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The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History Paperback – September 27, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In one of the first Penguin Lives biographies (1999's Crazy Horse), novelist Larry McMurtry drew on what scant facts he had to craft a brief and rather novelistic look at the legendary Lakota warrior. Here, Lakota author Marshall (The Lakota Way; Winter of the Holy Iron) draws on a rich Native American oral tradition to carefully and lovingly "unfold the life of Crazy Horse as a storyteller would." The result is a vivid, haunting biography that acknowledges the author's boyhood hero worship but avoids hagiography. Raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, Marshall recalls hearing his grandfather share stories of battles fought 75 years earlier against "Long Hair," the Lakota name for Gen. George Custer, vanquished at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Marshall reveals Crazy Horse as loyal son, spurned lover, instinctive warrior, doting father, compassionate hunter and natural leader, one who "reluctantly answered the call to serve" and "literally had no desire to talk about his exploits." Marshall sidesteps blood-and-guts combat scenes, emphasizing the larger picture of the Indians' defiant, doomed struggle, as settlers and miners flooded the Great Plains of the Sioux tribes between the 1840s and the 1880s. This book adds spirit and life to our understanding of this enigmatic and important man.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Marshall's portrait of Crazy Horse builds on Mari Sandoz's 1942 biography of the great Lakota leader. Using his skills as a historian along with the oral histories Marshall collected from the children and grandchildren of contemporaries of Crazy Horse, he freshly characterizes the charismatic leader. The author of The Lakota Way (2001), Marshall seeks the man behind the legend; accordingly, less attention is paid to Crazy Horse's battlefield exploits than to his leadership qualities. Although Crazy Horse's famous taciturnity makes him an elusive subject, Marshall does a good job of bringing Crazy Horse to life by examining all his milestones: the boy's early military training by High Back Bone; his doomed love for Black Buffalo Woman; his role as leader of one of the last remaining bands wishing to retain their traditional ways. Marshall includes a few reminisces of his own Lakota boyhood, which reveal some nice parallels. A highly readable, as-accurate-as-the-record-allows study of the nineteenth-century's best-known Lakota chief. Rebecca Maksel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143036211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143036210
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph M. Marshall III was born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation and holds a PhD from the reservation university, which he helped to establish. The award-winning author of ten books, including Hundred in the Hand, The Lakota Way, and The Journey of Crazy Horse, he has also contributed to various publications and written several screenplays. His first language is Lakota, he handcrafts primitive Lakota bows and arrows, and he is a specialist in wilderness survival. Marshall's work as a cultural and historical consultant can be seen and heard in the Turner Network Television and Dreamworks epic television miniseries Into the West.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on December 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have read authored by Joseph M. Marshall, a Lakota Sioux. Based on this effort on Crazy Horse, I plan on reading others as well. Stereotypes are cast aside regarding the Lakota Sioux who were fighting an enemy that threatened their cultural way of life. It was the Fetterman Fight in December of 1866 in which Crazy Horse demonstrated his leadership by luring William Fetterman and his eighty men from Fort Phil Kearny into a trap that led to the demise of his entire group while young warriors, fighting impatience, waited until all of Fetterman's men were within the trap before attacking the soldiers. Much has been written about The Battle at the Little Bighorn in Montana in which Crazy Horse was instrumental in the defeat of General George Custer, but little is written about The Battle of the Rosebud near Buffalo, Wyoming, in which Crazy Horse and his men fought General George "Three Stars" Crook eight days prior to Little Bighorn. This battle is important because it eliminated Crook and his men from attacking the Indians at the Greasy Grass. Crazy Horse ultimately had to surrender at Fort Robinson in Nebraska because it meant the survival of his Lakota people. To continue fighting meant death to all against the superior numbers of the white invaders. I have read three other biographies on Crazy Horse, but this one by Joseph Marshall is the best of the bunch. Marshall puts himself in the position as an instructor of the Lakota way of life, and we, the reader, are his students. I found it to be a very informative book.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Of all of the great Native American leaders of the Old West, none is more elusive than Tasunke Witko, Crazy Horse. While we have photographs of Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Gall, Rain in the Face, Chief Joseph and Geronimo, no image of Crazy Horse, the legendary field general of the Lakota, exists or has survived.

Past efforts at providing a credible literary portrayal of the man have reeked of the mythology that pervaded Western History. All through those accounts the stereotype of supposed ruthless savagery lingered in the background, like a vile stench. Even those authors who tried to be fair couldn't, somehow, rise above the temptation to sensationalize Crazy Horse.

Why is it that we tolerate such fiction? Why is it that we succumb to the temptation to paint all of our enemies, past and present, as demons and devils without honestly trying to understand where they were coming from? Sadly, this continues to be the major problem when whites (of whom I am one) contemplate the bloody history of conflicts between their ancestors and Native Americans. We just can't seem to let go of the prospect that we were the ones that were wrong!

Now Lakota author, Joseph Marshall III, provides a sensitive account of the life of Crazy Horse drawn from the rich Native American oral tradition that still exists for all who are open-minded enough to hear it. What better way and who better to tell the story of a hero? THE JOURNEY OF CRAZY HORSE: A LAKOTA HISTORY relates the life of Crazy Horse, as Mr. Marshall promises in his foreword, as a Native American storyteller might.

What emerges is the story of a good man, a man who, for his part, fought for what he believed was right.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my third Joseph Marshall book (after "Soldiers Falling into Camp" and "The Lakota Way"). Reading Joe Marshall is like having a "story teller" right in front of you, talking, teaching, engaging, looking you in the eye and speaking to you. Mr. Marshall cares about what he writes about, and cares that his readers take something with them. This clearly comes through in his writing. In this book he speaks of the "conflict" between the oral and written traditions -- I think Mr. Marshall is a master at synthesizing the two.

The Lakota history and experience he imparts are as genuine as it gets - and a treasure he has given us non-Lakota people a chance to see. The book describes, through synthesis of oral history and the experiences/culture of the Lakota people, the man of Tashunka Witko (His Crazy Horse). Marshall shows how the life of a very heroic yet very human man transcends linear time and remains part of living culture through faithful oral tradition and living into that tradition - something very different than what we're used to. Direct sources with the people who lived and continue the live in the influence and experience of a leader of the Lakota people.

ADDENDUM 2007
I am respectfully submitting this addendum in response to a broader re-assessment. I agree with the review from Belgium about Mr. Marshall's overbroad & negative characterization in applying "Euro-American" as a pejorative. In Mr. Marshall's newest publication "Little Bighorn," this overarching negativity towards on Euro-American culture, which he continuously contrasts to his own (which is always without any faults), is even more evident. I regret that I hadn't seen this in my initial reading of the Crazy Horse book (Marshall's feelings were not as strongly presented in this volume).
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