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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling history, a really good read
Crazy Horse and George Custer were leaders. They led by example, they led by acclamation, and they led driven by a desire to shape the future of their people. They lived their lives in parallel until the fateful day when they met on the grassy hills of the Little Big Horn. A meeting that was a significant historical mark in the final closing chapter of the free Indian...
Published on November 15, 2001 by Terp Allan

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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed
Clearly, this book is not Ambrose's finest work. It added nothing new to the library of books written about these two characters; rather, Ambrose's portrayal was fatalistic, over-romanticized, unrealistic, and in places, inaccurate. If you are looking for information about Custer, Crazy Horse, and the Little Bighorn, there are much better sources.
I've given the...
Published on January 15, 2000 by Valerius Maximus


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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling history, a really good read, November 15, 2001
By 
Terp Allan (Bethesda, MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
Crazy Horse and George Custer were leaders. They led by example, they led by acclamation, and they led driven by a desire to shape the future of their people. They lived their lives in parallel until the fateful day when they met on the grassy hills of the Little Big Horn. A meeting that was a significant historical mark in the final closing chapter of the free Indian nations in what is now the territory of the United States. Steven Ambrose offers again one of his masterful historical tales in a compelling read. George Custer's legend is well earned. He was a larger than life individual. Crazy Horse most likely wanted to raise a family, but the events of his day precluded a peaceful life. Ambrose captures the spirit and style of their lives while retelling the history. Forget watching the fanciful movies. This book is another creation that only Steven Ambrose could create - a history book that is as compelling a read as the best action thriller novel. ENJOY!
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambrose Brings History to Life!, December 29, 1997
By 
Kcoruol (Florence, SC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
Stephen E. Ambrose really brings history to life in this book about Custer, Crazy Horse, and the culture of plains indians and American expansionism. Ambrose is able to elquantly put down on to paper both sides of the story without becoming bogged down in what is so popularly reffered to as politically correct revisionist history. After reading this book I really feel as though I have a much better understanding of both the indian side of the story which is to preserve their way of life as well as the unstoppable expansion into the west. Anyway no matter who's side you take Custer's or Crazy Horse's it's a great book and was fun to read.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites, December 15, 2001
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This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
I enjoyed Ambrose's approach of following the lives of natural leaders in different cultures. It was interesting the see how each culture, Americans in the late 1800s and American Indians, picked their leaders. The research is thicker on Custer, due to the vastly more complete written record. The history of Crazy Horse is based more on oral history of events long since passed. Pay no attention to reviewers that say this is not "the historical book on Custer." A book does not have to be a 1200 page tome to be a great book. Ambrose makes history vibrant and meaningful, a trait lost on most academic historians.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both protagonists were fleshed out for me., January 17, 1999
This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
Even though I have read Connell's "Son of the Morning Star", I felt Ambrose fleshed out both characters for me. I loved "Morning Star". I felt like I was sitting in a great old cowboy bar in Montana talking to a wonderful story teller. Like most great yarn spinners, Connell gets sidetracked easily, but unlike most, he always comes back to where he started. The side trips were always enlightening and stimulating, even if a bit distracting by their constant appearances. Ambrose's book reminded me of the best college classes I have taken-a wonderfully prepared instructor who does a marvelous job of telling his story in a linear and organized way. Having watched numerous interviews of Ambrose on TV, it was easy for me to hear his voice in his writing. I especially gained from his background of both characters. I lived near a Sioux reservation in Montana when growing up and I returned to teach on that reservation when I first left college. I know a fair bit of their history and culture. Ambrose added to my knowledge. Likewise with Custer. His early years and the time at West Point are passed over quickly by most authors, but Ambrose fleshed him out into a 3-D character. To paraphrase a bumpersticker my basketball players gave me "Custer deserved what he got", but I sure understand better how he came to be on the "Greasy Grass" thanks to Ambrose. I do not consider Connell and Ambrose to be competitors, I feel they are both major contributors to a most interesting piece of Western History.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambrose Brings Both Crazy Horse And Custer Back To Life, October 22, 2003
By 
Taos Turner "Books Rock" (Greeley, Colorado United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
This is simply the best history book I have read in years. If you like American history you will like this book. If you like history and have visited Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota, you will probably love this book. If you like Native American history and/or happen to be a Civil War buff, you will treasure this book and not want it to end.
Stephen Ambrose was a marvelous historian. He told real life stories with the skill of a master fiction writer. His characters are gripping, quixotic and often of enviable character. This was the case with Crazy Horse and Custer.
If you want to learn about what it was like to live as a Native American on the high plains in the 19th century, this book is for you. If you want to know what it was like to be a U.S. soldier during or after the Civil War, this book is for you. If you want to read a story about valor, integrity, dignity, tragedy and pain, this book is for you. The story of "how the West was won" is sad and heartbreaking at times. But so is life, and so is much of the history of history of the United States. Life, like history, can also be extremely exciting and adventursome. In this book, Ambrose brings both Crazy Horse and Custer back to life so that we may live their adventures with them as they make history.
Ambrose is exceptionally fair in his analysisof both men. He is partial to both the Native Americans and the U.S. soldiers who often brutalized them. He paints a picture that is, by all accounts, historically accurate and incredibly interesting. Ambrose makes it possible to see the good and bad in both Crazy Horse and Custer. He shows their strengths and weaknesses, allowing readere to draw their own conclusions about the nature of their conflict.
There are few historians who have the talent to research and write with equally admirable skill. Ambrose has done both in this wonderful book. If you are interested in American history, read this. If not, read it anyway. It may inspire within you a new interest in history. It did for me. It may also inspire you to visit a part of the U.S. so beautifully described in this book. Reading this book is like taking a trip to South Dakota or Wyoming, or even into the inside of a Tee Pee or onto the field of a Civil War battle. You will feel surrounded by countless thousands of wild buffalo. You will feel as if you were in the middle of fight on the plains of Colorado. Once you begin this trip, you may not ever want it to end.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, informative, authoritative and enjoyable reading, August 30, 2011
By 
Thomas A. Fenton (Walton, Kentucky, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
In "Crazy Horse And Custer", Stephen E. Ambrose has demonstrated why he is considered to be one of the premier historians in America today. Using numerous quotes and writings, Ambrose presents the parallel lives of two of the best known men of the 19th century, enemies whose basic personalities might have made them great friends under different circumstances, or in a different time and place. With his own style of writing, Ambrose both entertains and informs, amazes and awes his audience.

