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The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, And The Battle Of The Little Bighorn (Wheeler Large Print Book Series)

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3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,587 Ratings  ·  621 Reviews
Little Bighorn and Custer are names synonymous in the American imagination with unmatched bravery and spectacular defeat. Mythologized as Custer's Last Stand, the June 1876 battle has been equated with other famous last stands like Thermopylae and the Alamo. With a tightly structured narrative, Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly sketches the two larger than life antagonists i ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 855 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Wheeler Publishing (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 07, 2014 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”You ask me if I will not be glad when the last battle is fought, so far as the country is concerned I, of course, must wish for peace, and will be glad when the war is ended, but if I answer for myself alone, I must say that I shall regret to see the war end.”
George Armstrong Custer


 photo CusterWestPoint_zps064d2768.jpg
George Armstrong Custer at West Point

George Armstrong Custer was last in the graduating class of 1861 at West Point. They were graduated a year early due to the pressing need of the Union for officers, any officers,
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Matt
I was going to give this book one star. Two at the most. But my wife stopped me, and insisted on five. To keep her happy, I split the difference.

There are roughly two types of Little Big Horn book. The first is the type directed towards the Obsessed. These are the readers who pour over every detail, however minute, in a vain effort to fully understand an event that really won't impact their lives in the least. They are a lot like Trekkies, or Star Wars fanboys, except they, if possible, might l
...more
Jason Koivu
Feb 20, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did you hear the one about the military moron, the drunkard and the backstabbing subordinate?

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was such an unnecessary debacle that it might as well be a joke. But it's no joke. It's tragedy.

In the lead role of this tragedy is this boy...

description

He finished last at Westpoint and went on to become this ego maniac...

description

George Armstrong Custer made his career by daring and foolishly brave acts during the American Civil War, such as at the Battle of Gettysburg where his aggressiv
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Howard
I was drawn to The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Bighorn not so much by its subject matter, but by its author, Nathaniel Philbrick. For one thing, I was intrigued why a writer who heretofore had written about the sea and coastal areas, and had done so in admirable fashion, would venture into the hinterland and write about two of the icons of the American West and one of the most famous battles in American history. I wasn’t sure that it would be possible to learn a ...more
M. D.  Hudson
Like a lot of people, I have a low grade obsession with the Battle of Little Big Horn aka Custer’s Last Stand, and I’ve read several of the general reader accounts and even a few of the more scholarly things on the archaeology of the battlefield site. When I heard about Philbrick’s book, I was somewhat suspicious because it is being touted as the first time somebody tried to write a book incorporating the Indians’ point of view. Not true at all. Even back in the benighted 19th century people rea ...more
Geevee
Aug 18, 2011 Geevee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
This is the first book I have read on the Little Big Horn battle and for me it was a very interesting and well presented account.

My knowledge of the battle was basic, and I knew something of the main characters - Custer and Sitting Bull - but little about others such as Reno, Benteen, White Bull, Red hawk and the Scouts etc.

I also knew of the 7th US Cavalry, as they always appeared (or so it seemed to me) in Hollywood films about the West - and perhaps as I came across a squadron of the unit d
...more
Chris G Derrick
Jul 05, 2015 Chris G Derrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Loved it!
I found it a totally absorbing read - all the way through.
I really do take my hat off to people who write this type of historical fiction - all the work that goes into the presenting of the detail.
I realise it's all probably out there somewhere in some other novel but it still has to be brought together (in the correct order) into this one.
To me the way it was written made it a very easy and enjoyable read - and it held my interest from the first to the last page.
Really can't say better
...more
Michael
Satisfying, very readable account of the Battle of Little Bighorn, which was the last major violent resistance of Native Americans against the unbeatable forces of Manifest Destiny. The Lakotas and Cheyenne of the northern plains of the Dakotas, politically led by Sitting Bull and militarily by Crazy Horse, won a major battle, essentially precipitated by efforts of the U.S. government to wrest the Black Hills away due to gold. But this short term success sped up the punitive efforts leading to t ...more
Ms.pegasus
Sep 30, 2012 Ms.pegasus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in history
After sifting through a staggering quantity of contradictory interviews, testimony, historical opinion, and even bald speculation, Philbrick succeeds in creating a new narrative of the ill-fated Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It is a narrative that bypasses ideology and blame, to refocus on the unbroken connection between historical events and their consequences. It is also a narrative that captures the very human actions that are lost in the approach of a formal inquiry which assu ...more
Chris
Jun 19, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do we need another book on the Little Big Horn? I've read Connell's and Donovan's books on the subject and enjoyed them. Nevertheless, I was curious to see how Philbrick would immerse himself in a non-nautical theme, although you could argue this environment is just a sea of grass.

