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They Died with Custer: Soldiers' Bones from the Battle of the Little Bighorn Paperback – 1 Sep 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; New edition edition (1 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806135077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806135076
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 693,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Relying on historical sources, archaeological evidence, skeletal remains, and many illustrations, the authors investigate the lives of the cavalrymen who rode and died with General Custer and examine past and present views about how to memorialize their deaths. UP. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In 1983, a careless smoker threw a cigarette from a car while passing by Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, igniting a range fire that swept over the battlefield. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 May 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book describes all of the human remains found on the Little Bighorn battlefield and even gives positive identifications of a handful of them. This is also the only book where you can find analysis and information on the bones found on Reno Hill in 1958, and other bones and skeletons found from 1877 to the mid-20th century. Don't be dismayed by the scholarly subject matter - it is well-written and the prose is clear. The only criticism I must offer is the attempt to make far-reaching conclusions about 19th century American life in the West from what can be deduced from their bones. This was unconvincing because I didn't think there were enough bones available to justify any such hypotheses.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Nov. 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very informative and interesting book that has become a must for all Custerphiles. It's a little dry in places and concentrates mainly on the Reno defense site where most of the new remains were found. I also agree with comments that it does not substantiate some of the claims made about a 19th century troopers life/lifestyle but all in all an excellent companion to 'History, Archaeology and Custers Last Battle'. It's worth the price just to find out what happened to Mitch Bouyer!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Bull on 8 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
This super book is one of the few that uses osteology in an attempt to help tell a rounded story of an historical event. On the face of it the chances of success would appear high, since the Battle of the Little Bighorn led to the death of a recorded group of individuals, most of whom were buried in a known, and relatively confined, area less than 150 years ago. We quickly discover that things are not that simple. For not only were many of the dead badly mutilated, but enlistment records were also sometimes inadequate. Moreover a key problem was how many times the casualties had been buried and reburied and moved about the field - the memorial markers on which turned out to be somewhat casually distributed.

The raw material of this study is fascinating, if gruesome, and we gain some interesting insights into the nineteenth century American cavalryman - his stature, background, prediliction for tobacco, and the illnesses and injuries he suffered. The book is generally well written and accessible to the non specialist as well as the specialist. Well worth reading.

There are a few minor flaws and curiosities worthy of note. One is that DNA appears to have played such a small part in the identification processes. In the one obvious case where DNA was used (George Lell) it proved that the conclusion regarding identification drawn by the authors from the bones was incorrect ! Another point - picked up by other reviewers - is some uneveness in the comparative methodologies employed. For example quite a bit of ink and a chart or two are expended in showing that young children and the over 50s do not feature strongly in the ranks of the 7th Cavalry (pp 249 -255). If worth mentioning at all this could easily have been dealt with in a sentence.

Nevertheless this occasional prolixity is a price well worth paying for such an informative and entertaining read - which does push the study of Custer and his men a significant step forward.
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Format: Paperback
I personally felt this was a bit of a lazy book. A lot of time is spent comparing the troops in relation to the general populus. Most of this information is already available and offers no extra insight to enthusiasts of the battle.

I was hoping for much more of a forensic investigation. In recent years analysis of spent cartridges has enabled scientists to plot the route across the battle field of particular weapons. I was hoping for something more akin to this. Had I been able to browse this book in a book store I would not have purchased it. I am going to be more careful what I buy online in future.
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Format: Paperback
Very interesting, a full scientific approach should be read in conjunction with Son of Morning Star or Red Sabbath.
Wish I could have helped with the research and archaeology, truly enlightening definately puts flesh on bone!
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