The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota Historyby Joseph M. Marshall
The saga of ?Custer's Last Stand? has become ingrained in the lore of the American West, and the key players?Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and George Armstrong Custer?have grown to larger-than-life proportions. Now, award-winning historian Joseph M. Marshall/b>
The author of The Journey of Crazy Horse presents a legendary battle through the eyes of the Lakota
The saga of ?Custer's Last Stand? has become ingrained in the lore of the American West, and the key players?Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and George Armstrong Custer?have grown to larger-than-life proportions. Now, award-winning historian Joseph M. Marshall presents the revisionist view of the Battle of the Little Bighorn that has been available only in the Lakota oral tradition. Drawing on this rich source of storytelling, Marshall uncovers what really took place at the Little Big Horn and provides fresh insight into the significance of that bloody day.
America's westward expansion in the 19th century was far from a foregone conclusion to the thousands of indigenous peoples, whose ancient way of life lay in its path. Historian Marshall (The Journey of Crazy Horse; The Lakota Way), who was born on South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux Reservation and has long chronicled the traditions and perspective of the Great Plains tribes, explains the context and the painful aftermath of this major turning point in his people's history. His careful description of the Greasy Grass Fight of 1876 (or the Battle of the Little Bighorn) overturns the popular misconception that the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne warriors' victory over the U.S. Seventh Cavalry was a "fluke" or, worse still, "a massacre." Yet he also registers the enormity of the change that followed—including forced settlement, assimilation and dependency—when Crazy Horse surrendered his rifle to a U.S. Army officer less than a year later. Chapters alternately emphasizing strategy, weaponry, beliefs, lifestyle and other areas lend a fractured quality and some redundancy to the narrative. But Marshall's thoughtful reflections and rich detail (much of it drawn from the oral stories of unidentified Lakota elders) also immerse the reader in the experience of a once free people wrestling with an uncertain destiny. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
- Penguin Publishing Group
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Meet the Author
Joseph M. Marshall III, historian and storyteller, is the author of six previous books, including The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Award in 2002. He was raised on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation and his first language is Lakota. Marshall is a recipient of the Wyoming Humanities Award. He makes his home on the Northern Plains.
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The title is so true. The title can't be more true. One of the best of the battle and the people. A combination of books would put it together more, but this one should be on the lineup to read. Many nights of reading were well fulfilled.
While the book has a few chapters on the Battle of Little Big Horn (or Greasy Grass Creek as the Lakota refer to it), it is really more about the history of the Lakota and how Little Big Horn fits into the bigger picture of Lakota history. It was very valuable to read history from a Lakota perspective, and you can't help but feel terrible about the way history played out. When I travel out West I just have a deep sense of sorrow that things happened the way they did - there seems to be so much land - it just seems like there should have been enough space for the Indians and the U.S. government to work things out in a way that was much more just for the Indians. To me, the two biggest tragedies in U.S. history are slavery and the way things happened with the Indians. But at the same time, while the author is understandably critical of the Eurocentric version of history that we all learn, he does the same thing from the opposite side. His take seems to be that the Lakota (and their allies) won at Little Big Horn because they were simply smarter, stronger, faster, braver, better horsemen,.... and that Custer and the rest of his ilk were just pure evil. I understand the bitterness he has for the way things played out, but I think Sitting Bull and some of the other Lakota leaders were right in understanding that white westward migration was pretty much inevitable and the Indians were helpless to stop it in a lot of ways. - - - So the history we learn paints the white settlers as the "good guys" and the Indians as the "bad guys", and the author paints the Indians as the "good guys" and the white settlers as the "bad guys". I don't think either is accurate.
I just finished reading "Day the World Ended at Little Big Horn," and found it to be quite informative as to the reasons why and how the United States decided to try and eradicate or assimilate the Plains tribes, especially the Sioux tribes. I had also just completed writing a paper for a Masters course in Social and Cultural Concerns in School Counseling, using the North American Indians as my target population, and especially those living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I believe that many people have grown up with or been encouraged to look at the American Indians as the "bad guys" in the nation's westward movement and expansion through the so-called Manifest Destiny thanks to many western movies and TV shows. Remember, most American tribes were just reacting to those who wanted to take their land and eliminate their way of life and eventually their culture. You be the judge.