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Western Frontier Library #68: Our Centennial Indian War and the Life of General Custerby Frances Fuller Victor
Synopses & Reviews
Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer was widely known as a Civil War figure, author, and successful cavalry leader before his spectacular defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 by Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Indians. His actions—and those of his troops—would have been of public interest even without their final, bloody outcome. A ready audience of readers was hungry for information about the engagement and about their fallen hero when Frances Fuller Victor's book appeared in spring 1877.
Published even before the Great Sioux War had ended, Our Centennial Indian War and the Life of General Custer was the first contemporary and comprehensive account of the successive army operations in 1876 and early 1877. It was a major accomplishment. Victor drew information from a wide range of sources—including personal letters, war correspondents' dispatches, and government documents—to explain the lengthy, disjointed struggle between the army and the Lakota-Cheyenne coalition. She also offered one of the earliest biographical assessments of Custer, its most noted military participant.
Compared to other period writings, Victor's narrative is smooth and dispassionate, devoid of conjecture and judgment. In addition, her account contains rare Indian perspectives on the Little Bighorn battle, including Lakota testimony that has not previously appeared elsewhere. Featuring an introduction by historian Jerome A. Greene, this edition of Our Centennial Indian War provides a remarkable window into contemporary thinking about an iconic event
Book News Annotation:
Part of the long running series of Western frontier titles from the University of Oklahoma press, this volume reprints in its entirety an 1877 volume, the first contemporary account of the last campaigns of General George Armstrong Custer and his infamous defeat at Little Big Horn. Noted for its unbiased approach, historical fluency and collection and use of primary source material, including Native American sources, the work was popular at the time of its original publications and formed an important basis for future studies of Custer. This volume includes an introduction by Jerome Greene, a research historian for the National Park Service. The work was "Originally published as a concluding element of Victor's Eleven years in the Rocky Mountains and a life on the frontier, 1877." Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Published even before the Great Sioux War had ended, Our Centennial Indian War and the Life of General Custer was the first contemporary and comprehensive account of the successive army operations in 1876 and early 1877. It was a major accomplishment. Victor drew information from a wide range of sourcesincluding personal letters, war correspondents dispatches, and government documentsto explain the lengthy, disjointed struggle between the army and the Lakota-Cheyenne coalition. She also offered one of the earliest biographical assessments of Custer, its most noted military participant.
About the Author
Frances Fuller Victor (1826-1902) was a writer and historian who wrote prolifically, and sometimes without due acknowledgment, on the history of the American West, especially the Pacific Northwest.
Jerome A. Greene is retired as Research Historian for the National Park Service. He is the author of numerous books, including Stricken Field: The Little Bighorn since 1876, Battles and Skirmishes of the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877: The Military View; Lakota and Cheyenne: Indian Views of the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877; and Morning Star Dawn: The Powder River Expedition and the Northern Cheyennes, 1876, all published by the University of Oklahoma Press.
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