Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Killing of Crazy Horse” as Want to Read:
The Killing of Crazy Horse
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Killing of Crazy Horse

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  651 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
He was the greatest Indian warrior of the nineteenth century. His victory over General Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 was the worst defeat inflicted on the frontier Army. And the death of Crazy Horse in federal custody has remained a controversy for more than a century.

The Killing of Crazy Horse pieces together the many sources of fear and misunderstanding
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Killing of Crazy Horse, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Killing of Crazy Horse

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownBlack Elk Speaks by Black ElkLakota Woman by Mary Crow DogWhere White Men Fear to Tread by Russell MeansIn the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen
Native American Biography
22nd out of 138 books — 67 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Casual Vacancy by J.K. RowlingA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniPresence by Perie Wolford
Books You Plan to read 2013
130th out of 369 books — 83 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,207)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it liked it
Mount Rushmore is one of the purest tourist traps yet devised by the hand of man. The four presidential faces carved into the granite prominence have little or no connection at all to South Dakota. Of the three, only Teddy Roosevelt ever set foot on the land, or even knew South Dakota as a State. Still, it serves its purpose, which is to get people to come to South Dakota. And it works, to the tune of three million people a year, all of whom come to see – and be disappointed by – the skulls of f ...more
James Murphy
Aug 06, 2013 James Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powers's history is about more than the death of one man. Many men and women were killed in the period of the Sioux wars of the 1860s and 70s. In using the death of the iconic warrior chief as a kind of hub, Powers relates the history of those years made up of dispute and open warfare which ended in the death of the old, traditional hunting and raiding life of the Plains Sioux. It's a history written with the aid of the rich resources left by participants of both sides but most interestingly fro ...more
Thomas Isern
Jan 09, 2013 Thomas Isern rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-plains
There is a fair amount of discussion among professional historians these days as to why works of history by non-professionals are so popular. If the answers are not obvious to you, then here is the book to illustrate them. The Killing of Crazy Horse is everything that professors directing graduate work in my generation said a work of history ought not to be. It does not get right to the point. It perambulates there through hundreds of pages. It is an indulgent book, dwelling on all sorts of deta ...more
Gaylord Dold
Sep 03, 2014 Gaylord Dold rated it it was amazing
The great Oglala Sioux warrior Crazy HOrse, leader of the Hunkpatila band comprising some 150 lodges and perhaps 400 men, women, and children---Thunder Dreamer Carrier of the Shield, killer of Custer the Genocidal Buffoon---was murdered by a veteran soldier of the Mormon
wars named William Gentles,who, according to the contemporary evidence offered by He Dog, stabbed Crazy HOrse in the back with a bayonet as he was being shoved into a cell
at Fort Robinson, Nebraska Territory, on September 5, 1877
Kenneth Barber
Nov 17, 2015 Kenneth Barber rated it really liked it
Crazy Horse was one of the great figures in the Indian Wars of the 19th century. He is generally credited with engineering the victories at the Rosebud and Little Bighorn. The book follows him from birth through his coming of age and acquiring his name to his leadership in war. The author does a god job of relating the Indian culture, tribal relationships. And the clan or family groups which made up the tribe. He explains about their religion and how it influenced their lives. The author uses Na ...more
Dec 20, 2010 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Powers' account of the Battle of the Little Big Horn is one of the clearest I have ever read.
And his account of Crazy Horse's death makes one want to weep.
Elizabeth K.
Apr 10, 2014 Elizabeth K. rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elizabeth by: review in WSJ
Shelves: 2014-new-reads
Honestly, I don't know whether I'm getting dumber with each passing year, or if this book was extremely dense, but it took me forever to get through it. It was really good, and it was worth the effort, but boy, I had to be on top of the thing all the time to keep all the information straight. And I even went into it with a reasonable grasp of the issues, events and players, which I thought would help but apparently not.

