BOOK REVIEW: Sioux warrior and his times
By Stephen Goode
The Washington Times
6:29 p.m., Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Along with the Apache
Geronimo and his fellow Sioux Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse
is one of those legendary 19th-century Indian warriors whose name everyone recognizes. He has been the subject of two widely read biographies, the 1942 "Crazy Horse
" by the great Mari Sandoz
and Kingsley Bray
's authoritative 2006 book with the same name.
Now Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Powers
takes up "The Killing of Crazy Horse
." It's not a biography, though readers will learn a great deal about the man. It's also more than just an investigation into Crazy Horse
's Sept. 5, 1877, killing at Fort Robinson in Nebraska after he had surrendered voluntarily to federal officers, though it is that, too, in fascinating detail.
What Mr. Powers
offers in this book is a meticulously researched history of the Great Sioux War of the 1870s, whose most famous (but by no means only) battle was Gen. George Armstrong Custer
's defeat at Little Bighorn, in which Crazy Horse
played a leading and heroic role. In the process of telling the war's story, the author paints a rich portrait of the Sioux and their culture and of life on the American frontier in the 1870s.
The book is packed with hundreds of memorable characters, sharply drawn: Indians, soldiers, officers and their wives, scouts, traders and many others - an incredible mix of life that few books or movies present as well as this book does.
writes that his interest in Indians "was acquired in the usual way, picked up on the playground in the 1940s and '50s when the game of cowboys and Indians enjoyed a last flowering."
Cowboys he found "dull," while Indians were "mysterious" and "compelling." But he did not act on this interest until 1994, when he and his brother visited the battlefield at Little Bighorn. That visit, coupled with a chance reading of Billy Garnett
's account of Crazy Horse
's death, led Mr. Powers
to want to understand the great chief's killing in detail.
had been present when Crazy Horse
was killed. The illegitimate son of a Confederate Civil War general who died at Gettysburg and a Sioux woman, Garnett
worked as an interpreter for federal officers and knew Crazy Horse
It was Crazy Horse
's killing, Mr. Powers
decided, that would be the event onto which he would latch the entire story of the times that he wanted to tell.
"Very often," he explains, "the excavation of an event can reveal the whole of an era, just as an archaeologist's trench through the corner of an ancient city can bring back to light a forgotten civilization."
1 day, 4 hours ago
For some reason I cannot get the last two pages (three pages in all) of this book review. Please advise.
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