by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Reviewer Rating:


This biography recounts the life of one of the first black deputy U.S. marshals, Bass Reeves.  Though born a slave in 1838, Bass managed to escape into Indian Territory during the Civil War, where he avoided capture until the Emancipation Proclamation declared him free.  Hired on as one of 200 deputy U.S. marshals to keep the peace in Indian Territory, Bass soon developed a reputation for bravery, cleverness, and a strong sense of duty and justice.  The biography is broken into chronological sections, detailing Bass’s character and remarkable events.  At the end is a photograph of Bass, a glossary of the “Western Words” that are sprinkled throughout the book, a timeline of Bass’s life, and a guide for further reading about Bass, Native Americans in the Indian Territory, African American cowboys, and the Old West.  This was truly a fascinating account of a forgotten hero during the tumultuous days of the Wild West.

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