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Custer's Luck

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2006

    Classic Study still available

    George Armstrong Custer has been referred to as the most famous American soldier. Nothing fans the light of fame like death in a spectacular manner. Custer was well known before he died, but when his death was announced just as the nation was about to celebrate its Centennial birthday, he soared into immortality. History has not always been kind to him, but whether seen as a glory- seeking fool or as a gallant trooper doing his job, Custer has never wanted for attention. This book, Custer¿s Luck, was first published in 1955. The author, Edgar Stewart, was well qualified to write it. Before gaining a professorship at Eastern Washington College, he had worked as an historical aide on the Crow Agency at the Custer Battlefield National Monument, where he had the opportunity to walk the ground and study all the documentation then available, and to provide insights that few others had the vantage point to then recognize. Much has been written about Custer and the Little Big Horn in the ensuing fifty years. Evan Connell and Robert Utley have both produced excellent biographies of Custer. Utley, Richard Fox and Robert Kammen have all produced excellent studies of the campaign told from an Indian perspective. John Gray¿s two books, Centennial Campaign, and Custer¿s Last Campaign: Mitch Boyer and the Little Bighorn Reconsidered, are now thought of as the seminal studies of Custer¿s role in the Sioux War. But Stewart¿s older account still has value. A great part of the book is devoted to explaining the underlying situation: the Treaty of 1868, the impeachment of Secretary of War Belknap, and the battles and massacres that led up to the march to the Little Bighorn. Only about 130 pages of this 500-page book are devoted to the march of the Dakota column and Custer¿s last fight. So if you want to learn the background, and to read an account of the fight that is factual, concise and unbiased, if a bit dated, this book will be a fine purchase.

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