The Summer of 1876 (Outlaws, Lawman and Legends in the Season That Defined the American West) by Chris Wimmer: 5*****

Talk about a rip-snorting book, this is it!!! What a wonderful job Chris Wimmer has done by transporting us back to the US Centennial year of 1876, and refreshing all our memories of all that happened that eventful summer. Wimmer gives us a great overview of all that happened that year, from the Centennial to Custer’s Last stand, with personalities and details galore. The book never slows down, and one of the easiest to read non-fiction books I have had the pleasure of reading in years. In addition to the above, we also have a bit about the formation of the National League of Baseball Clubs, Western lawmen and celebrities such as Bat Masterson, Wild Bill Hickok, locations such as Dodge City and Deadwood; there are famous Native American chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, and even Buffalo Bill Cody gets into the act!

What makes this book so special is that Wimmer shows all the coincidences that occurred that year, and even how miscommunication resulted in both tragedy and inept failure. If you want to learn about Custer’s Last stand Wimmer covers that in detail from all angles, and to me the best part of the book is the Northfield (MN) bank robbery involving the Jesse and Frank James, along with all the Younger Brothers (Cole, Bob & Jim). Wimmer gives us the stories behind so many of the names and legends. The authors passion for story-telling and the Old West shine through in this fast-paced book that is sure to be a hit for young and old. Can’t think of a better way to be transported to that legendary period. Get your spurs on, saddle up and get ready for a rip-snorting ride!!

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