cover image Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse

Larry McMurtry. Penguin Audiobooks, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-14-086857-9

McMurtry's historical biography of Crazy Horse, the Sioux warrior who was a leader at the Battle of Little Big Horn, is one of two initial audio releases in the new Penguin Lives series. (The other is Marcel Proust by Edmund White, read by Barbara Rosenblatt). In each, an accomplished novelist tackles the short-form biography as a literary challenge (note: as audio programs, these are only ""slightly"" abridged). For McMurtry, this means reexamining the American Old West, the territory of his epic, multivolume fiction adventures (Lonesome Dove, etc.). Noting that almost nothing that Crazy Horse said was ever recorded, McMurtry relies on the historical record, interviews with elderly Sioux conducted early in this century and on his own thoughtful analysis of the general mood of the times. As audio, it's this sense of the author's fresh curiosity that keeps the program interesting. Actor Conger performs his narration in subdued tones, which respectfully reflect the academic spirit of McMurtry's project. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover. (Feb.)