Paula's Reviews > From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West: The Awesome Story of Jim Beckwourth

From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West by Tom Demund
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Sep 24, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, history
Read in September, 2010

I read this quickly, since it falls into the category known as Young Adult literature (what an odd designation that is). This is a well-researched and very engaging biography of Jim Beckwourth, born into slavery in 1800, then freed by his white father to go on to become a celebrated Mountain Man, Chief of the Crows and overall jack of all trades (Demund lists 40 "jobs" that Jim held at one time or another). Demund's conversational style and his demystification of the history-writing process make this an excellent educational tool. At every turn, the author asks his readers what they think about what he's just told them. He explains that some historical accounts aren't necessarily trustworthy, including a man's own writings about his life, since people lie, fudge & exaggerate. He also talks about how he chose to believe, or at least to accept as either most likely or most entertaining certain stories about his subject. Beckwourth died in 1866 after a life of high adventure across the West from St. Louis to Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and finally, California.
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