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Lakota Noon: The Indian Narrative of Custer's Defeat Hardcover – August, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


Lakota Noon is an exhaustively researched and provocative reassessment of Custer's Last Stand. Gregory Michno argues that the voluminous literature about this epic battle has not adequately explained what happened. He attributes this to the fact that there were no white survivors and to contradictions in the Indian accounts. The author acknowledges the problems with Indian recollections but believes "they are still of much greater value than secondary speculation." Michno uses the stories of the Indian participants to reconstruct the battle in ten-minute intervals. After each segment, the author perceptively scrutinizes the unfolding battle and identifies inconsistencies in the Indian accounts. Although Michno's time-line analysis is an innovative way of examining the confrontation, the repetition inherent in this approach may diminish the book's appeal to general readers. Michno disagrees with much of the conventional wisdom about Custer's Last Stand. He believes the number of Indian fighters has been exaggerated and that Custer was not defeated by overwhelming numbers. The author estimates the size of the Indian force at one-thousand. Michno maintains that Custer was a skilled military commander and "not at all the inept egomaniac that some have depicted." Michno superbly depicts the rich culture of the Indians but his empathy for them does not affect his critical judgment. The author's intellectual curiosity and integrity enrich this book. Michno's intriguing interpretation of events at the Little Big Horn will stimulate debate among historians and battle buffs. -- From Independent Publisher --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mountain Press Publishing Company; First Edition edition (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878423567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878423569
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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This book was well researched.
Danny LaMunyon
If you have an interest in the American West, the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the Indian Wars, Custer, or the Cavalry, this is a must read.
The Herculean task of trying to make sense of all the Indian testimony is done very well here.
J. G. Thoene

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Rory Coker on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
After sending his famous message to Benteen, "Big Village, Come Quick, Bring Packs," Custer and his men vanish from U. S. Army history. What happened thereafter was witnessed mainly by Custer's foes in the battle. Although huge numbers of Indian accounts have been collected in the roughly 125 years since Little Bighorn, historians have generally thrown up their hands at the gross contradictions, inconsistencies, confabulations and impossibilities found in the Indian accounts.
What Michno has done is to go through the published and unpublished accounts available, and fit them into a framework of time and space that actually turns out to make a fairly consistent picture of Custer's last battle. As several other reviewers have noted, there is a large piece missing from Michno's material, namely the accounts of the Indian scouts riding with the 7th Cavalry. It is very puzzling that this resource was ignored. However, that is the only real problem I found with the book. Michno uses the Indian accounts to explode a fairly large number of myths about the battle and its participants, particuarly Gall, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. He also winds up with the only really convincing version I have read of the disposition and movements of Custer's men during the various stages leading up to the classic hilltop "Last Stand."
In the past 50 years academic historians have largely retreated completely from any desire to find out or recount what "actually" happened in any historical event. Instead, the event is used only as the thinnest of pretexts to grind various ideological axes. Custer's defeat was being used in this way almost the second Libby Custer died, more than 70 years ago.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on October 31, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the great books on the Little Big Horn because it offers a fresh approach from the Native American point of view by consolidating their testimonies through time motion studies. Michno's book offers a different point of view that Custer stayed on his side of the river to stay in some visual contact with Benteen and Reno after the latter's retreat. That Custer hoped that he would draw the Indians to him while the rest of his command would appear in his rear to trap the Indians between two attacking units. He also demonstrates a new spin on Custer's movements that Yate's Battalion of E & F troops joined Keough's Battalion (C, I and L) on Nye Cartwright Ridge instead of Battleridge, that Yates went futher north and west than originally thought, that the Cheyene Lame Whiteman's backbreaking attack ocurred below Custer Hill and not against Company L on Calhoun Hill to the Southwest and that Keough's Company I's collapse caused the destruction of the south of Battleridge leading to the destruction of Custer's battalions. Mincho also adds disturbing insight that Reno and Benteen may have witnessed the destruction of Calhoun's command but not Custer's that was further north and still fighting when the two commands turned away. A lot of detail and testimony that makes Mincho's appraisal more believable because many of the testimonies substantiate each other and isolate those that appear to be exaggerations. And the testimonies trace the whereabouts and actions of Gall, White Bull, Sitting Bull, Wooden Leg, Two Moons, Crazy Horse, Lame Whiteman and many more participants.A good book to go with Utley's, Fox's and Gray's. They all cannot be right in every detail but reading them all brings you closer to narrowing the possibilities.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Thoene on November 5, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fine book stands with the few really well thought out accounts of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The Herculean task of trying to make sense of all the Indian testimony is done very well here. Michno's discussions at the end of each section helps point out what is plausible and what is not. Michno does not simply swallow as absolutely true all the Indian testimony (Indians could exaggerate and distort as well as Marcus Reno and Benteen could). The importance of this book is twofold in my opinion. It discredits (and rightly so) much of what Richard A. Fox claims in his archaeological study of battlefield shell casings, and it claims the fighting at Last Stand Hill went on a lot longer than the testimony at Reno's court of inquiry admitted. Obviously this has huge implications for Reno and Benteen, who, if true, were hardly blameless for the debacle, to put it kindly. See Lary Sklenar's analysis in "To Hell with Honor" to explore this aspect of the controversy. Just what did they see at Weir Point if Michno's theory is correct? One can only wonder. Highly recommended.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Perry D. Koslowski on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What happened at the Battle of Big Horn? There have been hundreds of theories. Which one is right? Gregory Michno's LAKOTA NOON provides all of us with a new version of what happened at the historical battle. Michno has written the history of the battle by time sequences of what happened by primarily using recorded versions of the battle from the victors' viewpoint. What recorded versions have we read in the past about General Custer's last battle? There were no survivors from Custer's troops. Reno's troops were far away and could not see the entire and complete defeat of Custer. That leaves the Indians. They fought both Reno and Custer. They saw it all. Michno has painstakingly researched the Indian's testimony of the actual details of the battles and has brillantly put them into the time sequence of the entire battle. He has also objectively shown which accounts are true and which appears to be false. He has done with a dedicated search for the truth. There are no omissions and wild interpretations of what happened to fit the author's theory of this battle in LAKOTA NOON. Every reader will find an author who successfully lays out new theories and new evidence of this famous battle. The reader will find LAKOTA NOON an exceptional work by someone who has expended many hours researching all the past theories of this battle with a dedicated attempt to provide his readers with the facts and an objective pursuit of evaluating all evidence to shed new light on a subject that has been written by many. Many will debunk Michno's masterpiece because it does not go in accordance with many outdated theories of the Battle of The Bighorn. But, if you are interested in this subject, you owe it to yourself to read something new and refreshing. It is truly new food for thought.
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