custerwest's and Little Bighorn battlefield visitors, angered by the silence of the National Park Service, constantly ask for a richly detailed English book that would explain the Little Bighorn betrayal and cover-up. Here is the best book.
THE BEST ONE
[ Keep in mind that speaking about betrayal (a soft word for crimes of high treason) is out of question in 90% of the American books on Little Bighorn. This one makes no exception. You will find a lot of "mismanagement", "dawdling", "falsehoods", but the embarassment is obvious when it is clear that Major Reno and Captain Benteen sent their comrades to hell.
There is also a curious statement, at the end of the book, about Benteen's finest moment as a soldier being the Little Bighorn (not very kind for US soldiers who never betrayed any of their comrades)...
Nevertheless, these taboos of the "convenient mystery" are really nothing, compared to the monumental and absolutely brilliant work done by Jim Donovan.
This book is a milestone in Custeriana, an awesome work that will help you understand the betrayal and the cover-up of Custer's Last Stand.
You will understand the corruption of the US army, Captain Benteen's venomous personality, Major Reno's cowardice and the whole farce of the Reno Court of Inquiry.
Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn, best-seller in the USA, is a giant step forward.]
Author Jim Donovan, 2008
Review (May 2008) by custerwest.org member Bill Rini, Moderator of the Little Big Horn Associates Message Board, Indian War Reenactor, and Myles Keogh Living Historian.
A Terrible Glory by James Donovan is and excellent read and a wonderful introductory book for the serious student interested in the Indian War period of American History.
I would not call this an introductory book on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, as it is far more than that. It is by far and away the best written and researched book on the overall story of the battle and the events leading up to it since Son Of The Morning Star by Evan Connell. In fact, I found it to be better written, more organized and better researched than Connell's book, which was a very pleasant surprise.
An impressive addition to this book is the voluminous endnotes and extensive bibliography whereby the author attempts to reconstruct the battle from numerous first hand sources and eye-witnesses. In so doing, he is able to unravel many of the controversies and debates that continuously plague the world of 'Custeriana'. The endnotes are detailed and interesting to read. They add much depth to the story and justification for the authors conclusions. Rarely will one read a history book with such a wealth of information detailed and presented in such an organized context to enhance the reader's understanding of what happened and why.
There are some minor errors found in the book. At one point, the author refers to James Porter as a 2nd Lieutenant with little or no experience in the 7th Cavalry. In fact, Porter was a 1st Lieutenant with 6 years of field experience with his regiment. Other minor points mistake Custer's camp on Davis Creek as being 8 miles from the Crow's Nest, whereas it was closer to half that distance. He also mistakenly identified Custer's battle wounds as being on his right side (p. 276) which he then corrects on p. 308 by mentioning that they were on his left side. A serious publishing error occurs in Chapter 16's endnotes, several of which are out of order and one missing.
Notwithstanding, these errors for the most part are inconsequential to the understanding of the general public and do not take away from the otherwise excellent research that went into the writing of this soon to be classic work. The author's reconstruction of the events leading up to the battle, and his insight into the behavior and motivations of the major characters involved are superb.
His description of the battle itself is very well done and follows closely with the latest research based on Indian accounts and archaeological research. In short, A Terrible Glory is an excellent and well written narrative on the Battle of the Little Big Horn and well suited for any student of history who wishes to known more about what happened to Custer at Little Big Horn and why.
James Donovan has written a true masterpiece, a work that places him at the forefront of those who have attempted to tell the tale of this fascinating and complex period of American History.
A job well done.