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The Killing of Crazy Horseby Thomas Powers
Synopses & Reviews
He was the greatest Indian warrior of the nineteenth century. His victory over General Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 was the worst defeat inflicted on the frontier Army. And the death of Crazy Horse in federal custody has remained a controversy for more than a century.
The Killing of Crazy Horse pieces together the many sources of fear and misunderstanding that resulted in an official killing hard to distinguish from a crime. A rich cast of characters, whites and Indians alike, passes through this story, including Red Cloud, the chief who dominated Oglala history for fifty years but saw in Crazy Horse a dangerous rival; No Water and Woman Dress, both of whom hated Crazy Horse and schemed against him; the young interpreter Billy Garnett, son of a fifteen-year-old Oglala woman and a Confederate general killed at Gettysburg; General George Crook, who bitterly resented newspaper reports that he had been whipped by Crazy Horse in battle; Little Big Man, who betrayed Crazy Horse; Lieutenant William Philo Clark, the smart West Point graduate who thought he could “work” Indians to do the Army’s bidding; and Fast Thunder, who called Crazy Horse cousin, held him the moment he was stabbed, and then told his grandson thirty years later, “They tricked me! They tricked me!”
At the center of the story is Crazy Horse himself, the warrior of few words whom the Crow said they knew best among the Sioux, because he always came closest to them in battle. No photograph of him exists today.
The death of Crazy Horse was a traumatic event not only in Sioux but also in American history. With the Great Sioux War as background and context, drawing on many new materials as well as documents in libraries and archives, Thomas Powers recounts the final months and days of Crazy Horse’s life not to lay blame but to establish what happened.
Investigates the enigmatic Native American figure, assessing critical battles attributed to his leadership within a context of the Great Sioux Wars, exploring the relationships between the Lakota Sioux and other tribes and analyzing the subjugation of North Plains Native Americans.
About the Author
Thomas Powers is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and writer best known for his books on the history of intelligence organizations. Among them are 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 most of the last decade Powers kept a 1984 Volvo at a nephew’s house in Colorado, which he drove on frequent trips to the northern Plains. He lives in Vermont with his wife, Candace.
Table of Contents
"When we were young, all we thought about was going to war" — "I have always kept the oaths I made then, but Crazy Horse did not" — "It is better to die young" — "Crazy Horse was as fine an Indian as he ever knew" — "A Sandwich Islander appears to exercise great control in the Indian councils" — "Gold from the grass roots down" — "We don't want any white men here" — The wild devils of the north" — "This whole business was exceedingly distasteful to me" — "I knew this village by the horses" — "He is no good and should be killed" — Crook was bristling for a fight" — "I give you these because they have no ears" — "I found it a more serious engagement than I thought" — "I am in constant dread of an attack" — "General Crook ought to be hung" — "You won't get anything to eat! You won't get anything to eat!" — "When spring comes, we are going to kill them like dogs" — "All the people here are in rags" — "I want this peace to last forever" — I cannot decide these things for myself" — It made his heart heavy and sad to think of these things" — "They were killed like wolves" — The soldiers could not go any further, and they knew that they had to die" — "It is impossible to work him through reasoning or kindness" — "If you go to Washington they are going to kill you" — "We washed the blood from our faces" — "I can have him whenever I want him" — "I am Crazy Horse! Don't touch me!" — "He feels too weak to die today" — "I heard him using the brave word" — "He has looked for death, and it has come" — "He still mourns the loss of his son" — "When I tell these things I have a pain in my heart" — "I'm not telling anyone what I know about the killing of Crazy Horse" — Afterword: "No man is held in more veneration here than Crazy Horse".
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Biography » Native Americans