Custer Survivor: The End of the Myth, the Beginning of the Legend

Custer Survivor: The End of the Myth, the Beginning of the Legend

by John Koster
     
 

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It has been recorded in official government records that there were no survivors of the five companies of the Seventh Cavalry who were with General George Armstrong Custer at the battle at the Little Big Horn. Recently, uncovered records and forensic handwriting evidence, the latter verified by forensic handwriting experts, reveal that one trooper, a sergeant in "C"…  See more details below

Overview

It has been recorded in official government records that there were no survivors of the five companies of the Seventh Cavalry who were with General George Armstrong Custer at the battle at the Little Big Horn. Recently, uncovered records and forensic handwriting evidence, the latter verified by forensic handwriting experts, reveal that one trooper, a sergeant in "C" Company of the Seventh Cavalry, actually escaped the onslaught of Sioux and Cheyenne. The author has tracked the man and his activity during the battle and has brought them together in Custer Survivor.Custer Survivor, through documented accounts recreates the scene from the Sioux and Cheyenne encampment the night before the battle through the action the following day, the remarkable "escape" of the wounded survivor, the aftermath of the battle and his fascinating life thereafter. Professor Louise Barnett, a fellow of the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Rutgers University, writes the Introduction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For decades, Custer's "Last Stand" at Little Big Horn has captured the American imagination. Remembered by some as the tragic result of imperialist policies and by others as a noble sacrifice for American expansion, the one thing everyone learns in school is that Custer's battle against Lakota and Cheyenne forces left no Americans alive. In this chronicle of meticulous research, handwriting analysis and document investigation, journalist Koster turns that myth on its ear: though a number of people claim to have fought at (and survived) Little Big Horn, Koster identifies the one reluctant claimant who actually did-Sergeant Frank Finkel of Company C. A carefully deconstructed historical mystery sure to thrill American history enthusiasts, Koster's narrative and methods are entirely transparent, presenting all the information and leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. Though Finkel's story isn't particularly dramatic, Koster's pursuit of the truth behind a great American myth makes for a compelling tale in itself.
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Library Journal
Over the years there have been a number of claims of survivors of Custer's battalion at the Little Bighorn in 1876, but none has held up under close scrutiny—until now. Journalist Koster (The Road to Wounded Knee) carefully reconstructs the life of Frank Finkel, second sergeant of C Company. He marshals all of the available documentary, historical, archaeological, and forensic evidence to show that the Frank Finckel born in Ohio in 1854 was the George August Finckle who enlisted in the Seventh Cavalry in 1872, the Frank Finkel who died in Dayton, WA, in 1930, and the "long sword" whom Rain-in-the-Face reported being told escaped the battle on a runaway horse and whom he saw in Chicago in 1893. Koster also tells how Finkel's desire to enhance his status and his second wife's efforts to erase all traces of his first wife, supposedly part Cherokee, misled researchers for decades but also kept Finkel's story alive. VERDICT This well-written and carefully reasoned argument is essential reading for scholars and students of the West and will be of great interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Custer and the Little Bighorn. Highly recommended.—Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933909127
Publisher:
History Publishing Company, LLC
Publication date:
10/02/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
222
Sales rank:
254,343
File size:
8 MB

Meet the Author

Koster is known for his thorough knowledge of Native American history which has been translated into German, Czech, Russian and Japanese. His first book, The Road to Wounded Knee(Bantam, 1974) won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Distinguished Public Service.

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