Book: Bad News for Outlaws

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Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal

Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books

Sitting tall in the saddle, with a wide-brimmed black hat and twin Colt pistols on his belt, Bass Reeves seemed bigger than life. As a U.S. Marshal—and former slave who escaped to freedom in the Indian Territories—Bass was cunning and fearless.

When a lawbreaker heard Bass Reeves had his warrant, he knew it was the end of the trail, because Bass always got his man, dead or alive. He achieved all this in spite of whites who didn’t like the notion of a black lawman.

For three decades, Bass was the most feared and respected lawman in the territories. He made more than 3,000 arrests, and though he was a crach shot and a quick draw, he only killed fourteen men in the line of duty. Bad News for Outlaws reveals the story of a remarkable African American hero of the Old West.


Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2009 Tales of the Wild West don’t get any better than the life and times of Bass Reeves, the first African-American deputy U.S. marshal and the most successful in American history. Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrator R. Gregory Christie—both Coretta Scott King Award honorees—bring this fascinating historical figure to life in Bad News for Outlaws, their superb book for middle grade readers. Kids will love the colorful language of the Old West, and the bold and dynamically rendered scenes of the heroic Reeves capturing the bad guys. And, they’ll learn how the lawman—who was both greatly respected and feared—used his wits and intelligence, courage and character—and yes, incredible marksmanship—to bring more than 3,000 criminals to justice with fewer than 14 deaths in the line of duty. Put this knockout nonfiction book into the hands of readers ages 9-12. Bass Reeves is a name they won’t soon forget.  —Lauren Nemroff

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