Crazy Horse and Custer: Born Enemies
Crazy Horse and Custer: Born Enemies
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Annotation: In this action-packed double biography, S. D. Nelson draws fascinating parallels between Crazy Horse and Custer, whose lives were intertwined. These warriors were alike in many ways, yet they often collided in deadly rivalry. Witness reports and reflections by their peers and enemies accompany side-by-side storytelling that offers very different perspectives on the same historical events.
Genre: [Biographies]
Catalog Number: #301091
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 144
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-73193-9 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-0292-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-73193-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-0292-3
Dewey: 921
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Legendary warriors Crazy Horse and Custer are brought to life in this impeccably researched story by Lakota author/illustrator Nelson.Born a year apart, the White settler boy George Armstrong Custer and the Lakota boy initially named Light Hair both enjoyed the “pounding of their horses’ hooves on the earth and the rush of wind in their hair.” As youngsters, they were “taught that personal glory could be won through violent conflict.” Custer found his glory leading Union Army troops during the Civil War. Quoting a Custer biographer, Nelson tells readers that “he plunged in the onrushing mass of enemy cavalry” time and again. His fearlessness catapulted him up through the ranks. After the war ended, he became an “Indian Fighter.” When the Lakota battled their enemies, Light Hair rode into battle “stripped to his breechclout and moccasins, his hair loose,” according to a Lakota historian. He painted his body with lightning and hailstones. His leadership was honored by his father, who renamed him Crazy Horse. Weaving quotes from sources both contemporary and modern into his narrative and supplying necessary historical context, Nelson traces the parallel lives of these two men, ending with their deaths: Betrayed by fellow officers, Custer died at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and one year later, Crazy Horse was killed, betrayed by his own people. Nelson’s ledger-style drawings combine with archival photographs and paintings to add drama to the already-gripping text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)Historic nonfiction that reads like an adventure novel. (author's note, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up A thorough treatment of the complicated histories of Lakota, white people, land, and the American westward expansion. In a parallel format, the book follows Crazy Horse and George Armstrong Custer from childhood to their deaths. It adeptly delves into their histories through engaging archival photographs, artwork, quotes, maps, and time lines. Nelson's breathaking illustrations were created with ink, watercolor, and acrylic paint on cotton paper. The taut writing and short chapters are the perfect vehicle for presenting the epic conflict between the war leaders and make this a great selection for reluctant readers. Nelson, who is Standing Rock Sioux, shares his lineage in the back matter and offers his insight about piecing the work together. Because history is often told by the victors, Nelson focused his research on parsing the facts from myth, as he explains in an author's note. The back matter also includes an extensive bibliography, notes, and suggestions for further reading. For sensitive readers, there is one graphic historical photograph depicting deceased individuals. VERDICT Recommend for all libraries. Danielle Burbank, Farmington, NM
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Legendary warriors Crazy Horse and Custer are brought to life in this impeccably researched story by Lakota author/illustrator Nelson.Born a year apart, the White settler boy George Armstrong Custer and the Lakota boy initially named Light Hair both enjoyed the “pounding of their horses’ hooves on the earth and the rush of wind in their hair.” As youngsters, they were “taught that personal glory could be won through violent conflict.” Custer found his glory leading Union Army troops during the Civil War. Quoting a Custer biographer, Nelson tells readers that “he plunged in the onrushing mass of enemy cavalry” time and again. His fearlessness catapulted him up through the ranks. After the war ended, he became an “Indian Fighter.” When the Lakota battled their enemies, Light Hair rode into battle “stripped to his breechclout and moccasins, his hair loose,” according to a Lakota historian. He painted his body with lightning and hailstones. His leadership was honored by his father, who renamed him Crazy Horse. Weaving quotes from sources both contemporary and modern into his narrative and supplying necessary historical context, Nelson traces the parallel lives of these two men, ending with their deaths: Betrayed by fellow officers, Custer died at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and one year later, Crazy Horse was killed, betrayed by his own people. Nelson’s ledger-style drawings combine with archival photographs and paintings to add drama to the already-gripping text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)Historic nonfiction that reads like an adventure novel. (author's note, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Born a year apart in the mid-1800s and dying a year apart after their infamous clash, Crazy Horse and Custer grew up in cultures conditioning them to be warriors and to distrust each other as implacable enemies. Despite this, Custer, determined to fight for his country and Manifest Destiny, and Crazy Horse, equally determined to battle for his Lakota tribe and their way of life, shared many attributes. They both possessed tenacity, fearlessness, love of horses, and an ability to lead and even divide, the latter contributing to their violent ends: Custer at Little Bighorn, where he faced Crazy Horse, and the Lakota chief murdered at a frontier fort. Nelson masterfully braids together their life stories and characters, carefully laying out facts and cultural expectations as they grew, while neither glorifying nor vilifying either. Chapters alternate focus between the two subjects, leading them from early childhood onward. Nelson's original art, done in the style of early Lakota ledger drawings, captivates, with horses splashing across the pages. Illuminated by those drawings, plus colorful acrylic paintings and photographs and art contemporary to the two subjects' lives, the narrative is broken up in a way that maintains a powerful rhythm. Back matter includes the fascinating story of Nelson's ancestors great-­grandfather who was a foot soldier under Custer and a great-grandmother of the Hunkpapa band of the Lakotas. An exemplary history.
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Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 5-9
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y

With photographs and stunning illustrations from acclaimed author-artist S.D. Nelson, this thrilling double biography juxtaposes the lives of two enemies whose conflict changed American history: Crazy Horse and George Custer

In 1876, Lakota chief Crazy Horse helped lead his people’s resistance against the white man’s invasion of the northern Great Plains. One of the leaders of the US military forces was Army Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. The men had long been enemies. At the height of the war, when tribalism had reached its peak, they crossed paths for the last time.

In this action-packed double biography, S. D. Nelson draws fascinating parallels between Crazy Horse and Custer, whose lives were intertwined. These warriors were alike in many ways, yet they often collided in deadly rivalry. Witness reports and reflections by their peers and enemies accompany side-by-side storytelling that offers very different perspectives on the same historical events. The two men’s opposing destinies culminated in the infamous Battle of the Greasy Grass, as the Lakota called it, or the Battle of the Little Bighorn, as it was called by the Euro-Americans.

In Crazy Horse and Custer, Nelson’s gripping narrative and signature illustration style based on Plains Indians ledger art, along with a mix of period photographs and paintings, shines light on two men whose conflict forever changed Lakota and US history.

The book includes an author’s note, timeline, endnotes, and bibliography.


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