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The Killing of Crazy Horse Paperback – November 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Powers (The Man Who Kept the Secrets) details the rise and untimely fall of the Lakota's most famous warrior in this richly detailed, sensitive, and evenhanded portrayal. Little known before his stunning surprise victory over Custer's 7th Infantry at Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse (ca. 1840–1877) became the strongest opponent of white incursion on Indian land in the Black Hills, revered for his strategic brilliance and bravery. Opposed to any concessions that would remove his people from their land, Crazy Horse terrified the American military as well as those Indian leaders who considered cooperating with the U.S. government's demands. Drawing on firsthand accounts by soldiers and officers, settlers and Lakota, the author assembles a savvy analysis of the conflicting interests and worldviews at play, highlighting the cultural and political misunderstandings that led to the (most likely) accidental slaying of the Lakota leader as he surrendered to U.S. forces at Camp Robinson. Numerous conflicting versions of what happened in Crazy Horse's final minutes are handled with aplomb by the author, as is the warrior's shifting legacy in the decades after his death. (Nov.) (c)
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 Bookmarks Magazine
Less a biography than the study of a lost way of life, Powers’s sprawling chronicle uses the great Lakota warrior as a springboard to examine the history and culture of the Sioux tribes. Simultaneously, Powers rectifies the biased inaccuracies of a historical record that has traditionally treated the murder of Crazy Horse as “something between a footnote and an afterthought.” Drawing on extensive fieldwork and a dizzying amount of firsthand sources, Powers vividly describes the personalities, politics, and conflicts that shaped the era and defined the troubled relationship between Native Americans and the U.S. government. Some readers may be overwhelmed by Powers’s exhaustive research and persistent (if fascinating) digressions, but most will find Crazy Horse “a rich and worthwhile read” (Oregonian). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I thought the context that Powers used to describe the Custer fight was especially interesting. After taking you through Crook's Battle of the Rosebud, there is only the mention of a dusty cloud from the direction of the Little Big Horn area a week later as Crook and his command are licking their wounds after their fight. The Custer fight is described in a later chapter as Crook and Sheridan are off on a hunting and fishing trip in the vicinity of the Little Big Horn battle.
Some reviewers have complained about the infinite detail, which is, in my opinion, a strength. However, if you dont have some familiarity with the material to begin with this many not be a good place to begin.
Power's detail into the relationships of members of the Sioux families together with their interface with the white trappers, adventurers , soldiers, translators and scouts tells the story of what actually occurred to bring about the destruction of this once proud Indian Nation. Power's research is so outstanding that he seems to have personally absorbed the Sioux culture, language, relationships, spirituality, pride and passions and then realistically tells the tale in a captivating style. The context is so strong it seems that Powers was present in the teepee, on the battlefield, smoking the pipe, on the Powder River, at the Sun Dance and at The Killing of Crazy Horse.
Unique in its approach, Powers relates the story through the voices of the Indians, the families of Sitting Bull , Crazy Horse , Red Cloud, and the half breeds who served both the Indians and the military often in duplicitous and self dealing fashion. General Crook's role as the major facilitator in the demise of Crazy Horse delves into the personality and motives of the man who so influenced the fate of Crazy Horse and the northern tribes.
The story of the Oglala Sioux and Crazy Horse can not be told without Custer and the Little Big Horn. I have read much of this historic event but never before have I seen this epic through the eyes of Crazy Horse and the Sioux themselves, present on the Little Big Horn Battlefield that day.
Every word counts in the very best of non-fiction writing and The Killing of Crazy Horse meets this standard on each page. Crazy Horse: " I am no white man! They are the only people who make rules for other people who say, if you stay on one side of this line it's peace, but if you go on the other side I will kill you. I don't hold with deadlines. There is plenty of room, camp where you please."
In his Afterword, Powers perfectly captures this reader's reaction to his work: " My effort here has been to tell the story in a way that helps readers to experience its weight and quality-the feel of it." Powers words " the feel of it " become abundantly apparent.
The Killing of Crazy Horse eclipses all expectations of " the feel of it," learning from the people, places, triumphs and tragedies of the Oglala Sioux.
Thomas Powers is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. He has also written Intelligence Wars : American Secret History from Hitler to al-Qaeda; Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb; and The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA.
For more go to gordonsgoodreads.com
The author earned my respect by being respectful of his subject (and the people he turned to for a great many answers) and, at the same time, sparing the reader from any political correctness which might have ruined the integrity of this story. Thankfully, Powers stayed true to his goal: a respectful telling of the story. It doesn't hurt that the man can write like a house on fire! Passages from this book will haunt you for a long time.
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"highlighting the cultural and political...Read more