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

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The little known story of the unlikely friendship of two famous figures of the American West—Buffalo Bill Cody and Sitting Bull—told through their time in Cody’s Wild West show in the 1880s.

It was in Brooklyn, New York, in 1883 that William F. Cody—known across the land as Buffalo Bill—conceived of his Wild West show, an “equestrian extravaganza” featuring cowboys and Indi
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Simon Schuster (first published 2017)
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Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Snapshots from past.
History reawakened.
Chapters that evoke in the readers mind the terrible and the beauty, a revisiting of people at battle, and friendships made, great showmanships and mysteries of the world upon the blood filled plains set aright with the greatly researched and representing before you in this narrative.
Many scenes, one savage and mysterious with Sitting Bull, a ceremony of flesh cut and many others, may read as newly learned or learnt of old, the stark and unsettling, disquie
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written and researched portrait of the last days of the American West, featuring the parallel and eventually intersecting lives of Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill Cody. There is a chapter devoted to the Battle of Little Bighorn, in which it was mistakenly believed that Sitting Bull killed Custer, marking him as a hated and hunted man. Another chapter recounts the life of Annie Oakley and her rise to fame as “Little Miss Sure Shot,” a nickname given to her by Sitting Bull, who admired ...more
James Foster
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
very good book.very informative.
PVLD Reads
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfic
Fascinating story of the friendship between Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull, which was an uncommon friendship to have in those days. The book is well written and well researched and really captures this unlikely friendship. The author also has another book about mustangs in the American West, that I also love.

Reviewed by Kendel, Senior Library Page.

Find it at the library, here.
Joy D
Well-researched biography of two icons of the American West, Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill Cody, and how their lives intertwined in a meaningful way. Both were celebrated and misunderstood, their names linked together by the buffalo, symbols of the American West.

The author has a definite viewpoint on the betrayal of the Native Americans, which she illustrates through an account of the lives of these two men (and one woman, Annie Oakley). Buffalo Bill is shown, in the 1870’s, as part of the probl
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
Thank you Goodreads for the copy of Blood Brothers. I was so looking forward to reading about the friendship of Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull. Unfortunately very little of the book even had them at the same place at the same time. I never got the feeling they were friends at all. This author really researched her subject matter, I’ll give her that. So many other books were cited within her story, her words didn’t flow well. The same is true for the story she was trying to tell. All in all a real ...more
Darcy Gregg
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my 4th non fiction book that has dealt with the harsh reality of how the Indians were treated. I have to say it doesn't get any easier to stomach. The book is really a 3.5 as parts a repeated and there is a lot of filler, not a huge amount about the actual friendship but it's still an interesting book. This book deals also with the decline of the buffalo and the senseless killing of them. Another fact that's hard to stomach. I literally felt sick in parts as it bothers me so much. I do t ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Stillman uses one of my favorite historical writing structures--taking an event, and then fanning out to show how the participants arrived at that pivotal moment. In this case, it is the four month intersection of Buffalo Bill Cody and Sitting Bull (with a significant appearance by Annie Oakley, who had to be carved out of the limiting title) in Cody's Wild West Show. The posters for the show proclaimed a triumphant “Foes in ’76, Friends in ’85”, and in a strange way foreshadowed the "ritual of ...more
Casey Wheeler
I received a free Kindle copy of Blood Brothers by Deanne Stillman courtesy of Net Galley and Simon & Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I have read a previous biography of Sitting Bull, but nothing about William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and I have an interest in the h
Rick Ohlarik
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Deanne Stillman’s book was more than the story of the friendship between Buffalo Bill Cody and the Lakota Chief, Sitting Bull. It was the history of both men after the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn (a.k.a. Custer’s Last Stand) until their deaths in 1890 (Sitting Bull) and 1917 (Buffalo Bill). This was well written and by far the most informative book about these two superstars (three, if you include Annie Oakley) of the late 1800s. Deanne put in a lot of information that I already knew, but ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
The subject was of great interest, so I plugged along. The history is told in a disorganized manner, jumping around in time, place and historical figures. It claims to be about the “strange friendship” between Sitting Bull and William Cody, yet they do not actually meet until 75% of the way through the book. Absolutely brimming with what I can only call “personal musings” about what Sitting Bull MAY have thought or questions about what he and others MAY have thought; presents no clear thesis. Ob ...more
JL Hall
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book. It delivered as far as the information that was shared. I learned a lot about Sitting Bull, Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. The title is somewhat misleading as really, very little of the book had anything to do with the relationship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill. The author does a good job of connecting events ,but her habit of surmising or "imagine this" got a little annoying to me but then I tend to be one that just wants what is actually known rather than ...more
John Plowright
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inspiration takes many forms and many artists struggle to articulate how it strikes. Not so Deane Stillman, whose ‘Blood Brothers. The Story of the Strange Friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill’ begins with the following words:

