Inventing Custer: The Making of an American Legend

Edward Caudill and Paul G. Ashdown. Rowman & Littlefield, $40 (362p) ISBN 978-1-4422-5186-1
In the fourth book of a series exploring the myths and reality of famous Civil War leaders, University of Tennessee professors Caudill and Ashdown (Sherman’s March in Myth and Memory) demonstrate how George Armstrong Custer’s Civil War experience is critical to understanding his personality, and describe the multiple interpretations of Custer’s life and his influence on American history, society, and culture. The first half of this well-researched book highlights differing interpretations of Custer’s significant Civil War experiences and successes. The second half of the book sketches his frontier experience and includes a short overview of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, with the bulk of the text devoted to a detailed survey of media interpretations of his exploits. For those familiar with Custer’s history, these are the most interesting sections of the book, as the authors analyze historical interpretations of Custer and his role in varied works of fiction and nonfiction. Finally, Caudill and Ashdown look at the influence of the Custer myth on popular perceptions of Native Americans and on other elements of popular culture. Well written and informative, this accessible volume is a valuable addition to serious Custer scholarship. (Oct)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 388 pages - 978-1-4422-5187-8
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