• Crazy Horse and Custer

  • The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors
  • By: Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 20 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (942 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611 men of the US 7th Cavalry rode toward the banks of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory, where 3,000 Indians stood waiting for battle. The lives of two great warriors would soon be forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme courage. Both became leaders in their societies at very early ages; both were stripped of power, in disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of their people. And to both of them, the unspoiled grandeur of the Great Plains of North America was an irresistible challenge. Their parallel lives would pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for an inevitable clash between two nations fighting for possession of the open prairie.

©2016 Random House Audio (P)2016 Stephen E. Ambrose

Critic Reviews

"Movingly told and well written...a fine contribution, one that will be read with pleasure and admiration by general reader, student and scholar alike. Ambrose has breathed new life into the familiar facts." ( Library Journal)
"An epic and accurate retelling of one of our country's most tragic periods." ( Baltimore Sun)

What listeners say about Crazy Horse and Custer

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A Fascinating, Fair Depiction of Two Heroes

It's a rare gift to be able to hear and fully understand both sides of a conflict. As a kid, I was raised with the cliche of the "brave soldier and the savage Indian". As I got older and more socially conscious, my point of view shifted to "the noble Native and the greedy government". Now, thanks to the help of this book and many like it, I have come to a balanced, nuanced understanding of these events. No Native was pure savage or pure nobility. No soldier was pure brute or pure hero. Every person and event is infinitely more complicated than we can truly understand. This book is a perfect representation of that fact.

19 people found this helpful

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one of the best accounts of native American life and custom out there. would recommend.

14 people found this helpful

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Great story, full of comparison and contrast

If you could sum up Crazy Horse and Custer in three words, what would they be?

Cultural Perspectives of Freedom

What did you like best about this story?

The efforts to humanize both men, particularly Crazy Horse. It's easy to think of these legendary figures as outsized caricatures of themselves, but we get a deeper view of both.

What does Richard Ferrone bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He does well with individualizing voices, without going over the top, which happens all too often in this kind of audiobook.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I have no idea, but I'd like to have seen what Peckinpah could have done with it.

Any additional comments?

The themes of prestige and shame presented in both men, are easily extrapolated to represent their respective cultures.

11 people found this helpful

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Skip this book

Way too many inaccuracies ! Should have been researched and edited much better !
Skip this book .

6 people found this helpful

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How sad

Progress , what a toll it has taken on mankind,never satisfied,never at peace with anything. Like locust,now this curse consumes everything. All of mankind will soon follow these tribes because of the relentless curse of greed.

5 people found this helpful

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A study in Custeria

Well-written mythology, however, Ambrose seems to be taken in by Custeria and myth. The real Custer is portrayed by Colonel W. A. Graham, Army historian who published "The Custer Myth'" in 1953. Graham's book had been written during the 1930s but was unable to publish it due to an injunction filed by Libby Custer ( who died in 1933, dedicating her life fruitlessly to maintaining the Custer myth). Unlike Ambrose, whose writing style is pleasing but filled with inaccuracies, Graham documents Custer's true nature and fallacies with primary source documents; including, depositions of both Indians and army personnel who testified at the inquiries conducted after the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Contrary to Ambrose's thesis that Custer was a magnetic and confident leader, quite the opposite is true. Impetuous, narcissistic, and erratic, Custer was universally despised by the men under his command. Custer's tactical leadership, or lack of, was demonstrated not only at the Little Big Horn debacle but by also at the battle of Washita (more massacre of women and children than battle). Generally, I like Ambrose's other works (except "Nothing like it in the world" which is open to controversy over plagiarism). Perhaps had Ambrose included Graham in his research, "Crazy Horse and Custer" would have turned out differently.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent

Now I finally. understand the Indian Wars, and Native American culture. Really loved this book.

3 people found this helpful

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Historic and entertaining.

Well written and read. Another sad chapter of American history. I need another five words.

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Overall pretty recap

Author seemed to do good research and told a balanced story. Worth the credit! Would like to get more history of more figures from this time

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Best book on the subject of the Indian wars.

This book gives you great insight into the mentality of the US government during the Indian wars. I understand better now why Native Americans feel so bitter towards what way the white man did to them. It describes the culture of The players Indians. It describes how crazy horse was able to Organize his forces for a great victory over the white man. A great read.

1 person found this helpful