The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

3.3 238
by Nathaniel Philbrick, George Guidall
     
 

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Unabridged CDs, 11 CDs, 14 hours

The bestselling author of Mayflower revisits one of the most iconic and misunderstood stories of the American West.See more details below

Overview

Unabridged CDs, 11 CDs, 14 hours

The bestselling author of Mayflower revisits one of the most iconic and misunderstood stories of the American West.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A master storyteller's vivid take on "one of the most notorious military disasters in U.S. history."In the centennial year of 1876, President Grant, intentionally slighting George Armstrong Custer, placed General Alfred Terry in command of the Seventh Cavalry's campaign to force Sitting Bull's Sioux and Cheyenne followers out of the Black Hills and onto reservations. For Custer, the country's most famous Indian fighter, a greater indignity awaited. Philbrick fans, accustomed to his invigorating treatments of American history, will happily recognize an unaltered talent for fresh insight as he tackles one of the most written-about events ever: the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The author opens with an unexpected story about the riverboat journey of legendary pilot Grant Marsh up the Missouri and Yellowstone tributaries to provision the Seventh Cavalry and closes by following the harrowing return in the battle's aftermath that carried wounded soldiers to the Dakota Territory's Fort Lincoln. Philbrick (Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, 2006, etc.) dwells instructively on the importance of the strikingly peculiar landscape-the rolling hills, depressions, heat and dust that contributed so mightily to the usual fog of war. The author frankly acknowledges the difficulty of piecing together the battle's details, weighing contemporaneous accounts against those collected well after, resolving repeated inconsistencies as to how it unfolded. He establishes confidence in his judgments, however, by his meticulous portraits of the chief antagonists, rejecting caricatures of Custer, from blameless martyr to vainglorious fool, and of Sitting Bull, from murdering savage to Native-Americansaint. Philbrick supplements his nuanced appraisal of each man-they had surprising similarities-with deft depictions of subordinate players, including the drunken Major Reno, the brave but vindictive Captain Benteen and the calculating Terry, more responsible than any single individual, the author persuasively argues, for the calamity. A stirring, perceptive retelling of an endless fascinating battle. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky/Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency
Publishers Weekly
Philbrick here takes on an oft-told tale, replete with its dashing, flawed main character, its historically doomed, noble Native chief, and a battlefield strewn with American corpses. While off his usual stride with a surfeit of unnecessary detail, bestselling author and National Book Award–winner Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea; The Mayflower) writes a lively narrative that brushes away the cobwebs of mythology to reveal the context and realities of Custer's unexpected 1876 defeat at the hands of his Indian enemies under Sitting Bull, and the character of each leader. Judicious in his assessments of events and intentions, Philbrick offers a rounded history of one of the worst defeats in American military history, a story enhanced by his minute examination of the battle's terrain and interviews with descendants in both camps. Distinctively, too, he takes no sides. In his compelling history, Philbrick underscores the pyrrhic nature of Sitting Bull's victory—it was followed by federal action to move his tribe to a reservation. 32 pages of b&w photos, 18 pages of color photos, 18 maps. (May 4)
Booklist
[A] compellingly readable rendition of the famous battle . . . that should rivet [Philbrick's] audience.
Library Journal
After 2006's eye-opening account of the fanatical Pilgrims in Mayflower, Philbrick tackles another American legend. Neither the golden-haired general nor the Indian chief here is the bloodthirsty warmonger often portrayed in other accounts. Both are top soldiers and natural leaders zealously looking out for their respective peoples' interests. There have been so many contrasting accounts from both sides over the years that's it's difficult to get a truthful picture of what transpired on June 25, 1876, along the banks of the Little Bighorn River. There was also such infighting and backstabbing among Custer's senior officers that even their accounts are highly suspect. Philbrick therefore incorporates multiple perspectives for a very round portrait of events. Custer's fatal errors were in divvying up his already meager lot of mostly inexperienced troops into smaller units for a multiangled attack and launching an assault without first appraising the behemoth enemy force. VERDICT More than a detailed chronology of events—at which it excels—this book is an in-depth portrait of the two combatants—it's Sitting Bull's story as much as Custer's. Both shared tragic and triumphant lives indelibly woven into the fabric of American lore. Philbrick humanizes history, not only putting a recognizable face on the players in one of our nation's most notorious events but also providing insight into their hearts and minds. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/10.]—Mike Rogers, Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142427699
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/04/2010
Edition description:
Unabridged, 10 CDs
Pages:
1
Sales rank:
713,759
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Praise for Mayflower, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History

"Vivid and remarkably fresh...Philbrick has recast the Pilgrims for our age of searching and turmoil."
The New York Times Book Review

"A signal achievement. Philbrick enlightens and even astounds."
—Salon.com

Praise for Sea of Glory, winner of the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize

"Brilliantly told...has to be among the best nonfiction books of this or any other year."
Los Angeles Time Book Review

"A breathtaking account of one of history's greatest adventures."
Entertainment Weekly

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