By Larry McMurtry

Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781451626216, 192pp.

Publication Date: October 22, 2013


This lavishly illustrated volume reassesses and celebrates the life and legacy of the West’s most legendary figure, George Armstrong Custer, from “one of America’s great storytellers” (The Wall Street Journal).

On June 25, 1876, General George Armstrong Custer and his seventh cavalry attacked a large Lakota Cheyenne village on the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory. He lost not only the battle but his life and the lives of his entire cavalry. “Custer’s Last Stand” was a spectacular defeat that shocked the country and grew into a legend that has reverberated in the national consciousness to this day.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry has long been fascinated by the “Boy General” and his rightful place in history. Here he delivers an expansive, clear-eyed reassessment of his life and legacy, revealing a complex, perpetually restless man with a difficult marriage, a hunger for glory, and an unwavering confidence in his abilities. While Custer is first and foremost an enthralling story filled with larger-than-life characters—Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Buffalo Bill Cody, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse—McMurtry also argues that Little Bighorn should be seen as a monumental event in American history, bringing to a close the great narrative of western expansion.

Featuring more than 100 photographs, paintings, and illustrations, Custer is a visually stunning and magisterial portrait of one of the paramount figures of Western and American history, as told by the greatest chronicler of the American West.

About the Author
Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Lonesome Dove", three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Praise For Custer

“The celebrated novelist offers . . . fresh insights on the Custer story. . . . The distilled perceptions of a lifetime of study, beautifully illustrated.”

“Pulitzer Prize-winner McMurtry continues to be an outstanding chronicler of Western legend and lore.”

“A master.”

“One of America’s great storytellers.”

“Larry McMurtry has the power to clutch the heart and also to exhilarate.”

“Few authors match McMurtry’s voice of unsentimental authority.”

“McMurtry has reminded us that, in the hands of a maser, entertaining, old-fashioned storytelling rooted firmly in uniquely American experiences and landscape is pretty darn hard to beat.”

“McMurtry’s book does what dozens of others on Custer have not. It cuts through many of the myths. . . . It’s entertaining and educational at the same time.”

“It is plain speaking that McMurtry delivers . . . the same laconic, whimsical voice that makes his novels so entertaining and readable. The effect is as if one is sitting in a small lecture hall, listening as McMurtry tells his stories from a few notes in a rambling style . . . often revealing and insightful as well as wry and funny.”

“Larry McMurtry, chronicler of the American West, takes on the controversial figure of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in his newest book . . . to contribute to the canon with a short biography that would help bring the complex man into focus.”

“Thoroughness wasn’t Larry McMurtry’s aim when he set out to write this brief treatment. . . . What McMurtry has produced is indeed appealing, with vivid images of Custer, his family and his battles. . . . Despite the lengthy consideration that the author has obviously given his subject. . . this is no hagiography.”

“The foremost chronicler of the American West adds new perspective to our understanding of the frontier experience with this coffee-table-format biography of George Custer.”

“It’s a keeper. . . . If you’re into Custerology or if you’re a history buff, there’s one word to remember when asked what you want this gift-giving season: ‘Custer.’ Because it’s truly impressive.”

“A brief, breezy tour of the man and the conflict, complete with an astonishing variety of photographs and artistic renderings. . . . The reader is in good hands; it’s as if McMurtry invited a customer to the back of his Texas bookstore to spend an afternoon going through his collection.”
-Timothy Egan