Custer's trials : a life on the frontier of a new America / T.J. Stiles.
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- ISBN: 9780307592644
- ISBN: 0307592642
- Physical Description: xxi, 582 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
- Edition: First edition.
- Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
- Copyright: ©2015
|Bibliography, etc. Note:||
Includes bibliographical references (pages 545-552) and index.
|Formatted Contents Note:||
Part one: Rise 1839-1865. The accused ; The observer ; The protégé ; The prodigy ; The women ; The general ; The hero ; The victor -- Part two: Fall 1865-1876. The executioner ; The politician ; The fallen ; The Indian killer ; The financier ; The writer ; The enemy ; The accuser.
A new biography of Gen. George Armstrong Custer that radically changes our view of the man and his turbulent times. Historian T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer's legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer's historical caricature, revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person--capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years). The key to understanding Custer, Stiles writes, is keeping in mind that he lived on a frontier in time. During Custer's lifetime, Americans saw their world remade. In the Civil War, the West, and many areas overlooked in previous biographies, Custer helped to create modern America, but he could never adapt to it. His admirers saw him as the embodiment of the nation's gallant youth, of all that they were losing; his detractors despised him for resisting a more complex and promising future. He freed countless slaves, yet rejected new civil rights laws. He proved his heroism, but missed the dark reality of war for so many others. Native Americans fascinated him, but he could not see them as fully human. Intimate, dramatic, and provocative, this biography captures the larger story of the changing nation in Custer's tumultuous marriage to his highly educated wife, Libbie; their complicated relationship with Eliza Brown, the forceful black woman who ran their household; as well as his battles and expeditions. It casts surprising new light on a near-mythic American figure.--Adapted from book jacket.
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