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Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer [Hardcover]

Jeffry D. Wert
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Jun 1996
Draws on previously overlooked documents to probe the puzzles that have continued to mark the legendary general's life and career.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (1 Jun 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684810433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684810430
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.7 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,187,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic book about an epic life 27 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I completely enjoyed this book. I have read it twice and keep a copy for reference. Mr. Wert tells an exciting story of possibly the most maligned military leader in American history. The reader gets a feel of what the real Custer was. Not a super-hero of the wild west and not the evil egomanic that has been put forth by some revisionist. Custer was above all a solider doing his duty and except for one fatal day in June 1876, he did it better than most. Great job Mr. Wert.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the person looking for just 1 book on Custer 30 Sep 2004
By B. Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jeffry Wert has done a wonderful job here in covering the life of one of the more controversial Generals in American history. The book is comprehensive and covers Custer from his early days as a boy (and for a short time, school teacher) in the midwest through West Point, the Civil War, his days in Kansas and finally his famous and final battle at Little Big Horn.

This book is a perfect fit for anyone who is interested in Custer but doesn't want to read 3 or 4 different books on the man. Yes, there are books out there that cover his life in the Civil War more in depth or that deal with Little Big Horn more but for those new to Custer and want a good overview of the man in one volume, this is perfect.

One thing I like about Wert is he's very balanced on Custer. We read in Wert's book about the man, his triumphs and some of his not so shining moments. Custer had great success during the Civil War and was highly thought of by his fellow commanders for both his courage and skills. He truly was one of the great calvary commanders of the Civil War.

At the same time Wert recounts some not so shining moments like Custer's attempt to trump his commanders at Appomattox by crossing the lines and trying to bluff Longstreet into surrendering the Army of Northern Virginia to him (Longstreet in short told Custer to buzz off). It also frankly deals with Custer's court martial at Fort Leavenworth where Wert does not excuse Custer's actions that landed him in hot water.

Wert really did a nice job on the research. At the same time Wert is a talented writer with a style that is easy and enjoyable to read. If you are looking for one book to read about Custer, this would be a good choice.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic book about an epic life 27 Aug 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I completely enjoyed this book. I have read it twice and keep a copy for reference. Mr. Wert tells an exciting story of possibly the most maligned military leader in American history. The reader gets a feel of what the real Custer was. Not a super-hero of the wild west and not the evil egomanic that has been put forth by some revisionist. Custer was above all a solider doing his duty and except for one fatal day in June 1876, he did it better than most. Great job Mr. Wert.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well documented, and balanced look at an American hero 19 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I knew little about George Custer before reading Mr. Wert's book. I found it to be a well documented, balanced, but limited view of Custer's life and career. Wert provides a view of Custer that is different from the traditional found in average text books. This is the story of a fearless, and courageous American Cavalryman who possessed the traditional qualities that make a great military leader. It also tells the story of a man who has faults and vices like any other. What pleased me most about the book was the extensive documentation effort put forth by Mr. Wert, and the fact that he would always tell the reader whenever he was making an assumption that was not based on tangible documentation. I believe this is a must read for anyone wanting to learn about George Custer, especially his military experiences.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best biography of George Armstrong Custer ever written 3 Feb 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Wert's biography of the flamboyant soldier, who has become
more of a symbol in the 20th Century than a genuine person,
is highly objective, addressing both the positive aspects
of Custer's personality and career and also the negative
side. In examining the numerous controversies and charges
which surround the memory of George Custer, Wert carefully
presents the evidence pro and con and renders a judicious
conclusion. The book is balanced between Custer's early
career with its extraordinary successes during the Civil
War and his life after the end of that war, when he was
faced by challenges worse than those of a Virginia
battlefield. Through strong, unembellished prose, Wert
builds a well-rounded portrait of a soldier and a man,
neither without flaw nor yet the caricature that he has
become in recent decades.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing much added to what we know about Custer 13 Feb 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Jeffery Wert has proven once again that he is an excellent Civil War historian and that is part of the problem with The
Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer.

After a cursory swipe at Custer's pre-civil war life, Wert devotes the majority of his book to the Civil War. Not Custer, but the Civil War, battle after battle in incredible detail. Page after page. Major or minor battle, it matters little. Custer's involvement? Sometimes important, most times not. For a Civil War buff (I plead innocent) I imagine this book is a treasure. For a Custer buff (guilty), I would love to have seen the detail devoted to meaningless battles to events in Custer's life such as the day Custer shot his own horse out from under him while chasing buffalo, a silly but telling event in Custer's western life.
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