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The Removes

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  706 ratings  ·  181 reviews
As the first wave of pioneers travel westward to settle the American frontier, two women discover their inner strength when their lives are irrevocably changed by the hardship of the wild west in The Removes, a historical novel from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Tatjana Soli.

Spanning the years of the first great settlement of the West, The Removes te
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Picador USA (first published June 12th 2018)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 stars

"Danger knows full well that Custer is more dangerous then he."

I love books which not only educate me but also evoke feeling and leave me thinking about them for long after I have finished reading. This was one of those books.

Yes, this book is about General George Armstrong Custer, a.k.a. Autie, and ultimately his last stand, but it is also about his wife, Elizabeth "Libbie" Custer and a fifteen- year-old girl named Anne who was taken captive during an attack on her homestead.

"The lan
Elyse  Walters
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 4th novel I’ve read by Tatjana Soli. I absolutely love her books.

“The Lotus Eaters” was an extraordinary debut that resolved around three characters who were affected by the Vietnam War.

“The Forgetting Tree”, takes place on a ranch in Southern California.

“The Last Good Paradise”, a comic/ tragic tale, takes place on an island resort in the South Pacific.

“The Removes”, historical fiction, is definitely - by far - Tajana’s most ambitious novel to epic story of the Indian
Angela M
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

By the very nature of the slice of American history (1863- 1876) depicted in this novel, violence and death and abuse and brutal treatment permeate the story. The writing is exceptionally descriptive and that makes it difficult to read. Yet, this prevalence of violence is what makes this so realistic. This is what happened. Soli in her note points out that this period of time about the frontier has been romanticized - not so here. There are no holds barred, as she tells the story of George Armst
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoy historical fiction, it’s not often that I read American historical fiction. In the case of The Removes I made an exception because I thought The Lotus Eaters (Soli’s first novel) was remarkable. The Removes is exponentially better. The title, at first glance, refers to the removal of the indigenous Native Americans from their land and the first scene is brutal when a fifteen year old girl is removed from her family and taken captive. Anne’s captivity depicts the nomadic and arduous ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Go west, young man. Settle in the wide open spaces. Yes, settlers experienced freedom and liberty but were arguably unprepared for unmentionable hardship and violence. The nation's policy of Manifest Destiny with the intention of expansion and conquest fueled the Indian Wars on the frontier.

In 1866 Kansas, the Cheyenne frequently rode to homesteads demanding charity, not necessarily freely given. It was "necessary to work the fields with a hoe in one hand and a rifle in the other". Fifteen year
Diane S ☔
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think most of us, at least those close to my own age, learned of Custer's last stand, in history class. That is though, all I ever knew about him. There was so much I didn't know, for example I never knew he fought in our Civil War where he was made the youngest Brigadeer General at the age of twenty five. Nor did I know anything about his wife Libby, who seems to be a special person in her own right. This book starts with Custer fighting in the Civil War, and is told from three different view ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
3.75 stars

The Removes is a strong work of historical fiction, but it’s awfully hard to read — the kind of book that made me want to turn away more than a few times. The story is set in the 1860s and 1870s in the US during the American Indian Wars. The story focuses on two women living separately difficult lives. Anne is a fictional character who is taken captive at the beginning of the story during an attack on her homestead. Libbie is the wife of General Custer, who was a captain in the Calvary
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 impressive stars to The Removes! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

This book. Wow. It took me a while to read The Removes because I had to tread slowly. Although it is smoothly written, it required me to take some breaks from it, which I will describe why in a bit.

Set on the American frontier, The Removes is told with three narrators, a fifteen-year-old named Anne, as well as George Armstrong Custer, and his wife, Libbie. In the opening scene, Anne’s family is attacked without warning by the Sioux, and she is held c
Whew! What a life! "He loved war and thirsted for victory."

THE REMOVES is a historical work of fiction that tracks the life of General George Armstrong "Autie" Custer through the American Civil War and American Indian War ending with the massacre of "Custer's Last Stand" at Little Big Horn in Montana.

The novel also follows wife Libbie Bacon Custer who endures hardships, some scary times (OMGOSH, the Dakota blizzard), disease....and humiliation....from her womanizing husband, but she stands by

May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

This is the first book I’ve read by Tatjana Soli. It won’t be the last. Starting with an Indian raid of a Kansas homestead, she paints an in depth story where you can see the entire narrative play out like movie scenes.

The novel bounces between Anne, one of the few survivors of the raid, Libbie Custer, her husband George and Tom, George’s brother.

