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Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

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 - Nathaniel Philbrick Did you hear the one about the military moron, the drunkard and the backstabbing subordinate?

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was such an unnecessary debacle that it might as well be a joke. But it's no joke. It's tragedy.

In the lead role of this tragedy is this boy...


He finished last at Westpoint and went on to become this ego maniac...


George Armstrong Custer made his career by daring and foolishly brave acts during the American Civil War, such as at the Battle of Gettysburg where his aggressive leadership at the head of a calvary charge turned the tide of the battle, while also obtaining the distinction/infamy of having lost the most men.

Custer the impulsive, irrational and cock-sure killer of plains indian women and children could also be conciliatory. He had his own kind of respect for the western tribes and at times attempted diplomatic resolutions to avoid conflict.

Nathaniel Philbrick, one the most popularly read modern historians, tries to get into the psychology of not only Custer, but all of the principle players in the Little Bighorn tragedy. He's done his research. He's sourced from the most credible accounts available. All of it seems to add up to plausibility, and yet Philbrick himself admits that almost nothing can be certain. After all, the few who survived the battle had their own agendas to consider and reputations to cultivate or at least repair. Therefore, eye-witness accounts vary. Were Custer's subordinates acting out of self-interest and would the battle have gone differently had that been otherwise? Philbrick continually questions who's to blame and who's telling the truth. Little Bighorn was a mass of confusion. It is unlikely the truth will ever be fully reveal. However, Philbrick's The Last Stand is an honest attempt to piece together as many factual fragments as possible to get closest to the most probable picture of truth.