Following his two leading characters, Crazy Horse, the "wild" and fiercely independent Indian warrior, and George Armstrong Custer, the "civilized" and cultured but also fiercely independent soldier, we are taken from each's birth to their death, through a maze of culture and circumstances. We meet both men at their best, and at their worst, see their dreams and hopes, their fears and their confidences. We see what makes them strong and what made them "crazy". (I speak of the kind of crazy that leads men to do crazy, stupid things at times.) And, as Ambrose weaves his tale, we begin to understand this period of history and its events better than before we began. We also learn much about other players in this drama, some well known, and some seldom seen.

Some critics have said that Ambrose presents nothing new. This may be technically true for someone who has read dozens of books on the subject of Little Big Horn and Custer and/or have made their own studies on these men. However, for someone who has not, like myself and many others, Ambrose's work is a marvelous read. As far as this reader and student can tell, "Crazy Horse and Custer" is unlike any other available work on the subject, in that the historian has done all the work and drawn comparisons from his many resources not available to the average reader.

This reader is thoroughly pleased with what Ambrose has produced and considers his time well spent. Further, this is the third of his works I have read, and I have not been disappointed yet. If you want a literate, understandable, educational and entertaining reading experience, you cannot beat Stephen E. Ambrose's book, "Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives Of Two American Warriors." You just might see something of yourself in one or both of these two men. I did, and I am not sure I quite expected or liked what I saw. But, I learned from the process, and that is a big part of the reason I read.

Five stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Jumps Off the Written Page, December 5, 2005
By 
Bob Hoff (Carlsbad, NM) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen Ambrose tells a story that I just could not put down. Ambrose's details bring many of events (clash of cultures, railroads, politics, social customs, legal affairs, honesty and deceit, bravery and cowardice, on both sides etc.) of the period into attention-demanding focus, as he describes the backgrounds and the values, the goals and the abilities, of the two warriors. While the information about Custer and his wife (and other Army events and personalities) is interesting and provocative, I found Crazy Horse the more sympathetic and admirable of the two men. In fact, I now want to read Crazy Horse: The Strange Man Of The Oglalas by Mari Sandoz to find out more about Crazy Horse and his culture.

The book is excellent for demonstrating the value of understanding the varied viewpoints of the different participants in a common struggle for "doing what they think is right."