The author goes back to A LOT of source material to flesh out the events of
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it
Shelves: mar-apr-2011
Less a biography than the study of a lost way of life, Powers's sprawling chronicle uses the great Lakota warrior as a springboard to examine the history and culture of the Sioux tribes. Simultaneously, Powers rectifies the biased inaccuracies of a historical record that has traditionally treated the murder of Crazy Horse as "something between a footnote and an afterthought." Drawing on extensive fieldwork and a dizzying amount of firsthand sources, Powers vividly describes the personalities, po ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
Well researched and well told. Crazy Horse himself, unfortunately, remains a bit of a mystery... and as happens with many histories, everyone has a story to tell, often contradictory. But Powers does a great job of trying to keep the story straight and relatively objective. Plus he seems to make a specific effort to mention all the awesome Indian names that have a part in the story... Woman Dress, He Dog, American Horse, Respects Nothing, White Buffalo Woman, Walks as She Thinks, Fool Bear, Youn ...more
Abbey Harlow
Nov 11, 2015 Abbey Harlow rated it really liked it
A detailed recounting of crazy horse's life and the events leading up to his death. Did a much more comprehensive job explaining the battle of Little Bighorn to a layman than Philbrick. My only complaint is that sometimes the timeline jumped around and it could be hard to keep track of what was going on when, but this only happened occasionally.
Rachel Jackson
Dec 23, 2015 Rachel Jackson rated it liked it
The title The Killing of Crazy Horse might be a bit inaccurate when trying to sum up the content of this massively dense Thomas Powers book about the great Native American leader. The book is indeed about Crazy Horse, his peers and family and his wartime prowess, but more than that, it's also a tremendous book about the Indian Wars of 1876-77 and beyond, and that's why — surprisingly — I've rated this book only three of five stars here.

In college, I once wrote a paper on a topic that eludes me
After trying to read it for most of spring and summer I have put it aside for the time being with hopes of once complete to read it.

I am fascinated with the subject, but I didn't get drawn in. It was boring, or something I can't put my finger on why I didn't had the urge to read it. The writing is easy to understand, and it has lots of information. Maybe too much that isn't connected with Crazy Horse or the killing of him? I don't know. Something just made me bored.
Oliver Bogler
Aug 24, 2014 Oliver Bogler rated it it was amazing
A fascinating history of the enigmatic Sioux Chief Crazy Horse. With new research, and detailed and meticulous reconstruction, Powers makes Crazy Horse come alive, providing a captivating narrative of the arc of his life, and a feel for his last days. Powers shares the ambiguities and conflicting information for the reader to see. We were just vacationing in the Black Hills and visited Fort Robinson and this book made the place come alive with history for me. Anyone interested in Crazy Horse wou ...more
Jeff Elliott
Little long, far too many names to keep straight who was who, but in general a compelling read.

A few quotes:

the Indian wars were about land, and specifically about removal of Indians from land that whites wanted. Another was the existence of sorrow and tragedy in history—loss and pain that cannot be redeemed. That was not the way I would have put it at the time, but I got the central idea clearly enough.

Powers, Thomas (2010-11-02). The Killing of Crazy Horse (Kindle Locations 116-118). Knopf Dou
Jan 06, 2015 Gary rated it really liked it
Five hundred and ninety-two pages might seem like a long autopsy report on the killing of Crazy Horse. But as any good inquest, the author realizes context is all-important. Thomas Powers devotes a good three-quarters of the book to the Plains Indian wars out of which Crazy Horse rose to become the leader he was. When it comes to the final quarter of the book, the narrative telescopes down to greater and greater detail that led to the murder of Crazy Horse--from day to day, to hour by hour, to m ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a gift for Christmas and I truly enjoyed it. It was actually a book I looked forward to getting back into after a day at work. Mostly because I find the topic endlessly fascinating but also because I enjoyed the author’s meandering style. I do, however, have some disagreements about some of his conclusions and overall tone which I will address later. First, he chose a terrific topic full of mystery and endless opportunities for speculation. The killing of Crazy Horse was a terrible ...more
Brad Hodges
Jun 26, 2012 Brad Hodges rated it liked it
A childhood fascination with American Indians compelled Thomas Powers, who has specialized in books about military intelligence, to write The Killing of Crazy Horse, a completely thorough but at times drawn out and unfocused account of the great Lakota warrior and his murder, which was as much engineered by other Indians as it was whites.

