From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Pulitzer Prize winner McMurtry continues to be an outstanding chronicler of western legend and lore. He has retained a long fascination with the myths surrounding General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn. This book is neither a comprehensive nor a conventional biography of Custer. Instead, McMurtry offers a series of vignettes and musings about various aspects of Custer's career, his personality, and the cultural milieu that led to his iconic status. Despite his interest in his subject, McMurtry often paints an unflattering and probably unfair portrait of Custer. He claims all of his officers despised him, which ignores his small but loyal core of supporters within the Seventh Cavalry. He suggests Custer lacked conscience, forgetting his principled but damaging (for him) testimony before Congress about corruption on Indian reservations. Still, newcomers to Custermania will find many of the tidbits very interesting, and that should encourage them to read more comprehensive biographies.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist McMurtry (Lonesome Dove) assesses the short life of Gen. George Armstrong Custer and Custer's ongoing role in shaping concepts of the American West. As a seasoned Western literary icon, McMurtry cuts through the immense body of Custer literature to write an engaging, often irreverent, biography for a 21st-century audience more familiar with pop culture than detailed academic accounts of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Contemporary documentary photographs and artwork (more than 150 color images) are used to great effect for providing historic context. McMurtry produces a balanced account of Custer's controversial life and death, keeping his comments relevant, succinct, and compelling. -VERDICT Strongly recommended for public and school libraries as a masterful and insightful biography, as well as a guide to the key historical sources about Custer. This text will be appreciated by both scholars and Custer enthusiasts, even though theories about whether the general's nature was inherently heroic, psychotic, or cowardly are not discussed here at any length.-Nathan E. Bender, Albany Cty. P.L., Laramie, WY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.