'Buffalo Bill's America' wins Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize

Released on 05/04/2006, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., May 4th, 2006 —
Louis S. Warren (photo by Spring Warren)
Louis S. Warren (photo by Spring Warren)
Dust cover of
Dust cover of "Buffalo Bill's America"

"Buffalo Bill's America: William Cody and The Wild West Show" by Louis S. Warren is the winner of the Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center for Great Plains Studies.

James Stubbendieck, director of the center made the announcement May 3. "Our judges chose Warren's book as the best representation of nonfiction books published in 2005 for this inaugural year of our Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize," Stubbendieck said.

Warren is the W. Turretine Jackson professor of western U.S. history at the University of California, Davis. Warren said, "I am honored to be the recipient of this award. The Great Plains has produced so many wonderful writers and continues to generate so much literature and history. It's a fabulous place, the Plains."

Judges for the book prize were Frances W. Kaye, Robert Hitchcock and Thomas Franti, all UNL faculty members. Kaye said, "Warren used Buffalo Bill as a window of the West and America, as well as a case study of entrepreneurialism, race relations and gender relations. It's a splendid look at Buffalo Bill and the way legend was created and, more important, accepted by historians."

Warren gathered research material from 1997 to 2002 at the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln, and made a brief stop in North Platte at the Buffalo Bill Ranch, before traveling to Denver and the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyo.

"Initially, my focus was on the community of the Buffalo Bill Show and what brought the audience to it," Warren said. "The more I got into the research, I found I had to explain his (Cody's) origins. How is it that the world's most famous showman came from Kansas and Nebraska? I ended up with what many call 'a cultural and social biography' of the show as much as of Buffalo Bill."

Warren will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and will be invited to travel to UNL this fall to present a lecture on the topic of the book. "Buffalo Bill's America" was published by Alfred A. Knopf.

The Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize was created to emphasize the interdisciplinary importance of the Great Plains in today's publishing and educational market. Only first-edition, full-length, nonfiction books published in 2005 were evaluated for the award. The other finalists were "On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment" by Geoff Cunfer (Texas A&M Press) and "Hidden Treasures of the American West: Muriel H. Wright, Angie Debo and Alice Marriott" by Patricia Loughlin (University of New Mexico Press).

The Center for Great Plains Studies is an interdisciplinary, intercollegiate, regional research and teaching program chartered in 1976 by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Its mission is to promote a greater understanding of the people, culture, history, and environment of the Great Plains through a variety of research, teaching, and outreach programs.

For more information, contact the Center for Great Plains Studies at (402) 472-3082 or visit its Web site (www.unl.edu/plains).

CONTACTS: James Stubbendieck, Director, Center for Great Plains Studies, (402) 472-3082; or

Linda Ratcliffe, Publications Specialist, Center for Great Plains Studies, (402) 472-3965