Friday, July 23, 2010

George Armstrong Custer: Hero or Half Wit?

History while it purports to tell the truth is, in fact, just an interpretive story of chronological events, a made up story that we have agreed to accept. This is why history so often changes. When General George Armstrong Custer was killed by the Sioux in 1876 he was heralded by newspapers as a “Christian knight martyred in the cause of civilization”. Today, many believe that Custer would be facing a war crimes trial for genocide. As would his commanding officer, General Philip, ‘The only good Indian is a dead Indian’ Sheridan. History is a kaleidoscope, the view changes with the values of each succeeding generation.

Hero?



or Half Wit?





Custer’s Last Stand: Portraits in Time



Since his death along the bluffs overlooking the Little Bighorn River, in Montana, on June 25, 1876, over five hundred books have been written about the life and career of George Armstrong Custer. Views of Custer have changed over succeeding generations. Custer has been portrayed as a callous egotist, a bungling egomaniac, a genocidal war criminal, and the puppet of faceless forces. For almost one hundred and fifty years, Custer has been a Rorschach test of American social and personal values. Whatever else George Armstrong Custer may or may not have been, even in the twenty-first century, he remains the great lightning rod of American history. This book presents portraits of Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn as they have appeared in print over successive decades and in the process demonstrates the evolution of American values and priorities.




1 comment:

cometkatt said...

Certainly no hero - but neither a half-wit. I think him to have been profoundly Egotistical and possibly a meglomaniac