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Robert M. Anderson

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A Reader's Guide to Custeriana
by Robert M. Anderson   

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Publisher:  Robert M. Anderson ISBN-10:  069201165X


Copyright:  2010 ISBN-13:  9780692011652

Upton & Sons, Publishers

Annotated bibliography containing nearly 3500 numbered entries, hundreds of additional references to people, places and events, Foreword, Introduction, Appendices and Note on the Author.

A new, revised and enlarged edition of this encyclopedic, annotated bibliography.  It now contains nearly three thousand five hundred citations for books and articles dealing with George Armstrong Custer, the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the Sioux-Cheyenne campaign of 1876-1877 and the Plains Indian wars of 1854-1890.  There are hundreds of additional entries referencing important people, places, and events involved in the Plains Indian wars.  The majority of the citations are critically annotated and internally cross-referenced.  Those addressing particularly significant and/or controversial subjects and personalities receive special attention.  The greatly expanded bibliographic entries now contain data on reprints of scarce or rare early works and on recently published correspondence, manuscripts and interviews.  A new appendix contains a lengthy original essay, “A Critical Analysis of Elwood L. Nye’s Marching with Custer.”

Coil Bound in heavy, laminated, illustrated wrappers

GRAHAM, William A., The Story of the Little Big Horn, New York (The Century Co.) 1926 (Dustin 125/606, Luther 112, Dowd 399/1082MA). Reprinted, Harrisburg (Military Service Publishing Co.) 1941, and several more times. Second edition, with additional material 1952. *Reprinted, New York (Bonanza Books) 1959. Reprinted, Lincoln (University of Nebraska Press) 1988 (softbound). *Reprinted, Mechanicsburg (Stackpole Books) 1994 (hardbound), New Introduction by Brian C. Pohanka.

One of the foremost scholars on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Graham was less partisan than most and, perhaps because of his military background, tended to be more understanding of how the stress of combat is handled; well by some, less well by others, e.g. Marcus A. Reno. In commenting on this book, the ever-irascible Fred Dustin grumbled about Graham’s mildly “…disparaging tone of Reno’s leadership on the bluffs,” but generally approved of it. Beginning with the 1952 edition, Graham included Colonel R. P. Hughes’ “The Campaign Against the Sioux in 1876,” as an Appendix. Brian Pohanka’s Introduction in the 1994 reprint contains an excellent biographical sketch of Graham.

Professional Reviews

A Reader's Guide to Custeriana, by Robert M. Utley
Colonel Anderson has produced a refreshingly original work; an expansive, annotated compendium of published sources and hundreds of persons, places and events dealing with George Armstrong Custer, the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Plains Indian wars. With analytical annotations and internal cross-referencing, the Reader’s Guide is the first fully integrated bibliographic listing of Custeriana published in nearly thirty years, though one will find significantly more than bibliography here.

In contrast to all previous Custer bibliographies, this Guide offers informative, critical commentary addressing the content, context and merit of thousands of primary sources and the relevant published scholarship of Custeriana. The analysis is exceptionally detailed and instructive, especially regarding the most important and controversial material, truly making this volume a thoroughgoing guide for the serious reader of Custeriana.

Further, the unique internal cross-referencing is especially valuable in that it allows the individual reader to compare and contrast the diverse ways in which writers have interpreted, evaluated and employed the data, thus providing a sound basis for authenticating their conclusions and theories. This is especially important for the newcomer because so much of Custeriana involves intense, often contentious debates that surround the personalities, events and scholarship of the Indian wars, especially with respect to the campaign of 1876-77 and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The essence of these debates is easily illustrated by noting just a few of the controversies surrounding a single episode of the Plains Indian wars—the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The numerous disputes associated with that battle touch on such sensitive subjects as the cultural chauvinism influencing the planning and execution of the campaign, the question of compliance or noncompliance with official orders, the hasty committing of fatigued men and animals to battle, the adequacy of the reconnaissance, the deployment of divided force, the decision to accept battle on terrain distinctly unfavorable to cavalry operations, charges of timidity and cowardice leveled against subordinates, etc., etc. Then there are the arguments involving the accuracy and veracity of the first-person oral and written accounts, and the meaning and importance of the topographical and artifact evidence. Finally, there are the many questions regarding the validity of the evidence presented to, and the conclusions reached by, the army inquiry into the conduct of the senior surviving officer of those present at the battle. Thus, it is not surprising that students of Custeriana must be prepared to sort through the confusing evidence, in addition to the convoluted and imaginative theories and conclusions that many writers of Custeriana have formulated.

Colonel Anderson’s meticulous bibliographic research and analytic scrutiny will save interested readers, students and collectors many hours and much frustration when collating and verifying data regarding the thousands of persons, places and events involved in the Plains Indian wars.

Though his candid comments regarding the quality of research, plausibility of theories, accuracy of documentation, and attention to composition and editing may ruffle a few feathers, they are well informed, reflecting many years of study and contemplation.

This volume is a welcome addition to the scholarship of Custeriana.

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