The Life of Hon. William F. Cody/Buffalo Bill: An Autobiography (Anglais) Broché – 1 juin 1978
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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.
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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