I’ve said it before and will reiterate the sentiment again, a good historical novel teaches you something as it tells its story. Soli explains George
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, a mix of fact and fiction on the life of General Custer during The Civil War and Indian wars. The story is told through the eyes of Custer, his wife Libbie, and a fifteen-year-old girl who is abducted by the Cheyenne in Kansas. Despite the violence of these times, I was engrossed mostly in the stories of the women and their difficulties and hardships in these times of western expansion, and also the life of the Indians.

Thank you to Netgalley and FSG for the opportunit
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Wow. I could probably stop there, honestly, because that’s about all you need to know. But… I can’t do that because I loved this book too much not to talk about it.

This novel was an intense portrayal of yet another of America’s darkest periods of history. And it is told through the perspectives of three fascinating characters: two women whose lives were connected in various ways to Gen. George Armstrong Custer, and Custer himself.

I will reiterate one of my frequent sentiments about historical fi
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[3.5] The Removes alternates between three individuals: Custer, his wife Libbie, and Anne, a young woman taken captive by a Cheyenne tribe. Brutal and bloody, Soli strips away any romanticism in her depiction of the American West. Although the novel gripped me in the early pages, by the halfway point it started to drag. I am not a war novel aficionado and grew bored by Custer's relentless battles, impatient to get to the segments about Anne.
"A hawk was wheeling through the air currents, riding each swell with outstretched wings, gliding effortlessly. Without a doubt Golden Buffalo would have traded his life for that of the hawk. He was weary of being human."

And being human draws from a source from within.....that internal flicker of personal energy that motivates a single action through fear, desire, envy, dissatisfaction, or a thirst for insatiable power. It finds its way, at times, embedded in the fibers of simple survival.

May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you, NetGalley, Farrah, Straus, and Giroux, and Tatjana Soli for a free advanced copy.

I was so looking forward to this read. But, I am sorry to say it just did not work for me. I am blaming myself as I thought the prose would read differently.

I enjoyed Anne's story so much more than that of Autie and Libbie. There was more time spent in the beginning of the story following Anne's sufferings and life among the Indians, it just wasn't enough for me. The descriptions of frontier life I belie
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2018-read
DNF @42 %
Indian Wars chick lit. This book has it all: Stock characters whose motivations make no sense, clumsy narration, cringeworthy pathos, and "wisdom" that even Ayn Rand would probably consider dubious.

One of our female narrators is Libbie, "the most eligible girl in town", with an "independent streak" who has already "turned down a number of proposals". But beware: She "was always realistic about herself - she was nothing particularly special except for Autie's love for her." You think th
Rating: 4 stars
This work of historical fiction features George and Libbie Custer, and Anne Cummins. Annie was captured by the Sioux in a raid on her home when she was fifteen. The timeframe the main story occurs is from the early Civil War years until Custer’s death at The Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana Territory. (1861 – 1876) The storylines alternate between Libbie Custer, George Custer, and Annie Cummins. The book really speaks to the hardships and horrors endured and inflicted during th
Heather Fineisen
This was a hard book to read as the content was so brutally, if accurately, depicted. The western, the cavalry, the Indians are all well researched and the points of view well-chosen. Told by battle, Libbie Custer or the imagined Anne, the story captures the beauty of nature vs the deceit and greed of man. The subject is not really for me but as a fan of the Author, I wanted to read this. The treatment of animals and the descriptions, although realistic, did me in. The atrocities of man vs. man ...more
Joy D
Historical fiction that separately tells the stories of two women: George Armstrong Custer’s wife, Libbie, a real person, and Anne Cummins, a fictional character taken captive by the Cheyenne at age 15. Libbie’s story is based around her husband’s military career, as he rises through ranks, finds the limelight, and tackles various assignments. Anne’s story follows her assimilation into a new culture, as she migrates with and is traded to different tribes. As the story unfolds, we come to underst ...more
Karen KK
I received this from in exchange for a review.

Fifteen year old Anne survives a surprise attack on her family’s homestead, captured and forced to live with the Cheyenne. Libbie, too, is thrown into a brutal, unexpected life when she marries George Armstrong Custer.

I didn't realize Custer was a Civil War veteran. I liked the fictional story of Anne better than Libbie. It just seemed to flow and read easier than the actual historical happenings of Libbie and Custer.


Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Merriam-Webster defines remove, a transitive verb, as: "to change the location, position, station, or residence of remove soldiers to the front." There are eighteen removes in this novel.

