Custer's Trials

Custer's Trials

A Life on the Frontier of A New America

Book - 2015
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Historian T.J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, demonstrating how much of Custer's legacy has been ignored. He refutes Custer's historical caricature, revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person -- capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years). The key to understanding Custer, Stiles writes, is keeping in mind that he lived on a frontier in time. During Custer's lifetime, Americans saw their world remade. In the Civil War, the West, and many areas overlooked in previous biographies, Custer helped to create modern America, but he could never adapt to it. His admirers saw him as the embodiment of the nation's gallant youth, of all that they were losing; his detractors despised him for resisting a more complex and promising future. He freed countless slaves, yet rejected new civil rights laws. He proved his heroism, but missed the dark reality of war for so many others. Native Americans fascinated him, but he could not see them as fully human. Intimate, dramatic, and provocative, this biography captures the larger story of the changing nation in Custer's tumultuous marriage to his highly educated wife, Libbie; their complicated relationship with Eliza Brown, the forceful black woman who ran their household; as well as his battles and expeditions. It casts new light on a near-mythic American figure, a man both widely known and little understood.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780307592644
0307592642
Branch Call Number: BIOGRAPHY 973.82 CUSTER 2015
Characteristics: xxi, 582 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm

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slowwriter
Jun 25, 2016

Likely the finest biography I have read, certainly the most thorough telling of this man's fascinating life.

r
rene1951
Nov 24, 2015

His last stand proves that a sufficiently incompetent officer can destroy his command, no matter how good. Archeological and eye-witness accounts available, if interested.

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