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Showing 1-10 of 67 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 74 reviews
on October 14, 2013
I liked it because it claws back forgotten history.
What an amazing man!
Everybody should try to read this to recapture what it was like for a brief few decades before it all caved in for the Native Americans in the West.
Buffalo Bill's portrayal of the Indians is ambiguous. On the one hand he has his native American allies but he has no compunction in killing as many as he can should they express any resistance to the spread of white settlements. The break-up of villages full of women and children is just casually mentioned as a normal course of events: pathetic belongings scattered over the prairie as they are chased by the US Army cavalry and foot soldiers.
The wholesale and mindless slaughter of the beautiful bison herds is just another passing fancy.
Some of the individual characters e.g. Wild Bill Hickok are well described.
Life was cheap. Kill or be killed.
What is also most interesting is the life described during the border wars between abolitionists and pro slave forces prior to the Civil War.
Bill's father was an Abolitionist, not because he had any liking for African Americans it was simply he did not want them around at all, either as slaves, or, freemen.
Almost completely forgotten now, Bill was a legend in his own lifetime with crowned heads of Europe courting his company.
He subsequently toured Europe with his show which included his old Native American foe Chief Sitting Bull.
Apparently, when Sitting Bull visited New York with Buffalo Bill's show, he was so appalled at the slum conditions that he gave away all his wages to the slum kids. So much for the White attitude to the Native American depicting them as merciless savages.
What a nightmare it has been for the indigenous peoples of the Americas and what a disgrace it has been for the White race.
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on June 10, 2014
This a wonderfully uplifting book. The stories constantly leaves one murmuring "why could not
I have lived my life like that!" Opened at any page and it is immediately interesting.
BB doesn't make excuses for killing thousands of buffalo. He does not try to justify it. He was hired to kill 15-20 buffalo each day to feed an army outpost and he did his job. He did it efficiently, and took it for granted. He was a super man of his time and admired by many, including Indians.

His skill as a writer reminds me of Jack London. Not as skilful but clear and easily assimilated. He writes like a pony express rider - straight ahead and to hell with the details. Some unique features struck me. He lived outside much of his life, slept on the ground, and he almost never complained about the weather. He used words in an interesting manner. For example, he wrote "Wild Bill and
I went on a scout" instead of "Wild Bill and I went scouting". Also, I live in Rochester NY, and discovered in the book, he owned property here, his wife lived here for several years and two of
his children are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery. As a family we read the book aloud, taking turns,
with Kindle copies, and cried when the book was finished. Thanks BB, you were a hoot!
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on October 11, 2013
I found this an enjoyable book particularly as it is Buffalo Bill's own story. His writing is very readable, his confidence immense. What got me though is how it reflected the thinking of that time, that Indians were less than dogs. Seeing how proud Cody was of killing his first Indian when he was eight years old and how he was happy to murder and slaughter hundreds if not thousands of Indians with no more conscience than the way in which he killed thousands of buffalo. The buffalo were understandable because the army needed food and they killed generally only for food, but the Indians! I thought of those hapless people, braves, mothers, babies, toddlers fleeing from a white conscienceless predator. The Indians were killed in such vast numbers so that it was just like the way the aborigines were killed in Australia and the numbers became so soon depleted that people in a generation or two would have no idea that there were oiginally great numbers of aboriginals living in Australia and thousands of Indians in America populating the land before the white man came. Then they were gone. A few stragglers living in reserves here and there, their lands taken, their pride depleted. I don't like white men very much. In fact I don't like men very much, they are such thoughtless killers at heart. I think of the lifestyle the Indians and the aboriginals had before the white man. Plenty of food all over the country. No fences stopping them from going to their age old watering places. I find it all very sad. And now, a few generations on and we have global warming and degradation of the land everywhere, the trees are gone or going, our beautiful countries are pillaged and raped. Buffalo Bill was a legend and he was so proud of himself and so many people were proud of him too and he had no comprehension of what a destroyer he was. It was a revelation to me to read his book.
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VINE VOICEon March 11, 2013
William F. Cody writes his autobiography in the typical 19th century style, light talky and not too deep. But he gives a good account of his life and what he did for a living, including Pony Express, Buffalo hunter, scout, performer and other various jobs. He became so famous at the end of his life he hosted a Russian Duke and gave him a taste of a buffalo hunt on the prairie. Since Buffalo Bill is so important to the West, it was good to read his own account and I found it interesting.
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on December 12, 2011
This is entertaining and enlightening. Entertaining because it rattles along from one adventure to another. Buffalo Bill started work before the age of ten, seemingly doing a man's job and getting a man's pay working on "bull trains", hauling freight across dangerous Indian-infested (as they said then) territory. He was also a Pony Express rider. He became a famous army scout and one of the most famous "hunters" involved in the massacre of buffalo, killed frequently just for the fun of it, and helping to bring the numbers of buffalo down from millions to the verge of extinction.

