okay, i adore this book. i first read it maybe 4 years ago, and swooned over it then. i just began re-reading it, and for the first fifty pages i was like ‘why did i even like this’
OH YEAH cause evan s. connell is a boss of a storyteller. it may be a surprise to find out that i adore a book about the battle of the little bighorn but this shit is moving. evan s. doesn’t just examine the battle. he explores the lives around everyone involved, even going into etymology of the plains tribes who appear in this book. he paints custer as a deeply flawed man, cruel and vain, hated by nearly everyone he comes across, not as a hero or a victim to native brutality. he reconstructs the world these people lived in: institutionalised genocide against native peoples, the momentum of westward expansion, how furiously native peoples fought back against the loss of their entire way of living. he even goes into detail about the lives, customs & etymology of native groups, which is so important in shedding light and giving context to these events.
and his writing is so dreamy. i’m such a romantic at heart. “He stands forever on that dusty Montana slope.” just kills me. i don’t know what it is, but…damn. this book is painstakingly researched and offers diverse sources and weighs them against each other before taking a stand. such a thing can only appeal to me!
What a flamboyant, outrageous figure. What a sense of himself he had. He must have considered himself immortal, at least when his hair was long, as invincible as Beowulf or Sigfried or Harold Greatheart. He sprang from that race of blue-eyed, long-nosed devils who once upon a time trotted arrogantly through cold black forests with the North Sea in their veins; and being who he was, he must have felt their eyes on him as he galloped across the American prairie, strawberry curls flowing in the wind. Even his weapons–Remington sporting rifle with octagon barrel, two self-cocking ivory-handled Webley Bulldog pistols, a hunting knife in a beaded scabbard–everything about him contributed to this image.
more poets should write history books.