"The Many Loves of Buffalo Bill" by Chris Enss; 978-0-7627-4815-0; Pages: 168; $16.95; Publication Date: January 2010; Paperback; Biography; TwoDot Press, an Imprint of Globe Pequot Press.
More than 100 books and articles have been written about the man who made the Wild West come alive. "The Many Loves of Buffalo Bill" by Chris Enss adds another dimension to the stories about the life of William F. Cody.
He was a showman extraordinaire, a scout for the United States government, a soldier in the Civil War, an Indian fighter, and above all, he loved the ladies.
Enss, who has written many books about Western culture, its people and the lives of many interesting personages of the Old West, has assembled a succinctly remarkable characterization of who Buffalo Bill really was. He was a family man, a showman, and a person who was able to take care of business.
According to Annie Oakley, who was a star performer for 17 years in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, "His words were better than most written contracts."
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show traveled around the world and gave audiences in Europe and the United States a taste of the Wild West. This all took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His troupe had several hundred members who roped, rode horses and demonstrated shooting accuracy. His people were extremely loyal to him and stayed with the show for years.
One of the most interesting facts about his life is that in the span of 50 years of marriage, he attempted to divorce his wife Louisa twice. The contested divorce trial ended with the judge not granting the parties what they had sought.
In later years, they reconciled their differences, but the jealousy of his philandering in many dalliances with young ladies kept his wife on a suspicious crusade to catch him by hiring a private detective.
Quoting from the trial transcripts and other documentation, we are made privy to many of Louisa Cody's witnesses' statements about some of the women he dallied with. With an almost puritanical recitation of facts, we are told of his affairs with Indian maidens, theatrical ingénues and some pretty interesting ladies of the evening.
Buffalo Bill Cody outlived his children and died at the age of 70 in 1917. He lived an exciting life that took him through an untamed land in the Old West as a pioneer in a developing civilization.
He was instrumental in the settling of the Wild West and was one of its last glamorous heroes of a bygone generation. He became well known across the world as he mingled with kings, queens and other royalty of Europe. His life as depicted in this non-fiction account was about bravery, honesty and courage that made him a righteous man even though he had an eye for the ladies. His love of this land was more important than his indiscretions.
The legendary career of Buffalo Bill Cody, the only Western hero mentioned in Who's Who in America, makes this book a must-read.
Week of Feb. 1
1. The Help; Kathryn Stockett; Putnam/Amy Einhorn; $24.95; 9780399155345.
2. Kisser; Stuart Woods; Putnam; $25.95; 978-0-399-15611-3.
3. The Lost Symbol; Dan Brown; Doubleday; $29.95; 978-0-385-50422-5.
4. The First Rule; Robert Crais; Putnam; $26.95; 9780399156137.
5. The Last Song; Nicholas Sparks; Grand Central; $24.99; 978-0-446-54756-7.
1. Game Change; John Heilemann; Harper; $27.99; 9780061733635.
2. Committed; Elizabeth Gilbert; Viking; $26.95; 978-0-670-02165-9.
3. The Full Plate Diet; Stuart Seale; Bard Press; $19.95; 9781885167712.
4. Have a Little Faith; Mitch Albom; Hyperion; $23.99; 978-0-7868-6872-8.
5. Stones into Schools; Greg Mortenson; Viking; $26.95; 978-0-670-02115-4.
Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who is published in local newspapers and national book review lists. Visit him at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com.