General Crook and the Western Frontier

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 386 pages
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General George Crook was one of the most prominent soldiers in the frontier West. General William T. Sherman called him the greatest Indian fighter and manager the army ever had. And yet, on hearing of Crook’s death, the Sioux chief Red Cloud lamented, "He, at least, never lied to us." As a young officer in the Pacific Northwest, Crook emphasized training and marksmanship--innovative ideas in the antebellum army.

Crook’s career in the West began with successful campaigns against the Apaches that resulted in his promotion to brigadier general. His campaign against the Lakota and Cheyennes was less successful, however, as he alternately displayed deep insight, egotism, indecision, and fear.

Charles M. Robinson pieces together the contradictions of Crook’s career to reveal that although the general sometimes micromanaged his campaigns to the point that his officers had virtually no flexibility, he gave his officers so much freedom on other occasions that they did not fully understand his expectations or objectives. Crook resented any criticism and was quick to blame both subordinates and superiors, yet Robinson shows that much of Crook’s success in the Indian wars can be attributed to the efforts of subordinate officers. He also details Crook’s later efforts to provide equal rights and opportunities for American Indians. General Crook and the Western Frontier, the first full-scale biography of Crook, uses contemporary manuscripts and primary sources to illuminate the general’s personal life and military career.

 

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Contents

Frontiersman
3
Indian Fighter
16
Volunteer Officer
29
The Shenandoah Campaign
47
Sheridan Takes Command
59
The Closing Battles
72
I Got Interested
84
A Sharp Active Campaign
104
A Bloody Campaign of Attrition
199
It is an Outrage
217
The Ponca Affair
232
Justice to AllIndians as Well as White Men
247
Geronimo
269
Division Commander
286
The Last Battle
301
Notes
313

The Grand Offensive
124
The Great Sioux War
159
Rosebud George
181

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About the author (2001)

Charles M. Robinson III is History instructor at South Texas Community College.

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