From Library Journal
Those who know of Annie Oakley largely through film and theater portrayals by Barbara Stanwyck, Ethel Merman, or Betty Hutton will find a more nuanced and complete biography of "Little Sure Shot" (as Chief Sitting Bull called her) at the hands of Riley. Author of Western studies such as A Place To Grow: Women in the American West (Harlan Davidson, 1992), the author here provides not only a biography of Oakley but also an evaluation of her legend and influence-a woman who sought economic equality and recognition for women in a male-dominated profession, but who, as a proper Victorian lady, opposed suffrage for women. Riley's is the latest and most scholarly in a long line of biographies, including Shirl Kasper's excellent study, Annie Oakley (LJ 3/15/92).Nicholas C. Burckel, Washington Univ. Libs., St. Louis
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
To provide a factual and intimate biography of Annie Oakley, the legendary female sharpshooter and star of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, Riley attempts to place her seemingly mythical subject firmly into historical, cultural, and sociological contexts. While faithfully recounting Oakley's personal and professional chronology and impressive list of accomplishments, the author also offers an interpretive view of Annie's highly successful effort to reconcile her public image as a resourceful and athletic western woman with her private perception of herself as a genteel Victorian lady and a model wife. What emerges is a multidimensional portrait of an entertainer and a businesswoman whose enduring fame and popularity both reflected and defied the conventions of her era. Unlike many previous Oakley biographers, Riley moves well beyond the realm of folklore, producing an insightful and original account of the life, the times, and the significance of a uniquely American heroine. Margaret Flanagan