Review: Evidence and the Custer Enigma

Review: Evidence and the Custer Enigma

Jerome A. Greene's examination of a certain Sunday in June, 1876

Once upon a time in 1995, I went out west on a family trip wondering how many books I would buy.  I wound up coming home with quite a haul, and, naturally, most dealt with George Custer and his last battle.    I began my spree at –fittingly enough- Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument.

This was one of my purchases.

In this short but succinct work (its only seventy pages), Jerome A. Green even-handedly examines the evidence from Indians accounts, as well as artifacts from by both sides such as bullets, arrowheads, etc. , that were left behind from the immortal clash of Sunday, June 25th, 1876 that saw the end of an American legend … as well as the beginning of one.

It is not as “dry” as some books are and everything is pretty much in layman’s terms, not technical ones.

That said, this book is not a lightweight “popular history”-type book of the kind that is a dime a dozen about events such as the battle of Little Bighorn but, rather, a full footnoted work useful to the serious scholar as well as the casual student.

Illustrations abound, chiefly in the form of relics that have been located.  It is very fascinating –and chilling- to look at, say, a bunch of bullets found on the field and wonder things like Did they hit anyone?  Did they miss?  Who fired them amongst the Indians and Custer’s men?

Historians like Mr. Greene can sift, ponder, and postulate conclusions based on the evidence, but only the dead truly know.

This book is a must for serious students of the battle of Little Bighorn.