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Turn the Stars Upside Down: The Last Days and Tragic Death of Crazy Horse

Overview

For more than a decade one man struck fear in the hearts of U.S. soldiers on the frontier: Crazy horse, the great Oglala Sioux leader, who destroyed Custer at Little Big Horn, fought Crook toe-to-toe at the Rosebud, and outwitted and outran the Cavalry across the windswept plains where as a child he had played. Now, on a cloudless day in May, the legendary warrior rode toward the soldiers who had been his enemy for so long. In 1877, Crazy horse surrendered to a young lieutenant,...

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Turn the Stars Upside Down: The Last Days and Tragic Death of Crazy Horse

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Overview

For more than a decade one man struck fear in the hearts of U.S. soldiers on the frontier: Crazy horse, the great Oglala Sioux leader, who destroyed Custer at Little Big Horn, fought Crook toe-to-toe at the Rosebud, and outwitted and outran the Cavalry across the windswept plains where as a child he had played. Now, on a cloudless day in May, the legendary warrior rode toward the soldiers who had been his enemy for so long. In 1877, Crazy horse surrendered to a young lieutenant, and tale of betrayal and murder began.

In this powerful, moving account of the last days of Crazy Horse, Terry C. Johnson weaves a saga of warriors, lovers, peacemakers, traitors, war, and suffering among the innocents on both sides. Most of all, this is the story of one man—a mystic, a fighter, a father and husband—whose last journey was as fateful and dramatic as a life lived without surrender.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Marking a hiatus from Cries from the Earth and Lay the Mountains Low volumes one and two of a projected trilogy based on the Nez Perc? War of 1877 this 16th western in the author's long-running Plainsmen series recounts Crazy Horse's surrender to the U.S. Army at Camp Robinson, Neb. Here the western historian diligently attempts to set straight the diverse and highly questionable account of the shameful events leading up to Crazy Horse's mortal stabbing while he was resisting incarceration in an Army guardhouse on September 5, 1877. The perfidy begins scarcely a day after Crazy Horse's surrender, when the U.S. decides not to honor its promise to give him an agency to the north. It is further compounded when the Army reneges on its pledge to allow him to take a hunting party to gather meat to see his people through the winter. When Crazy Horse is offered the opportunity to scout for the Army to quell a new Nez Perc? uprising, he responds eagerly, but a malevolent interpreter bearing an old grudge misquotes him as saying, "we will go north and fight until a white man isn't left." With his credibility undermined by the jealous old Chief Red Cloud, even his friends turn their backs on him. Crazy Horse seeks asylum at his uncle Spotted Tail's agency but is seduced to return, unaware that the Army intends to send him to Florida in chains. Laying bare another chapter in our nation's ignominious history of lies and broken promises in dealing with the Indians, this is a discomfiting chronicle. At times the narrative is bogged down by repetition and unnecessary detail, but fans of the Plainsmen series shouldn't be disappointed. Author tour. (Aug. 14) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A spiritual swan song in the Plainsmen series from frontier novelist Johnston (Wind Walker, 2000, etc.), who died March 25 in Billings, Montana. Bittersweet about the West, and with a heart ripped from a bloody Big Sky sunset, Johnston conveys in steely prose a chill, rain-bitten vision of overarching tragedy. It's 1877, the old hunting grounds have been surrounded and stripped of buffalo, and there's little left worth fighting for after Crazy Horse's defeat of Custer at Little Big Horn. Seeking to understand Crazy Horse at a more complex level than the traditional portrait of a strange mystic granted a tragic vision quest, the author retraces his subject's footsteps and sucks up his life from the deep snow and the land itself. He goes beyond the image of the undefeated leader who in triumph surrendered his Lakota to the Army to find the flesh-and-blood man, who nonetheless looms larger than a mere mortal and in no way surrenders his mythical status. Every wise word Crazy Horse speaks seemingly comes through a fist pressed hard against his chest. The story turns on his death, variously reported, which Johnston renders as a tragic passion play, with Crazy Horse bayoneted from behind, "the crimson of sunset" on the guard's blade. Says Johnston: "He is a thousand winds that still blow." Can't beat that. Author tour
From the Publisher
"Johnston's books are action-packed...Lively, lusty, fascinating." — Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph

"Compelling...Johnston offers memorable characters, a great deal of history and lore about the Indians and pioneers of the period, and a deep insight into human nature."—Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312982096
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2013
  • Series: Plainsmen Series , #16
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 244,109
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Johnston was born on the Kansas plains in 1947 and has lived all his life in the American west. His first novel, Carry the Wind, won the Medicine Pipe Bearer's Award from the Western Writers of America and his subsequent books have appeared in bestseller lists throughout the country. He lives and writes near Billings, Montana. There are over five million copies of Johnston's books in print.

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Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2012

    The series of the Indian Wars is the best I have ever read.

    The series of the Indian Wars is the best I have ever read.

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