From Publishers Weekly
What if Gen. George Armstrong Custer had won the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn after all and had emerged a national hero? That is the question Skimin (The River and the Horsemen) poses in this vividly imagined alternative history. As Skimin reminds the reader, Custer led a charmed life, at least until his famous last stand. As a fighting soldier, Custer's "luck" saw him safely through the Civil War, court-martial, scandals, failed investments, and Indian wars (almost). In this fictional universe, the general's luck holds much longer. After defeating the Sioux and Cheyenne at Little Bighorn, Custer becomes the most popular man in America. Full of himself and ever the opportunist, surrounded by brothers, nephews and sycophants, he begins to envision a political career. Aided by a ruthless newspaper tycoon and political powerbroker, and with a crooked charlatan as campaign manager, Custer runs for the presidency in 1880. He demolishes his opposition, and is swept into the White House on an imperial expansion platform called "The New American Empire." Determined to make the U.S. the most powerful nation on earth, Custer intends to annex Mexico, absorb Canada and kick Spain out of Cuba. Opposing him are two enemies, his hated army rival, congressman Frederick Benteen, and a vengeful Sioux warrior named Red Elk, who has a special score to settle with the general. From the smoke-filled rooms of Tammany Hall to the perfumed boudoirs of several famous mistresses, the ornery Custer manifests unexpected political acuity and a stinging authority that scares and threatens even his supporters. Of course, Custer's luck will run out, but getting there is all the fun in this preposterous and highly entertaining yarn of fame, politics and power.
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Award-winning author Skimin and Texas Judge Moody, who edits Research Review
Journal of The Little Bighorn Associates, deliver a fascinating what-if historical fantasy. (Skimin went this route earlier with Gray
Victory , in which the Confederacy wins the War between the States.) Now, he and Moody have made the golden-haired George Armstrong Custer, always a legend in his own mind, the winner at Little Bighorn. This alternative Custer is a figure of such enormous popularity that, eventually, he is swept into the Oval Office, where he quickly becomes a saber-rattling chief executive and declares war on Spain. The novel's fascinating subplot, about Sioux war leader Red Elk, whose wife dies at Little Bighorn and who dedicates the rest of his life to avenging her death, could have been a novel all by itself. An outstanding story, both as fiction and as historical speculation. The authors make us believe that it could have all happened just the way it is presented here. Budd ArthurCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved