A gripping, fast-paced account of the life of the indigenous man who founded and led the Indian Posse, one of the most dangerous gangs in North America, into violence, power, and infamy.
In 2008, Daniel Richard Wolfe was awaiting trial on two counts of first-degree murder at the Regina Correctional Centre. This wasn't his first time in jail; from his teenage years his life had been marked by stints in and out of prison – with Danny sometimes finding his own way out. This time around, he was orchestrating his boldest move yet: a carefully plotted escape that would send the RCMP on a nationwide manhunt, launching Danny Wolfe to headline-topping notoriety.
The Ballad of Danny Wolfe cinematically traces the storied years of Danny Wolfe's life, from his birth in Regina to his relationship with his mother, Susan Creeley, a First Nations woman who was forever marked by her experience in the residential school system; to his first brush with the law at the age of four and then his subsequent arrests; to the creation of the Indian Posse, the street gang he founded with a handful of equally disenfranchised indigenous friends; to the dissonance Danny felt between the traditional world he was born into and the criminal one that became his life; to the dramatic tensions over power and loyalty unfolding in the gang world and within the Posse itself.
Drawing on unprecedented access to the Wolfe family and first-hand accounts from the people closest to the gang leader, Joe Friesen's portrait of Danny Wolfe is at once riveting and timely, nuanced and provocative.
JOE FRIESEN is a reporter at the Globe and Mail. He began his career in the Toronto newsroom covering crime and went on to write a series on the Jane-Finch area called The Neighbourhood. In 2006 he was named Prairie bureau chief based in Winnipeg, and since 2010 has reported on Canada's changing population as the paper's demographics reporter. In between, he also covered the war in Afghanistan, the aftermath of terrorist attacks in London, and natural disasters in the US. Born in Winnipeg, he is a graduate of McGill University, Goldsmiths College London, and Ryerson University. He lives with his family in Toronto.
“The Ballad of Danny Wolfe is the first great book about our country’s indigenous street gangs in general, and the creation and rise of the Indian Posse in particular, that I’ve come across. Fascinating, balanced, and impeccably researched, this is a must-read for Canadians who better wish to understand the contemporary impact and fallout of our disastrous residential school history.” Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda
“The Ballad of Danny Wolfe is what you get when you combine the talents of Joe Friesen – a meticulous reporter, and an effortlessly graceful writer – with the unstoppably gripping story of one of the most daring, compelling and deadly criminals in Canadian and First Nations history. I dare you to put it down.” Ian Brown, author of The Boy in the Moon
“Joe Friesen’s impeccably written, exhaustively researched account of life within the Indian Posse street gang is an enthralling page-turner. Fast-paced and fascinating, you won’t be able to put it down.” Robyn Doolittle, author of Crazy Town
“An important, troubling topic deftly handled by an important journalist. The Ballad of Danny Wolfe is a triumph of journalism about a failure of society.” Peter Edwards, co-author of Business or Blood and author of One Dead Indian