The Colonel and Little Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America
Having attained celebrity himself by popularizing the Old West in countless works of fiction, from Lonesome Dove (1986) to The Berrybender Narratives (2002-2004), Pulitzer-Prize winning McMurtry should offer more insight into the West's enduring appeal than he ever attempts to do. Although he does support the subtitle's premise that superstardom began with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, his comparisons to today's pop stars (Martha Stewart, Courtney Love) are sometimes forced. The Colonel and the...more
I thought "The Colonel and Little Missie," not a memoir but a dual biography of Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, would be different. Alas, no. His theme is the rise of celebrity culture in modern America, a fine s ...more
Yet this is not a deviation from McMurtry's nonfiction writing (that which is not autobiographical in nature, anyway); his conversational look at the Wild West shows is another chapter in his ongoing thesis about a mythical versio ...more
This book will give you a foundation on which to appreciate how Americans are obsessed with celebrities. What was really beneficial to me was reading about how Ned Buntline contributed, even st ...more
However, I wish McMurtry was more critical of the ways that "Wild West" were and have been re/presented by Bill Cody and his successors, especially with respect to the role of native peoples. His sharp analysis of some aspects and utter silence on others made the book very uneven for me.
Funny--novelists never seem to master the more formal, academic syntax typical of non-fiction writers. As great as their ear for language may be, years of spinning yarns seem to make it impossible for a novelist to fully embrace either the language or the standards of proof required of those more prosaic writers who handle "just the facts."
Enjoyed the history and the argument about the beginnings of superstardom.
I listened to this while driving, so otherwise I might have put it down. The book is about Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. There was much historical data that I enjoyed, but the author tended to repeat things, and it was a little dry. But, as I am enjoying learning about our countries history, this one did tell about two show people of the late 1880's.
His first published book, Horseman, Pass By, was adapted into the film "Hud." A number of his other novels also were adapted into movies as well as a television mini-serie ...more