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2007Book Reviews115 an individual who commits a crime deserves to be punished for upsetting the moral order; responsibility for restoring balance is upon the offender (P- 77)· Sorensen and Pilgrim provide an avalanche of statistics and leave it for the reader to formulate a decision as to the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the death penalty in Texas. One thing is clear, according to information found in Lethal Injection, public support in general for the death penalty has risen in this country to nearly 70 percent, up from a 1972 poll that showed 50 percent approval. In Texas the number of people approving administering the death penalty is nearly 80 percent, according to Sorensen and Pilgrim. Lethal Injection is a scholarly work that should not be overlooked by academia as it provides the tools necessary for dialogue and dissertation for those studying or interested in social sciences, criminaljustice, and related fields. The only criticism diat could possibly be made ofthis empirical work, and it is not much ofone, is that Lethal Injection is not a casual read. It aims at providing quantifiable information infused with speculation about the death penalty, its positives and negatives, and at that it completes its remarkable task. KatyDan Anderson Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend ofFrontier Marshal Bass Reeves. By Art T. Burton. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006. Pp. 366. Foreword, acknowledgments, illustrations, maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0803213387. $24.95, cloth.) Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshal and former slave, never learned to read or write. Thus, it was a challenge to piece together his life history from newspapers, court documents, local legend, and oral histories. Historian Art Burton does so in this new biography of Reeves and his exploits. More than twenty years in the making, it attempts to reclaim the history of one particular African American western peace officer against the backdrop of an incredible regional and national transformation—the end of slavery, U.S. conquest of its western territories, and the policing of Native America in the process. Meticulous in its research, Black Gun, SilverStarprovides insight into the daily life ofa deputy U.S. marshal, and the various worlds with which he intersected—including the mostly white world of the territorial and federal judiciary; the African American community of Muskogee, Oklahoma; multiracial peace officers charged with policing Indian country; and various Indian communities. These complex worlds emerge from the documents Burton so painstakingly provides; what those intersections mean for our wider understanding of criminaljustice in the West is less clear. Roughly covering the period between Reeves's birth in 1838 as a slave in Arkansas and his death in 1910, the bulk of the book covers the exploits ofsomeone who Burton claims "may have been the greatest lawman of the Wild West Era" (p. 4) in the 1880s, 1890s, and early 1900s. Importantly, there is a close focus on 1 1 6 Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly Reeves's service in the Oklahoma and Indian territories, with one chapter focusing on his life in Paris, Texas. Much of the book, I am sure to the gratitude of future students of African Americans in the American West or the history of criminal justice, transcribes key documentary evidence from Burton's research. Yet, these long blocks of text, while useful and interesting unto themselves, detract from a clear elaboration of the book's interpretative framework. While day-to-day details of Reeves's life as a deputy U.S. marshal are explicidy evident, less clear is the forest for those trees. While Burton clearly sees the value of reclaiming Reeves's life as a pioneer African American peace officer, interpretations beyond that fact are harder to discern. The contradiction of an African American peace officer in the position of policing U.S. conquest of Native Americans and the West in general is in need of further elaboration. "This was a dangerous time to be a black lawman in the Indian Territory," Burton writes of Reeves's work out of Muskogee in 1906 (p. 280). Despite changing population and shifting racial dynamics, Reeves was not deterred from "doing hisjob as efficiendy as he could," as Burton attests (p. 280). In another example...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 115-116
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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