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Better Brother: Tom & George Custer and the Battle for the American West
     

Better Brother: Tom & George Custer and the Battle for the American West

4.6 3
by Roy Bird
 

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Had Tom Custer not been overshadowed by his more famous brother, he might well have become one of the more notable characters and military officers in the American West. Despite winning two Medals of Honor, his legendary feud with Rain-In-The-Face, the shooting scrape with James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok in Hays City and many other exciting incidents. Tom has taken a

Overview

Had Tom Custer not been overshadowed by his more famous brother, he might well have become one of the more notable characters and military officers in the American West. Despite winning two Medals of Honor, his legendary feud with Rain-In-The-Face, the shooting scrape with James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok in Hays City and many other exciting incidents. Tom has taken a back seat to George in the minds of readers and has held but marginal interest for historians -- until Now! Author Roy Bird takes us inside a life-long journey of an impassioned love-hate relationship of two brothers whose intense rivalry in hunting, military skills, business and even romance would span from their boyhood farm to their heroic end at the Little Bighorn, where they were, as always, together. Years of painstaking research has yielded more detail of Tom's life and adventures than ever thought possible while at the same time shining new lights into George's as well.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In THE BETTER BROTHER, Kansas-based historian Roy Bird draws on years of research to bring Tom Custer to the forefront… Fascinating.” —Wild West magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596527706
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
07/12/2011
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
767,714
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Better Brother

Tom & George Custer and the Battle for the American West
By Roy Bird

Turner

Copyright © 2011 Roy Bird
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781596527706

Tom was only sixteen years old when the war erupted in 1861. President Lincoln’s first call for 75,000 volunteers to fill the ranks  of a small regular army included some boys his age, but like many other Americans, Tom’s father believed the fighting would be of short duration, so Tom was kept at home in Monroe.
That did not prevent him from hearing glowing details of the army from Autie. Although he graduated last in his class at West Point with so many demerits that if the war had not broken out when it did he might never have received a commission at all, Tom’s brother became a second lieutenant in the Second United States Cavalry regiment.2 On a visit to Monroe in 1861, while he was on leave before joining his regiment, Autie really cut a dash in his cavalry uniform. He made a big impression on petite little Elizabeth Bacon. He also stirred up a hornet’s nest when he commenced courting her, for shortly after he began in earnest, he was seen tramping down Monroe Street, boisterously intoxicated—a matter which drew the attention of both Libbie’s father and his
own older sister, Lydia Reed.
Tom sniggered behind his brother’s back after he heard what Lydia did when it happened. Being a strict matriarchal figure, not to mention being firmly opposed to the use of alcohol, she was so disconcerted about the incident that there and then she extracted a promise from George, on his word of honor as an officer and a
gentleman, that he would never drink another drop of intoxicating liquor. Oddly enough, he never did after that day. That submission not only soothed Lydia but also helped to clear the way with the honorable Judge Bacon for George to court Libbie seriously.
But not for long. Tom and Libbie were each sorry to see George step onto the train that would carry him out of Monroe and their lives and into the first major battle of the war at Bull Run. Autie left his loved ones already a hero in their eyes. Tom was probably the only one watching him leave who understood that Autie noted the characteristics that people expected of a hero and cultivated that image. George possessed all the qualities of greatness admired by nineteenth-century Americans, and during the next few years he would use them to best advantage. He was faced with social and economic barriers to success, but in classic Horatio Alger style he overcame these walls, believing that individualism was the most important part of his own abilities. He mastered his environment and other men through his domineering will. No one, not even Tom, stood impervious to his authority.

Continues...

Excerpted from The Better Brother by Roy Bird Copyright © 2011 by Roy Bird. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“In THE BETTER BROTHER, Kansas-based historian Roy Bird draws on years of research to bring Tom Custer to the forefront… Fascinating.” —Wild West magazine

Meet the Author

Historian, fiction writer, professor, and longtime Custer researcher Roy Bird was born in Herington, Kansas. A graduate of Kansas State University and Emporia State University, he has written or edited more than a dozen books and over two hundred articles and short stories about Kansas and the American West. Roy is on the adjunct faculty at Washburn University. He and his family live on a farm near Auburn, Kansas.

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Better Brother 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always been interested in The battle of Little Bighorn,but have never read much about Tom Custer,very good so far!
ReflectiveRed More than 1 year ago
Tom Custer is buried in the national cemetery at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, just a few miles from my home and work. But we've never known much about him because of George Custer's overwhelming legend. It was great to finally learn about Tom, and gave us a great appreciation of our "next door neighbor".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like History this is the book for you.