebars entitled "Panning for the Truth," Fleming examines some of the hyperbolic tales Cody spun, holding them up to other primary and secondary sources for confirmation or dismissal. Fierce battles are described in detail, and historical figures such as Sitting Bull, Custer, Annie Oakley, and even Queen Victoria come to life in Cody's incredible story, as do his relations with the loving family he was born into and the tenuous one he created. Fascinating period photos, an extensive bibliography, and online sources are included. Ages 10%E2%80%9314. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Agency (Sept.)