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Potomac Books


Custer's Last Campaign, Custer's Last Campaign, 080322138X, 0-8032-2138-X, 978-0-8032-2138-3, 9780803221383, John S. Gray, , Custer's Last Campaign, 0803270402, 0-8032-7040-2, 978-0-8032-7040-4, 9780803270404, John S. Gray, , Custer's Last Campaign, 0803288905, 0-8032-8890-5, 978-0-8032-8890-4, 9780803288904, John S. Gray

Custer's Last Campaign
Mitch Boyer and the Little Bighorn Reconstructed
John S. Gray

1991. Illus., maps
$35.00 s
Out of Print
1993. 446 pp.
Illus., maps
$27.95 s

No battle in American history has inspired more debate and conjecture than the one that claimed Custer’s command at the Little Bighorn. Just when it seemed that nothing more could be said, John S. Gray has shed new light on it. Scrupulously researched, Custer’s Last Campaign will, predicts Robert M. Utley, “radically and enduringly transform the historiography of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.”

Starting with the shadowy Mitch Boyer, a mixed-blood heretofore known only as the sole army scout to follow Custer into battle and die with him, Gray devotes Part I of the book to filling in the details of Boyer’s thirty-nine years preceding the Sioux campaign of 1876. His career as a guide and interpreter epitomized the advance of white Americans into Indian country which led to the tragic encounters of that year. Part II covers the two weeks (June 11–25 during which Boyer served as Custer’s key guide and scout. Here the focus and approach change, for the troopers and scouts separate into many parties. Numerous details of the last days, hours, and seconds of the campaign have never before been clarified, and the final action of Custer’s own battalion has remained in limbo.

Using only known primary accounts of the battle and employing topographic research in conjunction with time-motion analysis, Gray has produced, for the first time, a coherent picture of those nebulous events. His method exposes accounts that are blatantly impossible and illuminates the often undervalued interviews with Indian scounts. The resulting reconstruction of the battle is convincing and illuminating—a unique work that will profoundly influence future conceptions of what happened that Sunday at the Little Bighorn.

John S. Gray was a distinguished historian whose books included the acclaimed Centennial Campaign: The Sioux War of 1876.

"Easily the most significant book yet published on the Battle of the Little Bighorn."—Paul L. Hedren, Western Historical Quarterly

"[Gray] has applied rigorous analysis as no previous historian has done to these oft-analyzed events. His detailed time-motion study of the movements of the various participants frankly boggles the mind of this reviewer. No one will be able to write of this battle again without reckoning with Gray"—Thomas W. Dunlay, Journal of American History

"Gray's analysis, by and large, is impressively drawn; it is an immensely logical reconstruction that should stand the test of time. As a contribution to Custer and Indian wars literature, it is indeed masterful."—Jerome A. Greene, New Mexico Historical Review

"Gray challenges many time-honored beliefs about the battle. Perhaps most significantly, he brings in as much as possible the testimony of the Indian witnesses, especially that of the young scout Curley, which generations of historians have dismissed for contradictions that Gray convincingly demonstrates were caused not by Curley but by the assumptions made by his questioners . . . The contrasts in [this] book. . . restate the basic components of what still attracts the imagination to the Little Bighorn."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

1991 Spur Award, sponsored by the Western Writers of America, non-fiction category winner
1992 John M. Carroll Literary Prize, sponsored by the Little Big Horn Association, winner

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Custer Victorious
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I Fought With Custer
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Touched by Fire
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