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Abcs of Custer's Last Stand: Arrogance, Betrayal and Cowardice Hardcover – June 30, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0912783383 ISBN-10: 0912783389 Edition: first
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Upton & Sons; first edition (June 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912783389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912783383
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,446,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arthur C. "Art" Unger was born in Brooklyn, NY and currently resides in Huntington, NY with his wife Grace.

He graduated from Brooklyn College, with a BS in Accounting. During his business career he has worked for American Airlines, Butler Aviation International, ABC Air Freight. He had a private accounting and tax services practice, a financial consulting company, owned and operated a commercial collection agency, served as a turn-around manager and Bankruptcy Trustee. He is currently retired from business and devotes his time to writing.

Art belongs to the Little Big Horn Associates, Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Assn., Inc., and the Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee.

The author was one of the foremost private collectors of Custerianna. His collection included a vast library, with many rare first editions, artifacts, autographs, ephemera, including original diaries, journals and letters, memorabilia and photographs, many of which were believed to be unpublished.


His fascination with George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn began with a book report he prepared in the fourth grade. He has since spent nearly fifty years trying to unravel the mystery which shrouds of the events that occurred on June 25, 1876.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on January 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a blunt straightforward account of the Little Big Horn with no holds bared. It reminds me a great deal of Graham's great work the "Custer Myth" which provided a ton or resource material from all sides of view, Indian, scout and military participants. But Unger uses more recently discovered material such as the famous Maguire (Gibbon's engineer) map that apparently was altered many times at the time of the Reno trial, new documents written by Benteen only discovered in the 1950's and many accounts of participants both Indian and military to show what happened on the day that a 1/3 of the 7th cavalry met their death. Utilizing Walter Camps extensive references, comments and map by Philo Clark the great Indian interpreter, the Reno trial transcripts, and various Indian testimonies, Unger makes one of the strongest cases that Reno and Benteen failed Custer and left his battalion to fight the Indians alone. Includes several new perspectives and questions such as Daniel Kanipe, the next to last messenger or deserter? Was Reno drunk during the battle? Did General Merritt allow the Reno trial to be a whitewash? Why did the pack train commander not know of Kanipe's mission? Why did companies

C and I wait on the ridges behind Custer's attacking column? Were they holding for Benteen who was given the last message? Unger makers a strong case that Custer did actually attack at Medicine Trail Coulee and that it was not a feint or just a change of mind to utilize a ford further down. Unger does an impressive chronology indicating where all Custer's units were at any one time and although suggesting that Custer was on the attack when he moved north as Fox suggests, he disagrees with Fox by stating that Custer was under great pressure from the start particularly when Reno abandoned the field.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Claud Wolf on March 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Well, Whittaker would be proud! If you are looking for a middle-of-the-road approach to the Custer Myth, this isn't it. Unger is so pro-Custer that it behooves me to quote long dead historian Fred Dustin: "had spread too deeply to be corrected in the minds of the great body of people whose silly hero worship of Custer has not ceased to this day."

Well, every good drama needs a villain, and Reno and Benteen are the traditional scapegoats of the battle. Some of it is most certainly true. I have yet to find anybody that can find much praise for Reno. In fact, anything that does not damn him for a coward and a drunk sounds apologetic! He was in way over his head, and that is hard to dispute. He may not have been the poltroon Larry Skelnar portrays him as- scared to death, finding only solace in heavy drinking- but then again, he was close to it during those days in Montana.

My fun is watching the Custer supporters take aim at the all-time favorite Custer villain and Bad Man, Capt. Frederick Benteen. If there is an 'anti-Custer' it is most certainly he. History, a few writers, and a stubborn widow made the Benteen legend. Everybody seems to want to prove that Custer, the Greatest and Most Awesome Indian Fighter Of All Eternity could have whupped them redskins if only....well, if only Capt Benteen had saved him. Here is where it all breaks down.

For a quick review, Reno is sent charging down the valley to engage the hostiles.. and he did that. If you think he was really going to 'charge' as in an old fashioned calvary charge, read up on the calvary at that time. They were mobile infantry, much like the Polish Army in 1939.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By me on April 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First of all, the author is one of the biggest Custeriana collector in the world. The book is full of exhibits (Maguire's first map ever drawn, original orders, original maps) and pictures of the men of the 7th cavalry you probably have never seen. The cover is also a great artwork.

This book is a deep, serious Inquiry about the battle full of primary sources. The result is a fascinating collect of evidences against Captain Benteen and Major Reno and the whole army, which built a big cover-up to hide the betrayal. The amount of testimonies, papers, orders by Native Americans and Americans about the battle and the responsabilities of the disaster make this book one of the best ever written on Custer's Last Stand.

You won't be disapointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By brvheart on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
ABC's of Custer's Last Stand: Arrogance, Betrayal and Cowardice
Arthur C. Unger
In Arthur Unger's words, "This book was intended to be the long needed vindication of the actions of George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Its purpose, also, was to chastize his subalterns Reno and Benteen who betrayed him and to expose Generals Sheridan, Terry and Crook's culpability in the debacle, which effectively left Custer and his Batallion alone to fight the entire Lakota Nation." Unger uses mostly primary source documentation to lay out a chapter by chapter review of the background of the Battle of the Little Big Horn and his view of the culpability of the participants involved. In this Unger uses the testimony of those that examined the battlefield shortly after the battlefield and the surviving participants involved. The appendix is filled with the telegrams and maps that provide evidence for his arguments including the original Maguire and Philo Clark maps of the battlefield. He even goes through a history of how the Maguire maps were altered for the Reno Court of Inquiry. Unger does not spare Custer for his decisions he made during the battle, but does put the ultimate blame for its lost on his subordinates. In the end at the RCOI, according to "General Jesse M. Lee who was the Recorder [or Prosecutor] at the Reno Court of Inquiry, told Walter Camp on October 27, 1912 that:
'...Gen. [Wesley] Merritt, who drew up the conclusions of the Reno court of Inquiry, said to him when the decision was announced:
'We have politely cursed him (Reno) and whitewashed it over.'"
I found if of interest to note that both Major Reno (November 24, 1879) and Captain Benteen were both eventually Court Marshialed for drunk and disorderly conduct.
I would recommend this book for any serious student of the background of the Little Big Horn.
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