Custer

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 6, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 179 pages
22 Reviews
In this lavishly illustrated volume, Larry McMurtry, the greatest chronicler of the American West, tackles for the first time one of the paramount figures of Western and American history.

 On June 25, 1876, General George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry attacked a large Lakota Cheyenne village on the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory. He lost not only the battle but his life—and the lives of his entire cavalry. “Custer’s Last Stand” was a spectacular defeat that shocked the country and grew quickly into a legend that has reverberated in our national consciousness to this day.

Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurtry has long been fascinated by the “Boy General” and his rightful place in history. In Custer, he delivers an expansive, agile, and clear-eyed reassessment of the iconic general’s life and legacy—how the legend was born, the ways in which it evolved, what it has meant—told against the broad sweep of the American narrative. We see Custer in all his contradictions and complexity as the perpetually restless man with a difficult marriage, a hunger for glory, and an unwavering confidence in his abilities.

McMurtry explores how the numerous controversies that grew out of the Little Bighorn combined with a perfect storm of technological developments—the railroad, the camera, and the telegraph—to fan the flames of his legend. He shows how Custer’s wife, Libbie, worked for decades after his death to portray Major Marcus Reno as the cause of the disaster of the Little Bighorn, and how Buffalo Bill Cody, who ended his Wild West Show with a valiant reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand, played a pivotal role in spreading Custer’s notoriety.

While Custer is first and foremost an enthralling story filled with larger-than-life characters—Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, William J. Fetterman, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Red Cloud—McMurtry also argues that Little Bighorn should be seen as a monumental event in our nation’s history. Like all great battles, its true meaning can be found in its impact on our politics and policy, and the epic defeat clearly signaled the end of the Indian Wars—and brought to a close the great narrative of western expansion. In Custer, Larry McMurtry delivers a magisterial portrait of a complicated, misunderstood man that not only irrevocably changes our long-standing conversation about Custer, but once again redefines our understanding of the American West.
  

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Review: Custer

User Review  - David Wilkerson - Goodreads

A glorious literary career has come to this. Though it isn't a comeback as Larry has never stopped writing, Sugar Ray Leonard had more late career success. Somewhere around Dwayne's Depressed or the ... Read full review

Review: Custer

User Review  - Bill Shuey - Goodreads

McMurtry keeps this glimpse into the life of Colonel Custer brief, pointed, and informative with some obscure factoids and photos along the way. He doesn't get "out in the weeds" and chase rumors but ... Read full review

All 3 reviews »

Contents

Section 1
6
Section 2
15
Section 3
24
Section 4
25
Section 5
30
Section 6
44
Section 7
65
Section 8
98
Section 9
108
Section 10
134
Section 11
157
Section 12
168
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Bibliographic information