Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 Custer's Last Battle

I read a commemorative edition of Paul Goble's book, Custer's Last Battle. It has a foreword by Joe Medicine Crow, whose grandfather was one of Custer's scouts and was present at the battle. This edition also has an introduction by the author that explains how he pieced together details from many different first-hand accounts to create the book. Mr. Goble used published accounts of Native Americans who had taken part in the battle and blended them into a narrative told by his fictional character, Red Hawk. This approach makes the story seem to be a tribal tale told over and over, working with what the teller himself experienced and what he has been told by others who were there. The illustrations are also done in a style that mimics tribal artwork Mr. Goble had seen in museums. The style is called "ledgerbook art" because it was originally created in books or ledgers made to record the accounts  of traders out west. 

I would recommend this book to students interested in American History, Native Americans, or military history. It would work well in a social studies unit on westward expansion or for art teachers covering Native American arts and crafts. We already have several other books by the same author; The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Buffalo Woman, Her Seven Brothers, and Iktomi and the Boulder.

If you are interested in the art form used in the book, the Milwaukee Public Museum is one of the places that Mr. Goble first saw examples of "ledgerbook art."

For more info on Paul Goble, check out the publisher's websiteThe e-book copy I read was provided as an advance copy from the publishers through NetGalley. This edition will be released August 31, 2013.

Cover of Custers Last Battle

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