Philbrick does a superb job. The soldiers and Indians come alive in this narrative and you want to keep turning every page. He tries to be even handed and impartial but it's hard not to make judgments. He singles
...more
Kevin
Jul 20, 2011 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nathaniel Philbrick has done a marvelous job at recreating one of the bleakest moments in US military history. The book treats the events leading up to and including the Battle of the Little Bighorn. This was an event that I knew nothing about, other than Custer and all of his men were killed. The book describes the mistakes made, how Custer divided his entire force into 4 groups, how they initially lost contact, failed to press the advance, fell into confusion, were overwhelmed and ultimately d ...more
Idril Celebrindal
I don't really know how many of my problems with this are actually with the book itself and how many with my reaction to the events depicted, and how the fact that I listened to it as an audiobook might have exacerbated either.

For one thing, Philbrick clearly likes Custer himself more than I do. I would hope that, even if he shared my antipathy, the author of a book like this would not let that influence his view of the facts. It felt however that Philbrick went out of his way to avoid criticizi
...more
Aaron Million
Nov 29, 2014 Aaron Million rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Philbrick recreates the Battle of the Little Bighorn, which includes Custer's Last Stand. He begins by discussing Custer's personality, career, run-ins with top brass (including President Grant), wife, and attitude toward Indians. Philbrick also provides mini-biographies of Custer's two top subordinates: Frederick Benteen and Marcus Reno. He does not forget about the Indians either, and talks of Sitting Bull, his tenuous grasp as leader of his tribe, and the overall relationship between the many ...more
Lawyer
May 28, 2010 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American history and biography fans. Those interested in American Indian Wars, Custer, Sitting Bull
Nathaniel Philbrick can write history in the way it should be taught. Philbrick has the knack for capturing the personalities of the protagonists of the era he chooses to portray in each of his books. It is difficult to believe that another book on the last stand can add anything to the considerable literature already available. However, Philbrick does. This new book should be considered as important as Evan Connell's "Son of the Morning Star," and Robert Utley's titles dealing with Custer and S ...more
Joe
Jul 30, 2014 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philbrick renders an exhaustive (and at times exhausting) account of the U.S. campaign against the loose confederacy of Sioux nations culminating in the Battle of Little Bighorn. As can be expected, Philbrick leaves few details undercounted, but is at his best when seeking to give voice to Native American accounts of the campaign. The book concludes with a fascinating meditation on the closure of the American West and the near immediate expansion of Manifest Destiny to include the Caribbean, the ...more
Victor Carson
I enjoyed the author's book IN THE HEART OF THE SEA. This book was brought to my attention by my son, Gregory, and by one of my favorite authors, Chris Bohjalian. I found that I had only the vaguest notion of the battle at Little Bighorn and of Custer's Last Stand. This book puts George Armstrong Custer in focus and makes his actions in 1876 clear and understandable. The scope of the action and the size of the village assembled by Sitting Bull on the Little Bighorn are very impressive, making th ...more
Trish
May 20, 2011 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This history does what every nonfiction title aspires to do: makes the reader want to run out and read as much as they can on the subject. That is exactly what I found myself doing today--looking in my public library for more. The Last Stand doesn't so much slake your thirst as inflame it. When I looked over the books on similar subject matter, I can see why. It was clear Philbrick used primary sources, but also built on what had come before: he consolidated information and didn't impede the for ...more
Courtney
Mar 23, 2011 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a must read thanks to my work-related research on Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn, and I thought that Philbrick did a wonderful job of bringing the battle to life as a very human experience. It combines a great overview of the battle with small details and personal stories that lend it its humanity and make it more than a dry textbook analogy of the battle. Philbrick does a good job of looking at Custer in multiple lights - as a born warrior and a peacemaker, a man who lov ...more
Jay Connor
Sep 11, 2010 Jay Connor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Some are remembered because they transcend the failings of their age. Custer is remembered because he so perfectly embodies the failings of his." With this epilogue, Philbrick not only captures the lasting power Custer has on the American imagination, but also explains the power of history to continue to inform the present. Apply this test to our present portfolio of leaders and schemers and see if it helps to clarify which is which.

