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Hardcover Son of the Morning Star Book

ISBN: 0865471606

ISBN13: 9780865471603

Son of the Morning Star

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

*Best Available: (missing dust jacket)

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Book Overview

Son of the Morning Star is the nonfiction account of General Custer from the great American novelist Evan S. Connell. Custer's Last Stand is among the most enduring events in American history--more... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Books on the Bighorn

This is one of the best books about Custer, the Westand the Bighorn battle. Do not pass this one up.

rambling or breathtaking?

I am increasingly convinced that a book like this brings out a basic personality difference in readers. I loved it, especially its many detours into topics that may be only tangentially related to Custer (like the scalping techniques of different tribes) but which I found endlessly fascinating. On the other hand, some friends to whom I breathlessly told them you "must read this!" found Connell's side trips too distracting. I have found similar reactions to Hughes' Fatal Shore about the founding of Australia (another book that I loved but others have found meandering). Neither reaction is 'right' or 'wrong' but worth keeping in mind as you decide whether to buy this book. If you are willing to put yourself in Connell's hands and want to learn all sorts of lessons about the Wild West (occasionally bordering on the odd and arcane but always interesting), you'll love this book. If you get frustrated when an author takes you off the narrative path and you really want a focused biography of Custer, then this book is not for you. Again, I found the book superb but can understand where some of the more negative reviews are coming from depending upon the reader's predelictions.


Like many historic events of the nineteenth century--especially those of a tragic nature--the events that took place at The Little Bighorn were shrouded for decades in sensationalism to a greater or lesser degree. Misconceptions and inaccuracies have abounded as the story of Custer and his ill-fated troops has been told and retold in print and on the big screen.I was looking for a book that would go a long way in providing an objective view of the events surrounding The Battle of the Little Bighorn and found such a book in Son of the Morning Star.Evan S. Connell does a masterful job of telling the story. He provides excellent background history and tells how information, or the lack thereof, available to Custer at the time may have contributed to his ultimate demise. Arrogance and racism have long been attributed to Custer's disastrous campaign but Connell helps paint probably the most accurate and objective portrait of the colorful general to date. Custer was arrogant but Connell shows that there was much more to the story.A great read!

Connell's digging for more than arrowheads

Between the opening words of Evan S. Connell's brilliant historical novel ("Lt. James Bradley led a detachment of Crow Indian scouts up the Bighorn Valley....") to the inevitable final thought ("....when I was riding among the dead, my pony may have kicked dirt upon his body..."), readers of "Son of the Morning Star are in for an epic journey. A stunningly detailed work, Connell's novel examines the United States' treatment of the Native American, battles fought and lost on the Montana plains and a graphic pioneer history that should make most professors squirm.Perhaps the beauty of "Son of the Morning Star," one of the finest American historical novels ever written, is that it throws caution to the wind, much like the reckless George Armstrong Custer himself, and simply lets the bullets fly. Very few stones are left unturned. Readers who reach the eventual conclusion (which should not be too difficult, as this novel is difficult to put down) will most likely have a different view about the American West and the men who died upon its dusty plains.There are about a thousand books that have been written about this battle and the man who led the charge down into the Big Horn Valley on that hot day in June of 1876. But nary a one has come close to capturing the kind of spirit, with a dash of incredibly dry wit, that Connell put into his heartfelt work. There are no political motivations here, and Connell is not about to create a tome of American propaganda. Thus "Son of the Morning Star" explodes from its pages, born of an obsession for exposing the leathery truth amidst the smoke and dust of haunting death. He comes ever so close, and his work resembles a trembling documentary camera lens, intensely examining the fears and rage that brought about this bloody clash upon the canvas of history.Perhaps we should ask ourselves why this story refuses to go away? Connell does. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why such a brutal campaign and battle even took place? Connell does. Perhaps we should ask ourselves why man is so intent upon creating battles and eventually war when preventive discussion is available? Connell does. And perhaps we should ask ourselves why Custer rode down into that valley, outnumbered five to one, in a furious attempt at beating the odds for the sake of United States political glory? Connell does.I like the fact that in Connell's nonfiction journey, there are no heroes or villains. Crazy Horse is just as eccentric as Custer. Sitting Bull is just as hackingly grandiose as Sherman. Benteen is just as ornery as Gall. These Native Americans had much to fight for on this day, and this battle would become the last stand for the way of life of an ancient era. Connell's not trying to reveal what happened during the Seventh Cavalry's final desperate moments on that dusty, storied hill. He's not even interested in who fell last. Granted, he does examine both issues, but what fascinates Connell is why this battle haunts so many Americans to thi

Aimless journey through an American legend

Connell has one of the most unorthodox writing styles of any history writer I've read but somehow it works brilliantly. A proper chronological order is completely disregarded and Connell jumps all over the place, yet somehow is able to keep the reader right along with him. It reminds me of listening to an old Vet tell war stories and finish half a story and skip to something completely unrelated again and again and again until you can't remember where he originally started the conversation from. Yet, just like listening to the proud hero tell his tales, it is completely fascinating and you will hang on every word.A prime example of this is within the first ten pages of the book, Connell is writing about President Hayes' Court of Inquiry, three years AFTER the battle. Another thing which Connell does masterfully is tell BOTH sides of the tale. The Dakota and 7th Cavalry are given equal weight throughout the book and the author pours pertinent information as well as trivial but entertaining facts at the reader. And along with giving biographies on Reno and Benteen, the reader learns just as much background information on Gall, Crazy Horse and Two Moon. About the only person I suggest shy away from this book is a college student cramming for a paper because there's no way they'd be able to find the needed info with Connell's writing style. However, if they don't procrastinate and began reading at the beginning of the semester, I promise you won't find another book with more info on the subject.-Warning-If you do read "Son of the Morning Star," be prepared to take a trip out to the high plains of Montana to see the battlefield. Connell's book instilled a 'must-see' desire into me on having to see the Bighorn for myself and I plan to go next summer. See you there!


I have read many books about Custer, Little Big Horn and the plains indian wars, but this one is truly the very best of the lot. Connell has given us an exellent biography of Custer, but we also get to know such men as Major Reno and Captain Benteen. Indians such as Sitting Bull, Gall and Crazy Horse are also prominently featured in this treasure of a book. This is so much more than a book about Custer and his last stand at Little Big Horn river in 1876. It's a book about the whole drama, that is the conquering of the west. Also, the photo section is exellent and the bibliography is unparalelled. Two very good maps helps the reader follow the movements in the 1876 indian campaign. If You're gonna buy just one book about the American west, please choose "Son Of The Morning Star". It's history, for sure, but it's not boring. It's also a source book in the best sence of the word, not to mention a literary masterpiece. Connell is a novelist, and it shows in his quick and precise eye for charaters in the play and their often peculiar behavior and actions. The heroes and/or villains is only so human in this highly entertaining book that leaves the reader wanting more. I have so far never read a better book, fact or fiction. Why don't You read it too?
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