Rated 3 stars *** To be published June 3, 2014. ebook. ARC. Arcade Publishing.
Young eighteen-year-old Allen Winslow, against his better judgement, is coerced by his overbearing mother and General George Custer to travel to Fort Lincoln to become Custer’s secretary. There he was expected to ride with Custer and the men of the 7th Cavalry against Sitting Bull and his Sioux warriors. Despite his pacifist reservations, Allen agreed to the plan which also included accompanying sixteen-year-old Addie Grace Lord on the train to visit her surgeon brother at the fort.
Despite his best intentions Allen and Addie Grace fell in love, and the story of what happened at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 is intertwined with their love for each other. In telling their stories Hough explores Custer’s many extramarital affairs, and uses foreshadowing felt by the soldier’s wives and Custer’s scouts to let readers know things won’t turn out as everyone had thought. He uses Allen’s accounts of the battle to describe what happened before, during and after Custer met the Sioux he had eagerly expected to kill.
Absent from Hough’s narrative are the reasons why the Sioux had gathered together in large numbers with other tribes to battle Custer and hold off more encroachment on their lands. A full explanation was also absent of the 1868 massacre, committed by Custer and his men, of Cheyenne women, children and elderly leaders. Hough showed that Custer fully expected to repeat this massacre at Little Bighorn.
If you’re an adult who wants to read a “typical” story of the American West which glorifies the U.S. soldiers and leaders who put Native Americans onto reservations and, if you agree with the U.S. government being allowed to break treaties with the Indians so they could hunt freely for gold, build railroads, forts and settlements on Indian land then “Little Bighorn: A Novel” is the book for you.
If you’d rather read an “untypical” book of the American West which tells the Sioux point of view of why they felt they had no choice but to gather at Little Bighorn, and if you want to read more of the betrayal felt by many tribes at having treaty after treaty broken by the U.S. government, and what happened to those who dared to stand firm on their ancestral land, then you should look elsewhere for a good book.
Thus, I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to Read it or Not.