The setting: "Spanning the years of the first great settlement of the west ... the intertwining stories of fifteen-year-old Anne Cummins [abducted from her family homestead during an attack], frontierswoman Libbie Custer, and Libbie’s husband,
From author’s note: …”Literature by its nature is political in that it gives us empathy for those unlike ourselves…”

Tatjana Soli crafts a memorable western novel in ‘The Removes.’ Told from the perspective of three major characters, George Armstrong Custer, his wife, Libbie Bacon, and Anne Cummins, who is taken hostage by the Cheyennes at age fifteen, the story also features a few chapters from the POV of Custer’s brother, Tom, and Golden Buffalo, an Indian who has left his tribe to learn the wa
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book cover holds an emotional and meaningful story about how this country expanded westward and what the cost was to settlers and native people. The book focuses on three characters: George Armstrong Custer, his wife Libbie and the fictional Anne Cummins a white teen-age captive of the Cheyenne. The land, the environment, and people they encounter test all three. For Custer the challenges are the politicians, the Army, his family, his sense of duty and loyalty to the mission before f ...more
Bonnye Reed
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
GNab The Removes is an excellent historical fiction based on fact novel concerning G. A. Custer and his life and times, a more sympathetic coverage of Custer than some, and often our view of him is through the eyes of his wife Libby Bacon Custer. Our story begins in Virginia in 1863 when Custer, the youngest General in the US Calvary, slips over the battle lines in Confederate uniform to honor his promise to be best man at the side of his West Point friend Forester. A big part of the appeal of A ...more
I was drawn to this book to get a little history lesson about General Custer since I don't remember much about him from school. Real-life characters like him and his wife Libbie and his brother Tom share the pages of this book with a fictional 15-year-old girl who is captured by Indians when her homestead is raided. We follow Custer's rise in the military ranks, his marriage and highlights of his personal life as well as Anne's 6+ year captivity and rescue by Custer's Calvary. The two plot lines ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this fictionalized story of Custer fascinating. I know far less than I probably should about America's history in the west and what I do know seems part revisionist history and part fable, so I fell into this story of war, conquest, captivity, courage and adventure pretty hard. She is absolutely telling this story through white men and women's eyes, but she does not shy away from the travesties committed against Native Americans. Nor do those tribes come through unscathed. There is a lot ...more
Tatjana Soli has done a superb job of recounting the lives of Libbie and George Armstrong Custer. Told in alternating chapters in the voice of one or them or the other, they are joined in their telling by the voice of Anne Cummins, a young women who was captured by the Cheyenne and lived with them for several years.
Libbie Bacon is a young woman living in Monroe, Michigan, with her widowed father. George Custer is from the same home town, though from a much poorer family than Libbie’s. After Geo
Shawna Seed
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a native of the Great Plains and a sucker for fresh takes on frontier stories. The Removes, by Tatjana Soli, weaves together the experiences of Libbie Bacon Custer, her husband, Gen. George Armstrong Custer, and Anne Cummins, a 15-year-old captured by the Cheyenne.

Soli's writing is fluid and evocative. Like Willa Cather, she captures the beautiful – and sometimes terrifying – expansiveness of the plains.

Because Libbie Custer spent her widowhood burnishing her husband's reputation, she's ge
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book Review: The Removes
Author: Tatjana Soli
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sarah Crichton Books
Publication Date: June 12, 2018

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This just was an absolutely extraordinary book. Historical fiction about George Armstrong Custer, his wife Libbie, and his brother Tom. That was one story line. Intermixed was the story of two white women who was captured by native tribes. Their life of captivity is told from one of
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing historical fiction depicting the life of General George Armstrong Custer and his loyal wife, Libbie. Told on a parallel course is the story of Anne Cummins, a young girl on the cusp of womanhood who is capture by the Lakota Sioux and integrated into the life of the tribe.

We all know how this story ends but it is a tantalizing look at this time in our history and also into the complex character of General Custer and his wife. If you love historical fiction, this is the book fo
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Tatjana Soli is an American novelist and short-story writer. Her first novel, The Lotus Eaters (2010), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize, was a New York Times Bestseller, and a New York Times 2010 Notable Book. Her second novel, The Forgetting Tree (2012) was a New York Times Notable Book. Soli's third novel, The Last Good Paradise, was among Th ...more

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“Upon suffering beyond suffering: the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness, and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one. —CRAZY HORSE” 0 likes
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