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National Post (Canada)


  • Originally published 08/12/2013

    Was Bass Reeves — a former slave turned deputy U.S. marshal — the real Lone Ranger?

    Art Burton listened intently as the old man on the other end of the phone cleared his throat and began telling him a story. Burton had only been researching the life of Bass Reeves for a short while but that afternoon what Reverend Haskell James Shoeboot, the 98-year-old part-Cherokee Indian, was about to tell him would persuade Burton he had stumbled upon one of the greatest stories never told.Born in 1838, Bass Reeves was a former slave-turned-lawman who served with the U.S. Marshals Service for 32 years at the turn of the 20th century in part of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas known as Indian Territory. Though he was illiterate, Reeves became an expert tracker and detective – a man who, in Burton’s words, “walked in the valley of death every day for 35 years and brought in some of the worst outlaws from that period”....It reaffirmed what Burton had suspected: that (Armie Hammer’s caucasian portrayal aside in the movie The Lone Ranger) Bass Reeves — perhaps the first black commissioned deputy marshal west of the Mississippi — could well have been one of the greatest lawmen of the Wild West. But most people hadn’t heard of him. Over the next 20 years, Reeves would become an obsession for Burton, culminating in a very interesting hypothesis, which he puts forward in his book Black Gun, Silver Star....

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Secret files reveal Queen’s World War III speech

    British government files from 1983, opened to the public for the first time today, include an official’s view of the message Queen Elizabeth II would have broadcast to the nation in the event of World War III.The speech was drafted as part of a war-games exercise codenamed Wintex-Cimex, in which officials in NATO countries acted out responses to an attack by Soviet-led forces. In 1983, they ended the simulated conflict by launching a limited nuclear strike on the enemy.“I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939″ when World War II was declared, the scenario had the queen telling her subjects at noon on Friday March 4, 1983. “Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.”...