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BOOK REVIEWS283 Custer in the CivÜ War: His Unfinished Memoirs. Edited by John M. Carroll. (San Rafael, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1977. Pp. 233. $27.50.) General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn: The Federal View. Edited by John M. Carroll. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Garry Owen Press, 1976. Pp. xx, 177. $19.50.) The centennial of George Armstrong Custer's death at the Battle of the Little Big Horn produced a plethora of publications on that fated officer 's life and death. The quality of the books and articles produced ranged from the outstanding to the dismal to the simply unnecessary. These two volumes, both ably edited by Custer's greatest living partisan, John M. Carroll, demonstrate that diversity. Custerin the CivilWaris an invaluable volume worthy of the attention of all CivilWar historians and enthusiasts, while General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn will prove of interest only to collectors and Custer buffs. Custer's Civil War career has been neglected by historians who have concentrated instead on his Indian-fighting exploits. There is no acceptable book devoted to Custer's Civil War days. D. A. Kinsley's Favor the Bold Custer: The Civil War Years (1967) is undocumented, invents dialogue , and is quite novelistic. Jay Monaghan's Custer: The Life of General George Armstrong Custer (1959) does devotehalf of its pages to the Civil War, and Stephen Z. Starr's second volume of The Union Cavalry in the Civil War gives considerable space to Custer's activities. Carroll's Custer in the Civil War does not present the much-needed comprehensive overview of those important years, but it does reprint Custer 's 1876 memoirs from the Galaxy magazine. Custer's death cut short his writing career, and the seven short chapters he wrote cover only his belated graduation from West Point through the battles of Bull Run, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. The memoirs are really more valuable for the insights they provide into Custer's character than for any new information they provide on the opening battles of the Civil War in the East. Not only does Carroll make Custer's memoirs readily available, but he has also collected eleven of Custer's reports of campaigns from Gettysburg to Appomattox. The editor also provides a valuable 606-item bibliography onCusterintheCivilWar. Severalfull-pageillustrationsby Lawrence Bjorkland and Joe Grandee complement this attractively printed and bound volume. General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn: The Federal View is not so easy to recommend to the general reader. It will prove of use only to the specialist or Custer enthusiast. Carroll has gathered together the most important documents, letters, and annual reports from the serial set of government documents that relate to Custer's final campaign. They are reprinted by offset, although the original page numbers have been deleted. Serious students will want to consult the 284CIVIL WAR HISTORY original published documents, but Custer buffs will find this a handy reference work and an attractive volume to add to their collections. In 1978, Carroll edited and published a companion volume on Custer's southern plains Indian campaigns. John Carroll has devoted his life to publishing every conceivable piece of "Custeriana" that he can find. With Custer in the Civil War, he has produced a valuable volume on a little exploited topic, while his General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn will undoubtedly delight the ever-growing legion of Custer collectors and enthusiasts. Paul A. Hutton Utah State University ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 283-284
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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