Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Plains Indian Wars Books

As I was born and grew up a few miles from the site of the battle of Beecher's Island, the Plains Indian Wars have always held a strong interest for me.  I'm sure I'm not alone in being fascinated by the campaign and battle of the Little Bighorn.   I've always wondered what Custer was thinking when it was obvious that something very wrong was happening....all those battles in "the war", and its going to end here on this barren slope in the middle of nowhere??

Anyway, on to some of my favorites:

Yellowstone Command, by Jerome Greene.
(Greene is a retired National Park Service historian.  I've had the pleasure of listening to many of his author's talks at local bookstores.  This is a representative work of his, in this case covering Miles campaign in the Great Sioux War 1876-77.  He has a large volume of work; you can't go wrong with any of them.  I asked him what he was going to do now that he was retired...his answer?  "I'm going to read all of those books that I've bought over my lifetime!")

Life of a Soldier on the Western Frontier, by Jeremy Agnew.
(Paperback, nice summary of what life was like on the plains in the army.  Covers organization, armament, enemies, ...great stuff)

Lakota Noon, The Indian Narrative of Custer's Defeat, by Gregory Michno.
(Michno is a proflific Indian Wars author, and I consider this book to be one of the absolute best on the LBH.  Fascinating analysis of Indian testimonies; almost a time motion study of the battle.)

Great Sioux War Orders of Battle; How the United States Army Waged War on the Northern Plains, 1876-1877, by Paul Hedren.
(Great detail; not necessarily an easy read, but really interesting to follow the various deployments through the war)

With Custer at the Death, by Robert Burke
(Absolutely THE best mapped book of the LBH I've seen.  Follows the battle phase by phase)

The Last Stand, by Nathaniel Philbrick.
(I also had a chance to listen to Philbrick at a local author presentation.  This one was filmed for Book TV - I'm shown in the footage; a special prize to anybody who spots me!  This book reads like a novel, and really captures the drama and color of that summer in 1876)

Do I game the Plains Indian Wars?  Not yet....I've never found a way to resolve the proper feel of scenario.  I just find the environment, tactical situations, and personalities so compelling that they are of great interest to me as a period to study.

No comments:

Post a Comment