An early reader of Tracking Nana wonders “why all the damn footnotes?” I realize the swarm of little numbers are an irritating distraction, constantly disrupting the narrative flow. But I found it necessary to include so many citations because the sources I relied on to construct my story so often disagree with one another on even the most basic facts. Although it’s not about Nana’s Raid, the story of the fight at Round Mountain is illustrative of the challenge involved in reconstructing events that occurred more than a century ago. Which of the different versions of that event are “true”? This was a dilemma I often faced in my former career as a newspaper reporter. Police report, eyewitness testimony and physical evidence conflicted, so that even the subsequent decision of a judge and jury might not be ultimately disposative. I found it best to sprinkle the invaluable verb/adjective “alleged” through the story, cite my sources, and let the reader make up his own mind as to who to believe.

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