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My Life on the Plains by George Armstrong…

My Life on the Plains

by George Armstrong Custer

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204190,558 (3.38)2
When General Custer led his troops to annihilation in the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, he was possibly the most notorious Indian fighter the army had known. In his own time, he achieved much of his fame as a daring soldier through his own published accounts of his adventures. Indeed, in My Life on the Plains, originally published serially in the Galaxy magazine starting in May 1872, Custer displays the flamboyance and glamour generally attributed to him by others. Covering the years 1867-69, the period of most extensive military activity against the Plains Indians, Custer's book tells of the newly reorganized Seventh Cavalry's operations on the frontier. When published, it aroused fresh controversy over the Battle of the Washita during the Winter Campaign of 1868. In fact, Custer so vigorously denounced the "humanitarians" espousing the "Indian peace policy" that one of those named by him--General W. B. Hazen--defended his reputation in a pamphlet issued in 1874. Hazen's rebuttal, entitled "Corrections of Life on the Plains," is appended to this volume.… (more)



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Custer fairly recounts the words of Black Kettle's sister, Mawissa, on the occasion of surviving one of Custer's massacres: "[S]he began the delivery of an address which for wisdom of sentiment, and easy, natural, but impassioned delivery, might have been heard with intense interest by an audience of cultivated refinement." [358] Custer is not content to merely ignore her plea for justice and mercy, but he manages to reveal his own lack of character by trivializing the confidence and esteem the delegation offered.
This work was carefully edited by Custer's wife. It does not appear to have helped; she must have suffered the same infirmities of character.
Reading the words of this warrior one can only wonder at his Quaker -- Pennsylvania Dutch -- background. Like Napoleon, he graduated at the bottom of his class of cadets. He displayed little competence with technical operations or subjects. However, he entered combat with a personal zest and physical exuberance that was unmatched by any but the Indian warrior himself. At the end of the Civil War, with his indefatigable fiery spirit he had made himself the youngest General of the War.
Custer tells the many stories of his life, as if it is a stage play. Theatrical, impersonal, unlikely, and always at the expense of others. If anyone doubts that the United States was forcibly wrested from a bronze people, who, in turn, had forcibly wrested the hunting ground from some other group, it is only necessary to read Custer's recitations. I take it as an Admission.
1 vote keylawk | Sep 26, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Armstrong Custerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Quaife, Milo MiltonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quaife, Milo MiltonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, Edgar I.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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