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A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn | [James Donovan]

A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn

In June 1876, on a desolate hill above a winding river called "the Little Bighorn", George Armstrong Custer and all 210 men under his direct command were annihilated by almost 2,000 Sioux and Cheyenne. The news of this devastating loss caused a public uproar, and those in positions of power promptly began to point fingers in order to avoid responsibility.
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Publisher's Summary

In June 1876, on a desolate hill above a winding river called "the Little Bighorn", George Armstrong Custer and all 210 men under his direct command were annihilated by almost 2,000 Sioux and Cheyenne. The news of this devastating loss caused a public uproar, and those in positions of power promptly began to point fingers in order to avoid responsibility. Custer, who was conveniently dead, took the brunt of the blame.

The truth, however, is far more complex. A Terrible Glory is the first book to relate the entire story of this endlessly fascinating battle and the first to call upon all the pertinent research and findings of the past 25 years - which have significantly changed how this controversial event is perceived. Furthermore, it is the first book to bring to light the details of the U.S. Army cover-up and unravel one of the greatest mysteries in U.S. military history.

Scrupulously researched, A Terrible Glory will stand as a landmark work. Brimming with authentic detail and an unforgettable cast of characters - from Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse to Ulysses Grant and Custer himself - this is history with the sweep of a great novel.

©2008 James Donovan; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"An excellent starting point for those seeking an understanding of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"A worthy companion to Jay Monahan's Custer, Evan S. Connell's Son of the Morning Star, and other standard studies of the famed cavalryman." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (158 )
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  •  
    Hika 07-22-08
    Hika 07-22-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Very well done"

    A very good book on this most controversial battle. Nice to see that Custer is not the only whipping boy. The author does a good job with timelines of the battle. A good example of a unit with a near total disfunctional officer corps. The narration is excellent. A very fair account of the battle.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Annapolis, MD, United States 04-13-10
    Blake Annapolis, MD, United States 04-13-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Thoroughly Enjoyable Page Turner"

    Most likely few history readers aren't familiar with at least one version of "Custer's Last Stand." A Terrible Glory goes much deeper than retelling the popular version of events. James Donovan uses extensive research to form a brilliant and compelling narrative of individual soldiers and officers and how they all ended up in such a mess on the hills above the Little Bighorn River. The author does a great job explaining the grudges and rivalries among Custer and his senior officers as well as painting a picture of the political context in which Custer was embroiled. As a result, the popular myth of a glory-seeking Custer stumbling to his own demise should be finally removed from the collective perception of events. The narration is perfectly matched to the narrative creating a whole work that you won't want to end.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 11-11-09
    Michael Moore Bay Area, CA USA 11-11-09 Member Since 2005

    mcubed33

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    "Definitive and Detailed"

    After Pearl Harbor, "Custer's last stand" is probably the most famous military defeat in American history. This book offers a definitive account of what happened and why. The details on the battlefield actions, the backgrounds of the US soldiers and native American warriors, and the military and tribal customs of the time all reflect thorough and thoughtful research. This book offers all you ever need to know about the famous battle and the key figures in it. It also provides fascinating background on political conditions of the day and the efforts (including outright lies) the surviving officers took to protect their own interests in the investigations that followed Custer's debacle at the Little Big Horn.

    The main reason for Custer's defeat was poor intelligence and a failure to reconnoiter carefully before he advanced into battle. He did not appreciate that he was facing an Indian force at least ten times larger than what he had faced before and one that was disposed to fight much harder than those he had faced in the past. His main preoccupation based on previous experience was striking early before the Indians could disperse. That led him to divide his already outmanned force as he prepared his attack on a massive Sioux encampment. He also was let down by subordinate officers who failed to rejoin his main force despite having heard clear reports of heavy gunfire on his position.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Fairbanks, AK, United States 03-20-13
    Ryan Fairbanks, AK, United States 03-20-13 Member Since 2012

    I am the most amazing version of myself that I have ever met.

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    "You don't know Custer's story..."
    Any additional comments?

