Spencer's Reviews > The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick
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Jun 22, 2010

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Read in June, 2010

I was very excited to read this book after having had a chance to finally meet the author, Nathaniel Philbrick, who is one of my favorite authors, and hear him give a lecture on the topic. However, I must say I was a little disappointed, and not really so much in the book but in the subject. This book covers the story of the Battle of Little Bighorn, where Custer famously made his "last stand" and was wiped out along with all of the soldiers in his command by Sitting Bull and his group of overpowering warriors. The lead up to the fight was very interesting, in terms of how Sitting Bull and his people congregated together, and how Custer made his way towards this inevitable encounter. But the story of how Custer was defeated was somewhat disappointing. I was expecting a valiant charge by Custer and his men, which was bravely withstood by courageous Native American fighters who were fed up with being pushed around, lied to, and manipulated by the US government. Instead, the attack of the US cavalry that day was full of arrogance, stupid military blunders, cowardice, etc., and the much larger group of indian warriors, not surprisingly, won easily. I guess I was a little let down by how the events actually occurred. Having said all that, I still really enjoy Nathaniel Philbrick's writing style and he did a nice job with this book, but I much prefer his other books over this one ("In the Heart of the Sea", "Sea of Glory" and "The Mayflower" - all EXCELLENT!). One final interesting side note - while the title of this book is principally about Custer's "last stand", this battle also marks the beginning of the end of Sitting Bull and his people (i.e., their own "last stand"), as shortly thereafter they were forced by the US government to move onto reservations, thereby giving up their native life style and many defining characteristics about who they were.
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