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George Armstrong Custer

A Military Life

George Armstrong Custer


$14.95, Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941813-23-2

"It's said that 'good things come in small packages.' This certainly applies to Sandy Barnard's latest book, George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life, a title in the South Dakota Biography Series. The author has produced a compact, readable, and balanced volume on Custer. His introductory chapter could stand alone in redefining the life and legacy of this controversial soldier in light of the changing racial and political demographics of today in which Custer could easily be forgotten. . . . [Barnard] covers enough details to make the ongoing controversies understandable. Also, his concluding chapter on the battle's aftermath helps us to understand why the Little Bighorn was news then and controversial even now."—Vincent A. Heier, The Battlefield Dispatch

On 25 June 1876, a combined force of Lakotas and Northern Cheyennes defeated the troops of the Seventh United States Cavalry Regiment on the bluffs overlooking the Little Big Horn River in Montana. This disaster for the United States Army resulted in the deaths of 267 cavalrymen, including their famed commander, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

Since his demise at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer has been a symbol for the federal government’s bloody conquest of the Great Plains. Custer’s military career, however, went beyond the Indian wars of the 1870s. In the Civil War, Custer made his name as a bold and aggressive cavalry commander. After 1865, he led troops during Reconstruction in the South and explored the Black Hills for the federal government in addition to his well-documented conflicts with American Indians.

George Armstrong Custer: A Military Life explores Custer’s life and highlights the complex nature of his experiences and legacy. Yet as Barnard makes clear, Custer was one of many army officers and soldiers who took part in these struggles. Still, Custer’s role in the Indian wars of the late nineteenth century has turned him into a notorious figure. Barnard looks beyond the myths surrounding Custer to reveal the influence he had on the frontier army and the West in addition to his symbolic legacy.

sdbioseries.jpgGeorge Armstrong Custer: A Military Life is the seventh book in the South Dakota Biography Series, which highlights some of the most famous figures in the state’s history.

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