    This book made me relearn what I thought I knew about George A. Custer. As a product of American schools, my schooling on this subject lasted all of 10 minutes and left me thinking that Custer was a lackadaisical general that picked the wrong fight. But there is so much more to this story, and A Terrible Glory sets the record straight.

    If you have any interest in the brutally true story of the American west, you will love this account. It not only documents the Bighorn's major players, it also details many of the unfortunate actions and lies taken agains the Indian nations. It reveals the actions of Custer and his officers, and even details the subsequent military coverup.

    I am torn regarding my feelings about this period. Not only did the United States break treaties with the Indians and outright lie to them on many occasions, the Indians were essentially faced with the decision to give up their cultural ways of life and succumb to the "ways of the white man", or face the wrath of being considered hostile and enemies of the United States. In essence, the US endorsed genocide and Custer's army helped carry that out. But part of me couldn't help but feel sympathy for their plights and the times they found themselves in.

    Regardless, this book will help you frame your own perspective and keep you entertained and interested throughout.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denis Annapolis, MD, United States 09-18-10
    Denis Annapolis, MD, United States 09-18-10 Member Since 2004
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    "a fantastic read"

    Best book this year for me! It captured my attention from the very beginning and held it to the end. Well researched and richly detailed portrayal of the post-Civil War period - cities, outposts and on the frontier. All of the characters, soldiers and Indians, come to life in vivid detail. Totally recast my knowledge of Custer, and painted a completely different picture of him and his role in pacifying the Souix, from the superficial one we all got in high school. Covers his life from the close of the Civil War to the tragedy at Little Big Horn, to the aftermath that occured at Wounded Knee. This one will be tough to beat.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Childers Jacksonville, FL, United States 07-22-12
    Childers Jacksonville, FL, United States 07-22-12 Member Since 2008
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    "I Learned A Lot"

    All I knew about Custer was from the movies. This 16 hour book was perfect for my 1,100 mile trip. It is an excellent book which told the entire story from all sides. Very informative about logistics and tactics and the major participants. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the time period

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lowell Augusta, GA, United States 01-11-14
    Lowell Augusta, GA, United States 01-11-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A Terrible Glory Will Haunt you."

    James Donovan has written one of the most graphic pages of a war with Indians. At one point tears came to my eyes at the slaughter we go through. The real point is whether Custer was guilty of malfeasance or was he deserted by fearfull generals. The reader can decide for him or her self. I took the book out of the library to get maps to follow the battles. Unfortunately they were few and far between. As I said , the battles and slaughter will haunt you long after you finish it. The reader, James Boles, is is outstanding.

    LMG

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DWR Minnesota, USA 07-09-13
    DWR Minnesota, USA 07-09-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Interesting easy to listen to and detailed history"

    I have been to the Little Big Horn several times and it was with interest that I followed Custer's "last stand" with the actual scene in mind: the hills, river and site of the indian encampment complemented the story very well.

    Without knowing what was going through Custers mind, initially all one can say when standing on the actual battlefield, is "How could he be so arrogant and stupid?". But now having listened to the book can better understand what motivated him, although it was still "arrogant and stupid".

    It is also interesting to understand the conflicts that existed between Custer and his officers and why Custer and his men were left alone to be eventually wiped out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Faubel California 04-10-13
    C. Faubel California 04-10-13 Member Since 2012

    CF

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    "Custer wasn't so much a fool as I believed."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a good book for people wanting an introduction to the story of the Little Big Horn. I felt that the history of Native American relations with the US Govt was not as focused as it could have been.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Be ready to look up some maps in order to get an idea of the expeditions routes and topographical features.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clinton Paquin Wilmington, NC United States 03-26-13
    Clinton Paquin Wilmington, NC United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Comprehensive review of the topic"
    If you could sum up A Terrible Glory in three words, what would they be?

    I've been enthralled with this story for sometime, partially from growing up in Montana and partly based on the historical significance of the spread west in relation to the Indian Wars. This is a very comprehensive and history approach, unlike other approaches.


    What other book might you compare A Terrible Glory to and why?

    Son of the Morning Star


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The account of the follow up battle atop Reno hill in the days following Custer's last stand.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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