“For each of my books, there has been a precipitating incident that has caused me to venture into that particular story … I can literally picture them [these portentous incidents] … as the consequence of forces and matters that have long been in play, and when t
Joe Keefhaver
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
From reading others books, I already knew that Sitting Bull was a significant Native American military and spiritual leader. Had he been a white man, there is no telling how far he could have gone. Buffalo Bill was a true-life frontiersman who made the transition to telling the story of the Wild West as a successful entertainer. This book focuses on the relationship between the two men, although it covers much more than that. It was interesting to learn that the Indian prophet who started the Gh ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Overall I liked this book. It had some interesting detail, and the author had some insights worth considering. My primary complaints are that the chapters were almost like separate essays, with the author seemingly forgetting what had been explained or addressed previously, some sloppy editing resulting in historical errors (referring at one point, for example, to Marcus Reno as "General"), an account of the Little Bighorn that doesn't line up with either surviving Native accounts or forensic ba ...more
N.R. Tomasheski
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well-researched and entertainingly written, Blood Brothers includes biographical information about both men, as well as placing their lives and activities in context of the time. Both men are presented in full complexity to provide a complete picture of their relationship, and their relationships to the world at large. Stillman is a respected historian of the American West, and she presents a balanced version of what life was like at the time for both white and Native Americans, including the te ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Disappointed in this book. There appears to be a story here, but this did not tell it. It tried to jump back and forth between various times and characters (sometimes Buffalo Bill, sometimes Sitting Bull), but without any real indications of how these related to each other. There was little description of the actual "friendship" between the two men - just that Sitting Bull went on tour with Buffalo Bill for 4 months. Annie Oakley is almost a more developed character than either of the two named ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed with this - I think the title is very misleading. I thought it was going to be about the relationship of Cody and Sitting Bull, but that was barely addressed at all. I came away feeling like the two hardly really knew each other at all, but were simply co-workers.

There was a lot of history, which I like, but I just didn't want that from this book. I can find backgrounds on Cody, Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley, the Wild West show, and Native American history in other, better-writte
Gabriel Johnson
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
While I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think of the possibility that there was no friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill. That the only reason they were together was because Sitting Bull felt that was his best option, not because he wanted to be there. Just because Buffalo Bill gave Sitting bull a horse and Sitting Bull once gave Buffalo Bill a gift, does not mean they were friends. To me, this was a story about a white man exploiting Sitting Bull, among other Indians.
Tom Schulte
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Wow, I really got into this tale of enemies turned friends and then, like something out of a tragic independent film, drunkenness and evil forces stop a potential life-saving reunion as a besotted Cody is literally directed down the wrong path while Sitting Bull is assassinated.

Lot's here about Annie Oakley too as well as the broader context of postbellum American already mythologizing a rapidly disappearing wild America.

[I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads Giveaways.]
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
A recommendation from the History Book Club. It wasn't as much a story about Sitting Bull and Bill Cody, but about the two of them and how their lives intersected briefly and Cody's attempt to save Sitting Bull at the end of his life right before he was assassinated. Annie Oakley also features prominently in the story. A brief link as well to PT Barnum; at least a mention.
This book is a quick read that brings history to life. It provides bios of Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill but also includes some history on Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickok, Custer, and the Wild West Show.
Debbie Crossland
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I'm not good at giving reviews. But this author was all over the place. I was excited to see what Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill had in common. All I got out was their name. There was only a few facts that she came up with that I didn't know. Mostly about Bill Cody.
Nick Penzenstadler
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Picked this up at the library since it’s a new release. Some parts dragged, but exposed the complicated history of Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill— all new to me.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Historical excellence.
Rick Brown
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at their worlds and how they eventually became friends. Also was very interesting to learn more about Annie Oakley and her friendship with Sitting Bull.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting story fills in the gaps!
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book that contains a lot of info on the two.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I felt there was to much speculation and a little to much mysticism.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amazing. There is a ton of information in this book. A time period I knew little about in american history. Very fascinating and incredibly sad.
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Deanne Stillman is a widely published, critically acclaimed writer. Her books of narrative nonfiction are place-based stories of war and peace in the modern and historical West.
“I hate all the white people. ... You are thieves and liars. You have taken away our land and made us outcasts.” 0 likes
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