Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship Between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill

S. & S. Oct. 2017. 288p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476773520. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781476773544. BIOG
Stillman, a writer for the Los Angeles Review of Books, utilizes a plethora of primary and secondary sources to recount the story of two American West icons: Lakota chief Sitting Bull (1831–90), and American scout William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill (1846–1917), and the time that their lives intersected. For four months in 1885, Sitting Bull toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, which traveled across the United States and then to Europe, reenacting frontier events. Biographical information sheds light on their roles as charismatic leaders who provided for peoples' needs. Sitting Bull was present at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, in which Col. George Armstrong Custer was defeated; the Lakota leader ushering his people to sanctuary in Canada. Later, Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army and took up residence on the Standing Rock reservation. Buffalo Bill's life as a scout, fighter, and bison hunter was fodder for dime novels and stage plays. After gaining popularity through his performances with Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull returned to the reservation and in the 1890s became entangled in the Ghost Dance religious movement. Both men endured the consequences of changing times.
VERDICT This well-written, poetic book will appeal to general readers interested in Western Americana. [See Prepub Alert, 3/27/17.]

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