What happened at Little Bighorn?

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American WestA Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn – the Last Great Battle of the American West by James Donovan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Donovan gave a very thorough description of the leadup to the battle of Little Bighorn and a detailed account of the battle itself. He also got into the blame game afterwards. I came away from the book with a better understanding of how the battle fit in with federal-Indian relations in the 19th century, and Donovan does well in helping the reader to understand the various whites and Indians involved in the story without romanticizing or demonizing either. There’s quite a bit more about U.S. military officers than the Indian leaders, presumably because there’s much more written down about Custer and his colleagues.

I didn’t get into the nuts and bolts of the battle as much as I might have, but Donovan really tries to provide as much detail as possible, supported by a huge number of footnotes. I might go back and re-read that section someday to get a better handle on it.

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