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Paperback Little Big Man Book

ISBN: 0385298293

ISBN13: 9780385298292

Little Big Man

(Part of the Little Big Man (#1) Series and Frontera (#24) Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

"The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated." So says Jack Crabb, the 111-year-old narrator of Thomas Berger's 1964 masterpiece of American fiction, Little Big Man. Berger claimed the Western as serious literature with this savage and epic account of one man's extraordinary double life. After surviving the massacre of his pioneer family, ten-year-old Jack is adopted by an Indian chief...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

The beginning of a sub-genre

When Little Big Man was first published during the 1960s it was the culmination and a spin-off from a series of events. Old men in geriatric homes throughout the US were claiming to be the 'real' John Wilkes Booth, Jesse James, Billy the Kid and other notorious figures in the history of the American west. Berger created a spin-off character, Jack Crabbe, who claimed to be none of these, but managed to be present for a surprising number of pivotal events of the 19th Century. He also claimed to know many of the characters involved, including Sitting Bull, Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Bat Masterson, George Armstrong Custer and others. In addition to being a great read and informative piece of historical fiction, this novel became a model for the anti-hero of a number of other historical fiction series and works. The most notable of these is the George MacDonald Frazer, Flashman books. Berger has done a signal job of turning over the rocks of history, finding twists and turns normally not part of the legends, and weaving them into a character and plot unsurpassed in American historical fiction.

One of the finest American novels

Long before Micheal Blake's politically correct tome "Dances With Wolves" gave voice to other side of the American West, Thomas Berger wrote the expertly crafted, humourous, tragic and down right entertaining "Little Big Man". Written in 1965, when it was still fashionable to portray the Native American as a "in the way savage", Berger deftly blended the genres of tall tale and history in a manner that really has yet to be matched.The character of Jack Crabb is cut of classic cloth. His story may very well be pure hogwash, but it is filled with touching humanity that underpins all the comedy. Berger portrays The Cheyenne people, or the "Human Beings" as possessing many of the same foibles and warts as their European counterparts. They are not painted as noble savages as in Blake's new agey work, but rather as complex characters deserving of respect and honor.Berger's General Custer is a wry study of madness that somehow avoids cynicism. One of this book's many virtues lies in its ability to lend the Western myth a critical eye, while avoiding the nihilistic pessimism that frequently goes hand in hand with such work (something the film version couldn't avoid)."Little Big Man" is a must read to all who love good yarns spun with a big heart and a bigger mind.

All Time Favorite Through The Years

Like many others who reviewed this book, I first read it (in high school) after seeing the movie. The movie was a real eye opener for me, for the first time giving me a sense of Indians as real people, struggling to stay themselves and maintain their way of life against the relentless & overwhelming campaign of conquest, destruction & genocide by Whites. It inspired me to read this book, which I found to far surpass in richness, character development and detail what I had thought to be an excellent movie. After reading it the first time I think I read it annually for the next ten years, and several more times since. Each time it has moved me to laughter, anger, and without fail tears at the end. I can't begin to do it justice, even trying gives me "...a pain between my ears..." and some of the reader reviews have already done a fine job of describing it. There's just a couple of points I'd like to add. Jack Crabb has always reminded me Huckleberry Finn. Through close personnal experience, each character evolves in his understanding and appreciation of a race he'd been raised to believe inherently inferior to whites (Jack Crabb's rearing by Indians does not begin till his tenth year). Niether Jack nor Huck are saints who always "knew better". Along the way, both struggle with feelings of doubt, guilt & shame when they find themslves favoring the Indians or Blacks over Whites. Both think badly of themselves for doing so. Like Mark Twain, Thomas Berger puts us into the head of a White male who struggles with the conflict between his own experience and the stereotypes he'd been raised on and which shape the White society of his time. Both books are marvels of insight into human nature. "Little Big Man" goes further in brighing alive actual historical events Jack experiences first hand. Read the history book by Dee Brown, "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" to afirm how well Thomas Berger captured and related such notorius events as the Washita massacre and the Battle at the Little Big Horn. My other point to new readers is to be sure and read the Forward, which is actually part of the novel and provides valuable background and insight into Jack's character and wisdom. Enjoy.

One of my favorite books

I read this book last year and it quickly became one of my favorites. Jack Crabb belongs to both the white and the Cheyenne communities, but he never fully fits into either. This book follows him as he drifts back and forth between the two over a period of 20-30 years, the period of the greatest american expansion into the west and the greatest efforts against the plains indians. This isn't "Dances with Wolves". Jack Crabb has admiration and disdain for elements of both U.S. and Cheyenne civilization.

Little Big Man Mentions in Our Blog

Little Big Man in For Fans of Yellowstone & 1883
For Fans of Yellowstone & 1883
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 18, 2022

The new 1883 Yellowstone spinoff series has fans gripped. We love it too! The Dutton family saga has everything: high-stakes drama, breathtaking action, and heart-wrenching romance. If you’re jonesing for more frontier fodder, here are some great books and shows to consider.

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