Fights on the Little Horn: Unveiling the Myths of Custer’s Last Stand by Gordon Harper

Snip20160127_1The late Gordon Harper passed away before finishing this comprehensive volume. The writers of both the book’s forward and the chapters regarding “the last stand” make it very clear Mr. Harper’s notes are the source if their writing.

It is very apparent that Mr. Harper spent hundreds of hours on the battlefield knowing it intimately. Significant efforts have been to be made to recreate in detail the actions on June 25-26, 1876. The author did an outstanding job.

The book’s eight maps show the positions of all the soldiers and warriors as well non-combatants. Two maps show the locations of the bodies of the dead.

Each chapter is well documented with numerous footnotes. The references and quotes are from primary sources. Sworn testimony from the Reno Commission and the newspapers of the time are the primary sources.

The conclusions drawn by the author may give cause for debate. Mr. Harper’s deductions are:

  • Colonel Custer was just following orders.
  • He used the standard cavalry tactics of the day when attacking an Indian encampment.
  • The tactics failure were they were not designed for the scale of the adversary – the largest gathering of Plains Indians in one place.
  • This Indians didn’t run as was expected.
  • They fought the U.S. Cavalry to a standstill.
  • The Indians wiped out all riding with Custer.
  • Harper’s research shared quotes from the Native Americans.
  • The Indians indicate that the majority of the 7th Cavalry stood their ground as long as possible.
  • The cavalry troopers concentrated fire was deadly on the charging warriors.

It is a different, even controversial view of the battle. It is also a controversial view of the General Custer.

The hardcover copy is 386 pages. It is an excellent resource and a must for any Custer historian, amateur or professional.

Jimmie Aaron KeplerJimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and vox poetica. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can learn more about him at Kepler’s Coffee House.


The Crimson River

Crimson-fr-cov-sm“The Crimson River” by Donna Westover Gallup is Book Four in the Mysterious Ways series. The publisher is Cladach Publishing.

Donna Westover Gallup does her usual great job of telling a spellbinding tale. It is what I have come to expect from this great storyteller. I was surprised the story went back and forth between the present and the 19th-Century Colorado Territory. While that caught me off guard, the use of flashbacks was a marvelous way to tell the story.

The author wasted no time getting right to the mysteries that kept me turning the pages. I feel she had a good balance of Christian faith without a forced insertion of “the plan of salvation” just to do it. God’s activity in the lives of the characters was apparent chapter after chapter. Well done!

The story progresses well. The inclusion of historically accurate events adds to the drama. The trip to Texas with the mesquite thorn poisoning and then to Missouri with the inclusion of the small pox story line was well told and frighteningly realistic.

The author did a nice job of wrapping up a lot of loose ends as the book concluded. Without spoiling the ending I will say it was more real life than some readers may have preferred. However, I felt it was right on the mark.

I hope Donna Westover Gallup has her next book in the works. I love the way she tells her story, how it includes the Almighty’s activity in everyday life and hope she has more stories to tell.

Read in October 2012 and reviewed in March 2013.

Note: I have read all four books in the series. I read The Crimson River the last week of October 2012, the same week the book was released. I did not have a review copy. I purchased my copy. I had a job change October 29th, a major car accident November 5th that put in in the emergency room via ambulance, and serious injuries after a very bad fall on ice just when I was recovering from the car wreck. All delayed the writing of this review as well as several other projects.