Well Told History
The single most compelling aspect of the narrative was the narration by Mr. Marshall ... you could sense the honor, the frustration and near the end the exhaustion of both knowing and telling the "war story" of Crazy Horse.
It was not a scene but the series of "reflections" by Mr. Marshall that made this book more "readable" and very much more personal.
A subtitle would diminish this book.
Mr. Marshal at the beginning, in the introduction speaks to the heresy of writing down his families history because they were indigineous. He actually appears to apologize. This was not necessary in my opinion ... for as the the words were translated back to their "natural form" ... the listener ... and soon to be a rememberer is transported back to the fire origin of these war stories. I encourage you to come ... sit around the fire and listen.
I finished it: Can't say that about every book. I love how it is packed with poetic passages, episodic narratives, anecdotes, allegories, how-tos of daily games and cultural practices, and a mixture of color, earth, spirit, and time lapse portrayals.
The imagery of the Thunders dream and the other visions as well as the descriptive nature of rides, battles, and journeys within the great journey.
The author's own reading I found to be, surprisingly, a bit dry and missing that "still waters run deep" aspect of Crazy Horse aka Light Hair's personality. Marshall sounds more like drying marsh waters got sticky. It's hard to get screwed over without sounding bitter, and in my humble opinion this aspect of the reading is Marshall's primary flaw but for an otherwise exquisite writing. The other gripe is that his rhetoric might have been more effective if he even once elaborated on whether any of the assimilating Natives or expansionist, homesteading whites had any deeper motivations besides bare survival or gold. A shallow analysis makes his persona come off nearly as simplistic as he claims the other sides were.
Specifically the tell-all act of how Crazy Horse would give extra horses to the old and widowed. I mean how many horses can one man ride anyway. Still, he was a giver.
I do find it hard to believe that all whites were completely colonizing, imperialistic gold-mongers, and I don't think Marshall believes that, either; still, I wonder what I would have been like back then, possibly looking for a new life with my family, falling for the promises of Manifest Destiny, walking right into what I'd been told and sucking up too much of the dominant ideology without discretion. It's fair of me to bring up this criticism since, to date, I have purchased 32 paperbacks of this book and given them to people. Marshall's writing just works for me, and I have a very hard time paying attention to most things.
"When I finish a good book, I feel like I've lost a friend." -- My Mom
The combination of story and narration make this more an experience than just listening to a good book. It is so good to learn about Native American culture from a Native American. Mr. Marshall presents the life and times of Crazy Horse in factual detail - the good, bad and ugly. History is what it is. We can only learn from it and this book gives us a wonderful opportunity to do just that.
I was happy to hear from a native Lakota voice the story of Crazy Horse. However, the narrative was fairly flat and rolled along like a historical outline padded with scenery. I am grateful to have been exposed to the perspective and information but found the storytelling and narration somewhat flat.
This book was able to make me see a look into the past at the hardships and love of the mother earth... such passion, such drive.... no matter what Crazy horse will like on...
Although a Brit I was captivated listening to this well reseached and narrated piece of native american history - it provides a unique insight into recent american history but from the native american stance. The demise of the Sioux nation is sad tale of ethnic cleansing 19th C. style - and this account of that blot on US history is well told. You are left with the view that if the land/gold grab in the Black Hills had been managed more sensivitely by the government of the time everyone involved would have been a winner - but history is not about sensible actions taken by governments and/orleaders (Iraqi/Iran comes to mind!). The tale also provides a unique insight into the previously untold history of the events of the time and the culture of the Sioux - I can highly recommend this book to anyone interested in american history & native american culture.
Lakota Way and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee are my favorite Native American books. I gave them both five stars. Crazy Horse is good too but only worth four stars.
Mister Marshall writes with a great deal of passion for his subject and he writes very well. But to understand Crazy Horse, more than just this book is needed. It is quite biased in favor of the Lakota--for example, Mister Marshall expresses what appears to be genuine puzzlement over the hanging of thirty eight Dakota at Mankato, then expresses justified outrage over the crimes committed at Sand Creek, though the crimes committed by both Chivington and the thirty eight hanged Lakota were the same. I have a hard time believing that the Lakota at the time were almost always entirely the good guys and the Euro-Americans almost always entirely the bad guys. Things are never that simple.
I don't know why authors think they can narrate their own books. Neil Gaiman is the only one that can carry that off. Marshall will put you to sleep with his monotone, really sad and downbeat voice. I wasn't sure which one of us would drift off first. I think he did the research though and the book could have been good if told in the first person. Thru Crazy Horse's eyes that is. Not worth the credit because of the narration though.