He was a man of his times, thinking nothing of "lifting the hair" of Indians who were also apparently shot without a thought, or of burning the homes and possessions of Indian villages in order to drive them away from the latest bit of land that the paleface wanted - unfortunately driving them to territory the white man would want next.

When the book was written, Cody was still only in his mid-thirties but had been there, done that, and moved on to producing and acting in theatrical demonstrations of his exploits. He was obviously quite a man.

Fast-paced, horrible in some ways, but part of history. It is sobering to think how recent this history was. The Wild West was not so long ago.
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on November 6, 2012
This historical document is interesting reading, I am about 3/4 of the way through it, it seems like a just a day by day account of what happened on the prairie. Some of it has historical significance such as the free state/slave state issue, wars with the Mormons, which Cody got directly involved in. Timeline is presented in text which is good. About 1843 onwards.

I imagine a lot of it could have been obtained by reading western lore, and I really believe it was written by a professional author, if you ever read the journals of Clark you would know what I am talking about.

I consider the omission of numerous drawings to be a very serious drawback to this publication, I think that it is a vital part of the record. Other historical (free) books I have obtained have included the drawings. They should go back and do the rest of the job, some compressed scanned drawings wouldn't increase the size very much and make it a better publication.
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on June 19, 2012
Cody's autobiography describes fantastic events and times. It is a sometimes grisly story with killings of Indians and buffaloes. He himself killed over 4000 buffalo. He wrote about how he scalped an Indian "scientifically," that is quickly, after a one-on-one fight in which he killed the Indian.

Cody was a Pony Express rider, a scout for wagon trains, and a scout for the US Army in the Indian wars of the 1870s. Journalists wrote about his exploits and Cody became a superhero of the late 1800s. Easterners coaxed him into taking part in a stage production about the Wild West even though he was overwhelmed initially by stage fright. Eventually he was able to perform on stage.

Cody was a friend of Wild Bill Hickok and got Hickok to take a starring role in some productions. Hickok would make the Indian actors in the play jump and dance realistically by shooting the black powder blanks so close to the actors that they would get powder burns on their legs.
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on May 31, 2012
'got a kindle as a gift and went searching for reading material.The LIfe of HOn. William F. Cody the famous Scout and Guide piqued my interest. I can remember my father reading this to me when I was a small child. Now, I am much older and have a more clear understanding of one individuals life long endeavor to make a life for himself and his family. This autobiography follows a child and his family through pioneer migration from Iowa to Kansas and the pre civil war guerilla activity in that state. It provides a detailed narrative of the struggles of an adolescent to provide for his mother and sisters and his continued picturesque escapades with the pony express and through the Indian wars to become a famous scout and buffalo hunter and showman of the early twentieth century.
My ten year old grandson is showing some interest in American history; I ordered him a hard copy and hope he will read it again when he is sixty five.
Good book, couldn't put it down.
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on May 17, 2013
I don't normally read biographies but somehow found myself curious about this. Not the greatest writer but this is out weighed by the insights into times of old by someone who lived an adventurous life. I did find it easy to read - not tedious as the things going on are quite interesting. From the way he describes law and order, the Indians, the development of the towns etc it is interesting and educational. Helps to remind that times and attitudes were very different back then, and reading a story from the personal level is better than how a lot of the past is portrayed 'historically'.
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VINE VOICEon June 21, 2007
Like several other biographies of this legendary Plainsman, Scout, Buffalo Hunter and Indian Fighter of the American Frontier, this book is comprised mostly of a reprint of William F. Cody's own Autobiography. What makes it a better source than many of the other reprints of Buffalo Bill Cody's fascinating 1879 acount of his early life and adventures until he reached the age of thirty-four, this volume includes an excellent foreword by another noted author and historian of the Wild West, Don Russell. His foreword makes this first complete reprinting of the original autobiography much more understandable and provides additional valuable insights into the man who coined the term "Wild West." Buffalo BIll was, without any doubt, what we often refer to as "The Real McCoy." While Cody could spin a good tale too, he was modest and humble about his own adventures. Later historians have mostly authenticated, with only minor corrections, his scary-thrilling, matter-of-fact and plain spoken recollections of his life and adventures.This is a very good read and hard to put down until the very end of the book.
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