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Custer and the Great Controversy: The Origin and Development of a Legend Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0803295612 ISBN-10: 0803295618 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803295618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803295612
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,603,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian W. Dippie is a professor of history at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the author of Custer’s Last Stand: The Anatomy of an American Myth, also a Bison Book.

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Customer Reviews

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A useful and straightforward introduction.
Bomojaz
The best part of this chapter is the discussion about the last four crow scouts to see Custer particularly the debate over when Curley departed from Custer.
Daniel Hurley
"Custer and the Great Controversy" is very highly recomended to students of the battle.
D. S. Thurlow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on July 15, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Early book by the great western writer Robert Utley provides a brief description of the Indian situation that evolved before the LBH and then he provides an abbreviated but well described sequence of battle events. Utley then describes the press' role in developing the story that caught General Sherman and Sheridan off guard as Sherman provides Terry's second controversial report to a reporter by accident. Utley describes the fireworks that arises between Custer supporters such as his old classmate Confederate Rosser and Reno and other military men such as Colonel Hughes, Terry's adjutant and relative. The controversy is even made even more complex by the chapter spent on the Indian's version of events that has elements of truth combined with confusing facts or half truths perhaps aggravated by poor translations and the Indians unique individualistic versions of battle that lack time and spatial realities. Finally, Utley tackles a number of the mythical stories about Custer and the LBH including Frederick Whitacker's quick print and fanciful book on Custer that became a best seller. The best part of this chapter is the discussion about the last four crow scouts to see Custer particularly the debate over when Curley departed from Custer. An excellent book that frames the controversies about Custer's battle which also explains the fascination, nothing is totally certian but amongst all the testimony and physical evidence, somewhere lies the truth.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John D. Mackintosh on July 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Anything by Robert Utley is indispensible, especially when it comes to Custer as he wrote CAVALIER IN BUCKSKIN, probably the best biography of the man. Also to his credit are the official NPS Little Bighorn Battlefield guide, a biography of Sitting Bull, and numerous other Custer/Indian Wars/Western history books.
This book is primarily focussed on an examination of the immediate aftermath of the Little Big Horn and how the various lines of controversy were established that still echo (unresolved) and are with us today. These include Did Custer Disobey Orders? Was Reno a coward when he fled from the valley fight? Were both Reno and Benteen negligent in not responding to Custer's written order for the packs, an order with an audible reminder of the gunfire four miles away that, two days later, the men on Reno Hill learned signalled the end of Custer and his command. All of the seeds of future books and endless debates were firmly planted by the end of the 1870s, topped off with the Reno Court of Inquiry. Excellent insight into that event and some of the second-hand talk and gossip sorroundingsthe officers who testified and why they may have said what they did. Utley is his usual dispassionate, detached self as he explores these issues in his highly engaging writing style.
Originally published in 1962, the book concludes with Utley's brief commentary on most of the major battle books published up to that time. One can only wish that this section were revised and updated. Lacking that, we can all look forward to the autor's CUSTER AND ME, due in October 2004.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on September 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Despite its age (it was first published in 1962) this book is probably the best of the scores of books available to start with for those interested in exploring the ever elusive and controversial life of George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Utley, while steering clear of making judgments of his own ("I do not aspire to offer the last word on the subject"), lays out the scene of the battle, shows how the press and early writers colored events and created heroes and villains, looks at the Indian side of the story, and discusses some of the myths that have gone into creating the Custer Legend. The Custer literature is prodigious in amount, and tends to be either Custerphilic (pro-Custer) or Custerphobic (anti-Custer). Again, Utley refuses to take sides, but points out that virtually every "fact" regarding the battle and its participants issues up opposing interpretations. This short book gives a powerful sense of what the student of Custer and especially the Little Big Horn is up against. A useful and straightforward introduction.
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