Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers

The Killing of Crazy Horse (edition 2010)

by Thomas Powers, John Pruden (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
219853,142 (3.98)1
Title:The Killing of Crazy Horse
Authors:Thomas Powers
Other authors:John Pruden (Narrator)
Info:Tantor Media (2010), Edition: Unabridged CD, Audio CD
Collections:Read 2012, Your library
Tags:Non-Fiction Historical Fast

Work details

The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Honestly, I don't know whether I'm getting dumber with each passing year, or if this book was extremely dense, but it took me forever to get through it. It was really good, and it was worth the effort, but boy, I had to be on top of the thing all the time to keep all the information straight. And I even went into it with a reasonable grasp of the issues, events and players, which I thought would help but apparently not.

The author goes back to A LOT of source material to flesh out the events of the Sioux Wars and the factors that ultimately resulted in the killing of Crazy Horse in 1877. Most of it was fascinating, he really assembled a lot of different view points and overall, did a great job of connecting the dots without making any wild leaps or assumptions. It all came together as a really informing study of this era of US history. Of course, in addition to being informing, it was also maddening because, just, urgh, the unfairness of it all was tangible. I mean, at literally every turn. EVERY TURN.

My biggest issue with the book was a choice to break with a roughly chronological structure and give the detailed account of Little Big Horn after Crazy Horse's (and others) eventual acquiescence and agreement to end the war. At this point I thought I was losing my mind, because I knew it happened and was wildly flipping back through the book because I thought I missed it while in some fugue state (it could happen). In retrospect, I see the point - it IS the dramatic part, and I can see the rationale of putting it in the order that the US forces learned of the details of the battle so I guess it works as the big reveal. But still, I needed some sort of clearer framework to let me know this was what was happening.

There were a few other things I would love to ask the author about - on the top of that list, is the fact he used Sioux a lot more than is usual these days (given that it's not the name these people used for themselves). He does mention it, but then continues to casually throw it around a lot, in addition to (understandably) keeping Sioux as it was used in contemporaneous accounts.

I thought this was a terrific book, but it is a commitment. I would recommend to folks who are already fairly familiar with this topic and looking for a deeper perspective. ( )
  delphica | Jun 9, 2015 |
Five hundred and ninety-two pages might seem like a long autopsy report on the killing of Crazy Horse. But as any good inquest, the author realizes context is all-important. Thomas Powers devotes a good three-quarters of the book to the Plains Indian wars out of which Crazy Horse rose to become the leader he was. When it comes to the final quarter of the book, the narrative telescopes down to greater and greater detail that led to the murder of Crazy Horse--from day to day, to hour by hour, to minute by minute, to almost second by second.

Who carries the guilt for the death of Crazy Horse. Those who only know the story in its simplest terms come to the simplest of conclusions. But--as is true in any real-life story--the reality is quite complicated. There were of course members of the US military who held ill-will against Crazy Horse. But there were fellow chiefs of Crazy Horse who also did. Conversely, there were military officers who wept upon hearing of Crazy Horse's death, sharing the grief of many of his people. In the end, a lot of confusion characterized the actual event. The death likely came about as unplanned action under very tense circumstances.

No biographer has ever been able to get a good handle on the mysteriously charismatic leader who was Crazy Horse. And that's true here, too. In the book's opening sections about the Plains wars, Crazy Horse disappears for chapters at a time. Crazy Horse will probably always remain an enigma. But if the literature on Crazy Horse is destined ever to suffer a certain incompleteness, this book at least does a worthy job of filling in a good part of the gap. ( )
  kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
Although the title seems to limit the scope of this book, it actually ranges much more widely. It describes many of the conflicts between the Sioux and the white settlers and the various personalities involved. Although the structure of the book seemed a little disorganized at times, I especially enjoyed learning about Indian scouts and translators who played such an important role in these events but are often overlooked. ( )
  proflinton | Sep 11, 2014 |
"The Killling of Crazy Horse" is a thoughtful, meticulously researched account of one of the most shameful moments in U.S. history. Power's account is all the more powerful for giving a nuanced portrait of the major players involved (General Crook, William Garnett, Sitting Bull) and life on the Plains in the 1870's. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
If I have one hero among all the characters that have been a part of my country's history, it’s Crazy Horse. I know, he was on the other “side”. But he was on the side of right, of self-defense, and of justice. Although not a genre of literature I generally read, I’ve read more “biographies” of him than any other person. That includes the classic and romanticized one by Mari Sandoz, and the books by Kingsley Bray and Winfred Blevins. I use quotes on the word biography because so much of what is written is speculation, misinterpretation, outright falsehood and cover-up, or just plain conflicting memories. Even by the time of Sandoz’ book in 1942, the number of people that actually knew Crazy Horse, or knew people that knew him, and would talk about him were few.

Thomas Powers tries to establish what actually happened when Crazy Horse was killed as well as the events that led up to the tragic event. He does not assign blame and tries to share the multiple recollections of the events along with as much background as possible to understand bias and motive in those recollections. To do this he used all the materials he could get his hands on, including much new material that wasn’t available or used by the previous authors. From that point of view, this is a meticulous retelling of the killing. Fortunately, he is also able to keep it from reading like a research paper. The history flows along with events and narrative but is backed up by copious notes at the end of the book. At this point, I think he may have closed the book on the life of Crazy Horse. With the Lakota, there is not going to be any discovery of any significant new sources. No letters in the attic, memoirs, or diaries on the Lakota side. The Killing of Crazy Horse is as factual as we are going to get, this is the definitive account of the end of a great man.

On a personal level, while I can never resist another book on Crazy Horse, it was hard to read. On the one hand, I can never get enough of Lakota life in general and of Crazy Horse himself. But on the other hand, there is no way to spin a happy ending for him and his people. No matter how many times you read of his bravery and brilliance in battle, you know he is going to be bayoneted while being held by his “friends”. It’s depressing knowing your hero is going to get it in the end. And you even know how his people fare for the next hundred years. But at the end of the day, he wasn’t “whipped”, he inflicted the worst defeat to date on the U.S. Army, and he never surrendered. He simply came in when his people did not want to fight anymore. He “came in for peace” and was unwilling to go out to fight the Nez Perce that were fleeing for Canada. In the end, he believed the assurances of the officer(s) dealing with him, and was literally stabbed in the back. Heroic stuff. Might is not Right. ( )
  jveezer | May 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375414460, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Investigates the enigmatic Native American figure, assessing critical battles attributed to his leadership within the 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
58 wanted1 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.98)
1 1
3 3
4 12
4.5 1
5 5


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,840,630 books! | Top bar: Always visible