Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History

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Macmillan, Oct 17, 2001 - History - 336 pages
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A fascinating analysis of the first famous American to erase the boundary between real history and entertainment

Canada, and Europe. Crowds cheered as cowboys and Indians--and Annie Oakley!--galloped past on spirited horses, sharpshooters exploded glass balls tossed high in the air, and cavalry troops arrived just in time to save a stagecoach from Indian attack. Vivid posters on billboards everywhere made William Cody, the show's originator and star, a world-renowned figure.
Joy S. Kasson's important new book traces Cody's rise from scout to international celebrity, and shows how his image was shaped. Publicity stressed his show's "authenticity" yet audiences thrilled to its melodrama; fact and fiction converged in a performance that instantly became part of the American tradition.

But how, precisely, did that come about? How, for example, did Cody use his audience's memories of the Civil War and the Indian wars? He boasted that his show included participants in the recent conflicts it presented theatrically, yet he also claimed it evoked "memories" of America's bygone greatness. Kasson's shrewd, engaging study--richly illustrated--in exploring the disappearing boundary between entertainment and public events in American culture, shows us just how we came to imagine our memories.
  

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Review: Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History

User Review  - Tasha - Goodreads

I'm still not sure what the point of this book was, but the Indian part was pretty interesting. Read full review

Contents

Showmanship and Memory
3
The Wild West Abroad 188792
65
At the Columbian Exposition 1893
93
Buffalo Bill and Modern Celebrity
123
PERSPECTIVES
159
Memory and Modernity
221
Performing National Identity
265
List of Illustrations
301
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Joy S. Kasson, author of several books on American history, is a Professor of American studies and English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She lives with her family in Chapel Hill.

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