This book also cites Frontiersmen in Blue (1973) by Robert M. Utley, a very well done and interesting overview of the U.S. Army and their efforts to push aside Native Americans in the name of American progress. This is a book that I read many years ago, but enjoyed pulling it out for reference as I read Ambrose's work recently.

It has been three years since Ambrose died; though I wish that we could have had him as an historian "longer," I am glad for what he has left us in the form of his excellent historical storytelling.

I recommend that you read this book; Ambrose will make your "peek into the past" exciting, vivid, and compelling.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reveals a blind spot, October 11, 2000
This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
It's been years since I read this book, but it has stayed with me. Beyond resparking an interest in American frontier history that began in childhood, it also gave me a much more balanced view of Crazy Horse and especially Custer than I had before. Ambrose, as in his books about Lewis and Clark, WWII, and the building of the transcontinental railroad, has the ability to make you feel that you are living the history as you are reading. Some have disparaged this as "popularizing history", but I say it is a gift. To quote David McCullough, another fine historian and biographer, "There is only one secret to writing and teaching history. Tell stories." Why do you suppose that students today, even those at our finest universities are largely ignorant of history? It's either not required at all or it's taught as a compendium of names, places, and dates in a way that's so deathly dull that only the most self motivated student who is willing to do extra reading and research on his or her own would find it interesting. I've gotten way off the subject here, and for that I apologize. But that comment about "popularizing history" got to me.
To get back to "Crazy Horse and Custer", it's a very fine book. The only problem I had with it is that in harping about the U.S. government's failed, if halfhearted, effort at genocide and his assertion that Native Americans were simply in the way of inevitable western expansion, Ambrose fails to differentiate between physical and cultural genocide. The physical genocide obviously failed, but cultural genocide very nearly succeeded.
Despite that caveat, if you are interested in the history of the Indian wars and especially the history of these two very different and yet remarkably similar men, "Crazy Horse and Custer" is is a must read.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Intro to the Topic, From a Beginner, February 17, 2001
By 
Norm Zurawski (Millington, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
I got this book as a gift and I just finished it recently. I have to say I loved the book...a lot. Before this book, I had absolutely no knowledge of this history and now I find myself starving for more.
The reason, however, that I cannot give this 5 stars is because of the other reviews I read here. After viewing some of them, I begin to realize that Ambrose does indeed contradict himself in various points when he says things such as, "The Sioux generally had no leadership and thus was the doom of the culture as the future would show us." He then turns around and says something to the effect that, "Crazy Horse led his troops amazingly well in outflanking Custer..."
You see the problem here. Ambrose does indicate enough that this was out of the ordinary for the Sioux in general. But to say that it happened only one day out of the hundreds of years of this culture's existence is certainly, as one other reviewer has mentioned, a romantic view.
After reading someone say that Ambrose's book is a romantic view of the situation, I would tend to agree in part to that. But then again, Ambrose goes through great pains to not make this a biased and unfair recollection of the times and lives of these two very interesting men. He does also tell us when he is guessing. I think Ambrose is fair, knows his limits, and does a great job retelling the story that he obviously painstakingly researches.
Those are my complaints about the book. On the other hand, I could not put this down. I found the book, from cover to cover, riveting and if anyone is looking for an introduction to the subject matter, this is definately the book to get. I have already ordered more material on this.
I will say again that this is my first book read on the matter. In time, I may come to think of this as trash or one of the best books ever written about the subject. I cannot say. So take this review for what it is.
One reviewer who gave this book 2 stars (who, by the way, was the reader who made me think twice about giving this a high and mighty rating) said that this is a good book for beginners...only if it makes you go on to read better and more accurate stuff. That is exactly what it has done for me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new perspective, August 23, 2007
This review is from: Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors (Paperback)
I have been a big fan of Ambrose and have read most of his books. I grew up in Montana and was aware of "Custer's Battlefield". The name was changed from Custer's Last Stand to the Battle of the Bighorn. Very appropriate.
Ambrose opened my eyes to the policy of the government as it related to the "Indian Wars". He does a great job in positioning both Custer and Crazy Horse throughout their lives and how they were destined to meet in SE Montana.

This book helps me understand how the Native Americans were treated and mistreated during the opening of the west.

If you are a history fan, I encourage you to read Stephen Ambose's works. His details allow you to put yourself in the shoes of an observer to history. Check out Undaunted Courage if you want to see the world through the eyes of Lewis and Clark.
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Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors by Stephen E. Ambrose (Paperback - May 1, 1996)
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