Custer's Trials

Custer's Trials

A Life on the Frontier of A New America

Book - 2015
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Random House, Inc.

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for History

From the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes and a National Book Award, a brilliant biography of Gen. George Armstrong Custer that radically changes our view of the man and his turbulent times.

In this magisterial biography, T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer’s historical caricature, revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person—capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years).

The key to understanding Custer, Stiles writes, is keeping in mind that he lived on a frontier in time. In the Civil War, the West, and many areas overlooked in previous biographies, Custer helped to create modern America, but he could never adapt to it. He freed countless slaves yet rejected new civil rights laws. He proved his heroism but missed the dark reality of war for so many others. A talented combat leader, he struggled as a manager in the West.

He tried to make a fortune on Wall Street yet never connected with the new corporate economy. Native Americans fascinated him, but he could not see them as fully human. A popular writer, he remained apart from Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, and other rising intellectuals. During Custer’s lifetime, Americans saw their world remade. His admirers saw him as the embodiment of the nation’s gallant youth, of all that they were losing; his detractors despised him for resisting a more complex and promising future. Intimate, dramatic, and provocative, this biography captures the larger story of the changing nation in Custer’s tumultuous marriage to his highly educated wife, Libbie; their complicated relationship with Eliza Brown, the forceful black woman who ran their household; as well as his battles and expeditions. It casts surprising new light on a near-mythic American figure, a man both widely known and little understood.



Baker & Taylor
A portrait of the iconic Civil War commander examines his lesser-known contributions to period politics and the Industrial Revolution, sharing insights into his turbulent relationships, perspectives on Native Americans and conflicts with the military. By a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. 75,000 first printing. 8 maps.

Baker
& Taylor

A biography of the iconic Civil War commander examines his contributions to politics and the Industrial Revolution, sharing insights into his turbulent relationships, perspectives on Native Americans, and conflicts with the military.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307592644
0307592642
Branch Call Number: 973.82 St53c
Characteristics: xxi, 582 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm

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Lchagan
May 26, 2018

Amazing book - T.J. Stiles' expert scholarship and crisp writing bring Custer to life in ways that surprise and educate. Custer was a man of contradictions - vainly heroic in battle, needy and deceitful at other times. He was from a family that supported Confederate slavery positions, yet he empowered a young freed slave woman to oversee much of his personal affairs. His strong-willed wife led efforts to rehabilitate his image - more successfully than the history Stiles relates would suggest is worthy. A must read.

s
slowwriter
Jun 25, 2016

Likely the finest biography I have read, certainly the most thorough telling of this man's fascinating life.

r
rene1951
Nov 24, 2015

His last stand proves that a sufficiently incompetent officer can destroy his command, no matter how good. Archeological and eye-witness accounts available, if interested.

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