I listened to Philbrick's "The Last Stand" while driving acros
...more
James Murphy
Dec 03, 2012 James Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it's a great story combining many elements: hubris, the spiritual lives of the American Indians, the rugged individuals who were familiar with the land and its hardships, military politics and ambition, the myth of the Great Hero sacrificed on the altar of irresistible manifest destiny as well as the Great Hero trying to make amends for offensive statements against his president, and the last great onrush of people and history to settle the vast land. It's an American story. Stephen B. Amb ...more
J.S.
Sep 12, 2014 J.S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-america, vine
The Battle of the Little Bighorn occupies an interesting and somewhat awkward place in American history. It was a resounding defeat for the US troops, but it only delayed the inevitable suppression for the victorious Native Americans. It's often referred to as "Custer's Last Stand," where General George Armstrong Custer, a flamboyant and iconic "Indian fighter" and soldier, met his death when his severely outnumbered troops attacked an immense gathering of Lakota (Sioux) and Cheyenne led by the ...more
Marian Willeke
Oct 08, 2011 Marian Willeke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
My lack of knowledge of this battle and of Custer in general made this an excellent book to provide context of both Sitting Bull's and Custer's backgrounds, as well as an overview of the battle and the machinations throughout it. I read several reviews of experts that already know this information and were saddened by Philbrick's repetition of other writer's; however, for me, it was very helpful insight, and motivational to read my books of "Wounded Knee" by Richardson, "Lakota Woman" by Mary Cr ...more
Laura
Sep 02, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Before picking up Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Last Stand, my knowledge of Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of Little Big Horn was pretty much limited to one segment from Little Big Man, that famous portrait of Sitting Bull, and one or two TV shows somewhere or another. (I think Richard Mulligan played Custer -- did I imagine that? Anyway.) Although a lot of people seem to favor Evan Connell’s Son of the Morning Star (to which Philbrick gives due credit in his notes) as the definitive Custer bo ...more
Kurt
Nov 01, 2011 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nathaniel Philbrick has become one of my favorite authors. I've still yet to read his perhaps most famous book In the Heart of the Sea, but I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, his Sea of Glory and Mayflower; and now I have finished his latest: The Last Stand.

Each of these books was intriguing and interesting from the first page to the last. The Last Stand of course is the story of George Armstrong Custer and the last days of the free Lakota people. My sentiments are always with the Lakota. Thei
...more
Mike K
Dec 18, 2014 Mike K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, the book was interesting. It leaves a lot of questions in my mind as to what to really think about Custer. The fascinating detail Philbrick goes into when describing the Battle of the Little Big Horn is most notable for the absence of Custer. So many questions remain as to where Custer actually was and what he was thinking. I appreciate the author's ability to resist temptation and make assumptions rather than simply state the things which we do not know. His reliance on first hand acco ...more
Ob-jonny
Mar 30, 2014 Ob-jonny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating background and recounting of the battle between Custer and the Lakota and Cheyenne indians in the easter Montana territory. This was nearly the last of such battles with indians all of which had been defeated or become integrated by 1890. The story behind the battle is so amazing because of all of the bizarre events that took place. Subordinate generals were deliberately making bad decisions in order to take revenge on their superiors. Many terrible decisions were made with the Caval ...more
Ryan
Aug 10, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonbirds
Very good build-up to Custer's last battle, with plenty of detail from both sides. Unfortunately, it felt like the author didn't try as hard to wrap up the aftermath of the Little Bighorn.
Ray
Nov 06, 2010 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was initially a little reluctant to pick this book up, since we've all read the story of Custer's Last Stand, both the old version which portrays him as the iconic American hero, as well as the version which shows him as an egotistical glory-seeker who foolishly led his troops to their deaths. But there's always more to the story, and Philbrick is the type of author who seems to have an ability to dig into historical archives and bring out little known facts, making you feel like there's much ...more
Greybeard
Dec 01, 2011 Greybeard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned more about Custer, Sitting Bull, the Indians, and the actual battle than I ever could have imagined. It tied in all of the players, politics, and both sides points of view. Well researched, well written, and unbiased. Custer was not the only person there. The stories of the other commanders, soldiers, scouts, on both sides adds to the overall perception of the event. The events leading up to and the detailed time line of how it all played out is enlightning. I am so glad I was not ther ...more
SamT
I read this book about a month ago and have struggled to come up with the words for a review.
It is a book by a distinguished author who writes the facts about his subject and stays away from speculation. The book has wonderful, well placed maps, excellent photos, detailed descriptions of the players in the story, and is written in a style that made it an easy read.
All that said, in my view, it was just another book about George A. Custer.
Two passages from the book were memorable to me. They are:
...more
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Philbrick was Brown’s first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978; that year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, RI; today he and his wife Melissa sail their Beetle Cat Clio and their Tiffany Jane 34 Marie-J in the waters surrounding Nantucket Island.

After grad school, Philbrick worked for four years at Sailing World magazine; was a freelancer for a number of years, during whic
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“We interact with one another as individuals responding to a complex haze of factors: professional responsibilities, personal likes and dislikes, ambition, jealousy, self-interest, and, in at least some instances, genuine altruism. Living in the here and now, we are awash with sensations of the present, memories of the past, and expectations and fears for the future. Our actions are not determined by any one cause; they are the fulfillment of who we are at that particular moment. After that moment passes, we continue to evolve, to change, and our memories of that moment inevitably change with us as we live with the consequences of our past actions, consequences we were unaware of at the time.” 5 likes
“Faint heart never won fair lady,” he wrote; “neither did it ever pursue and overtake an Indian village.” 2 likes
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