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Nelson A. Miles and the Twilight of the Frontier Army Hardcover – March 1, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
This comprehensively researched biography serves as the definitive account of a major U.S. military figure. Nelson Miles (1839-1925) established himself between 1865 and 1900 as a successful "Indian fighter" as well as a military politician, becoming the Army's commanding general in 1895. However, his abrasive, contentious personality made him many enemies. According to Wooster, a professor of history at Corpus Christi State University in Texas, Miles's unbroken record of victories in the Plains Indian Wars reflected tactical skills, concern for logistics and an ability to inspire the men under his command. Miles was also a vociferous critic of the corruption, incompetence and brutality that accompanied the government's Indian policies. Too much a part of his milieu to transcend it, he was an archetype, symbolizing the best and the worst of the Old Army. Illustrations not seen by PW. History Book Club selection.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Wooster has written a detailed biography of the last commanding general of the U.S. Army. Miles's career was long and colorful: he began serving in the Civil War, went on to distinguish himself in many Indian campaigns, and finally participated in the Spanish American War. His often abrasive and stubborn ways kept him at odds with official Washington and lost him favor with Theodore Roosevelt. Details about his many battles, his role in capturing Chief Joseph and Geronimo, and his personal life make this informative and interesting reading. Wooster (history, Corpus Christi State Univ.) gives readers insights into the settling of the West and into the politics of the day. The work is well documented and researched and should have appeal to the serious student.
- Dorothy Lilly, Grosse Pointe North H. S. Lib., Mich.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
His service during the Indian Wars is similarly complete. He participates in the Red River campaign against the Cheyenne, the Sioux War of 1876, captures Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce, Apache War Chief Geronimo and is present for the Wounded Knee Campaign. In 1895 he is promoted to Commanding General of the US Army just in time to lead America's war against Spain where he is responsible for the capture of Puerto Rico.
But for as many supporters as he had to help him on his inexorable climb, he had just as many detractors. The General, it seems, enjoyed intrigue. Worse he had a big mouth, one large enough to match his ego. He made enemies easily. True, the old army had intense rivalries and frustrations but Miles always seemed to be on the outs with someone or some faction. Perhaps it was just his nature to fight.
This is a well written biography that spans the pivotal events of the final 40 years of the 1800s. It is about a most querulous person, a man most appropriately described by Theodore Roosevelt as "the fighting peacock."
Although Robert Wooster starts out well in describing the beginning of the incredible military career of General Miles, the book devolves into a seemingly personal diatribe that casts General Miles in the role of "A vainglorious and vindictive man", who "suffered a less than favorable reputation among fellow officers competing for honors." (quote from Robert Wooster's introduction to "Personal Recollections and Observations of General Nelson A. Miles, Volume 1, University of Nebraska Press, 1992)
General Miles was a true and glittering hero of the Civil War, and, by grit and determination, he literally ended the Indian wars which no other general at the time was able to do. Eventually he became a pacifist. He tried to improve the plight of the conquered Native American tribes and became adept at ending conflicts by using intelligent diplomacy.
It was hard for me to understand why Robert Wooster would choose to smear the career of a man long gone from this earth who so brilliantly served his country. To me, Robert Wooster went beyond accurate reporting of the life a historical figure and, instead, chose to use General Miles' Life in some personal agenda of his own. It sounded like propaganda by the end of the book.
I was quite upset to find that Robert Wooster had written the introduction to the 1992 University of Nebraska Press edition of General Miles' book, "Personal Recollections & Observations of General Nelson A. Miles, Vol. 1". This introduction was a shortened version of Robert Wooster's book with his usual crabby complaints against General Miles'. Rosemary
Most recent customer reviews
A long hard slog. The problem with a biography of Miles is that he had a long life but peaked early, so the action ended halfway through.Read more