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Little Big Man (Panther) [Paperback]

Thomas Berger
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

6 May 1999 Panther

'I am a white man and never forget it, but I was brought up by the Cheyenne Indians from the age of ten.' So starts the story of Jack Crabb, the 111-year old narrator of Thomas Berger's masterpiece of American fiction. As a "human being", as the Cheyenne called their own, he won the name Little Big Man. He dressed in skins, feasted on dog, loved four wives and saw his people butchered by the horse soldiers of General Custer, the man he had sworn to kill.

As a white man, Crabb hunted buffalo, tangled with Wyatt Earp, cheated Wild Bill Hickok and survived the Battle of Little Bighorn. Part-farcical, part-historical, the picaresque adventures of this witty, wily mythomaniac claimed the Wild West as the stuff of serious literature.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New edition edition (6 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860466419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860466410
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 20.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A seminal event in the most significant cultural and literary trend of the 1960s... Few creative works of post-Civil War America have had as much of the fibre and blood of national experience in them" (Nation)

"One of the best novels of the decade and the best novel ever about the American West" (New York Times)

Book Description

‘An epic such as Mark Twain might have given us… a delicious, crazy, panoramic element…’ Henry Miller

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my personal bibles! 21 Oct 2006
I got this book as an Easter present from my parents when I was ten years old, back in the late 1970's, so the book was at least 15 years old then. I think I had not long before seen the film with Dustin Hoffman. I'd always had a fascination with American Indians as they were known then and at that time was just about beginning to read/ see more than what I had been exposed to through John Wayne style westerns - about the same time one of my uncles bought me 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee'.

The book is - as usual- far more broader in its scope than the film, although the film is excellent too. It begins with an amateur researcher tracking down a survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The 111 year old survivor begins the story in 1852 when as a ten year old boy he (Jack Crabb)and his elder sister end up living with a small group of Cheyenne who have killed his father and the other men on their wagon train during a drunken mistake. The elder sister runs away the first night leaving the young Jack with in his own words "newly joined a pack of barbarians".

The book takes the reader through Jacks life up to the age of 34 in 1876 when indeed he survives the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custers Last Stand) - saved by a complex relationship to a Cheyenne playmate from his youth. Throughout the intervening years between 1852 and 1876 Jack oscillates between living with the Cheyenne and frontier society. Often feeling fundamentally 'white' when among the Cheyenne, and feeling fundamentally 'Cheyenne' when among the whites.

The book is laced with great humour, great characterisations (Caroline Crabb, Old Lodge Skins, Little Horse, Younger Bear, Lavender, Reverend Pendrake, Sunshine, Allardyce. T.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic tale of life in the Wild West 6 Dec 1999
By A Customer
A superb historical novel which weaves the fictional character of Jack Crabb into key moments in the history of the Wild West. As a child, Crabb is captured by Indians and brought up as Little Big Man. Later, returning to life as a white man, Crabb is involved in gold rushes, buffalo hunting, gambling with Bill Hicock, fighting with Wyatt Earp and fatefully became the only white man to survive the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Brilliantly told - buy it now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best tale of the Wild West ever written 1 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This is a classic fictional account of a 111 year old man recounting his adventures in the Wild West. Later made into a great movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Little Big Man tangles with all the heroes and villains of the West. The novel encompasses more of the great American Novel than any other book I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Entertaining Picaresque Romp 29 Jun 2008
This entertaining book tells the tale of the post civil war conquest of the American West through the eyes of adventurer and opportunist Jack Crabbe. Taken captive by the Cheyenne at the age of ten, his life is spent alternating between the European invaders and the retreating native Americans. On the way he meets up with a number of key historical figures, Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock and George Armstrong Custer.

I'm not sure how authentic the account of life with the Cheyenne is, it feels a little romanticised, but that apart I thoroughly recommend this book. In style it feels like Peter Carey might have read it before writing some of his saga-like novels.

Oh and it's impossible to read without hearing the voice of Dustin Hoffman.
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