In addition to being an autobiography of sorts of Crazy Horse, Powers also goes into great depth with some of the other players in the story, such as two half-I
I read this at the same time as 1861, with intrigue how the Civil War colored soldiers in both books. But this one, through a Rashomon-like group of points of view, lends motive and background to an awkward tragedy, the violent death of Crazy Horse while under Federal care. Thom Powers, whose essays in review of the modern federal intelligence complex I read in the New York Review of Books, delved deeply into archival sources, even into the personal archives of families and the trade in historic ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Killing of Crazy Horse, by Thomas Powers, narrated by John Pruden, produced by Tantor Media, downloaded from

He was the most feared and loathed Indian of his time, earning his reputation in surprise victories against the troops of Generals Crook and Custer at
the Rosebud and Little Bighorn. Despite his enduring reputation, he has remained an enigma (even the whereabouts of his burial place are unknown, and no
portrait or photograph of him exists). Now, Pulitzer Prize-winning journa
Aug 20, 2013 Barney rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J. Bryce
I read his biography of Diana Oughton -- the Dwight Illinoisan who became a political radical in the 60s and blew her self up accidentally in 1970 -- when I was director of the Prairie Creek Public Library District in lovely Dwight Illinois, and enjoyed Powers' journalistic style -- he'd covered the story as it happened for, I think, the New York Times.

But I've come to believe it takes an historian to write history -- not "just" a journalist. Despite his best efforts, he was not able to fake it
Jul 11, 2011 Andrewhouston rated it really liked it
Great book! I keep going back and forth in my mind whether I liked it as much as S.C. Gwynne's "Empire of the Summer Moon" about the Comanche and Chief Quanah Parker. The Gwynne book was perhaps a more fun read with more colorful characterizations while the Powers book seems to have almost a personal obsession with finding all the details, and weighing one historical person's account against another's. Powers gets really great detail about religious practices of the Lakota and the details of bat ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Keri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was well researched and written to explain the tragedy of the early death of Chief Crazy Horse. The author clearly wrote about the events that led to the distrust and hatred of Crazy Horse by the soldiers and the other Native Americans. I purchased the book at the Little Bighorn Battle Site in Montana and found it informative and interesting.
Jul 23, 2014 Aengus rated it really liked it
"The Killling of Crazy Horse" is a thoughtful, meticulously researched account of one of the most shameful moments in U.S. history. Power's account is all the more powerful for giving a nuanced portrait of the major players involved (General Crook, William Garnett, Sitting Bull) and life on the Plains in the 1870's.
Joe Hewitt
Apr 24, 2015 Joe Hewitt rated it really liked it
This book is full of facts about the northern US Native American tribes, especially the Sioux. It gives a picture of their culture on its way to telling the story of the murder of Crazy Horse. Some little known facts I was glad to learn: The feathers in an Indian's hat or hair each indicated a coup. Although Crazy Horse counted many coups of exceptional bravery, he was modest and wore only two feathers. The special resentment the Sioux felt against the white man because of his smell. The smell o ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
This book lays out the framework for the world we live in today. Our society views land and lives, as perfectly laid out in this story, is grounded by intolerance and a drive to acquire by whatever means necessary.
Cynthia Cole
Oct 31, 2015 Cynthia Cole rated it really liked it
I've quite a few books about this period in history and this is one of the best. It is a bit long, obviously it covers a lot more than just the killing of Crazy Horse, but it is very well written.
Matti Paasio
Oct 05, 2015 Matti Paasio rated it really liked it
Finishing this book meant a lot to me. Now I believe I'm able to finish also Oliver Bullough's Let Our Fame Be Great. There is no limit to my abilities, it seems...

Thanks to Wakan Tanka!
Mar 06, 2012 Vaughn added it
A very detailed well researched read that puts you into the history--Powers uses the background materials (journals-interviews-newspapers of the day) to set the mood for some very tumultuous times--Gold and gain, land grabbing as well as the inflammatory rhetoric used to dehumanize the Indians all come into play. Being a fan of good history, especially since it isn't taught in the schools to any degree of inclusion is especially enlightening. The ruthless campaign of the government to subjugate ...more
Lita Breiwick
Dec 31, 2012 Lita Breiwick rated it really liked it
The white military set out to systematically starve, kill or corral the Sioux into "agencies" (reservations) by burning down their villages, killing off their buffalo and stealing their beloved Black Hills. Then they whined about the moocher Indians expecting handouts after their ponies and guns were confiscated and they couldn't get food. Some Indians turned on their own people by becoming spies or scouts, but most wanted to maintain their beautiful, peaceful lifestyle that worked for them for ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 73 74 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History
  • The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull
  • Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas
  • The Comanche Empire
  • Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means
  • A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American West
  • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
  • 500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians
  • The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story
  • Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World
  • Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Perce: The Untold Story of an American Tragedy
  • The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground
  • Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present
  • Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation
  • The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
  • Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee
  • On the Rez
  • Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota

Share This Book