Item description for The River and the Horsemen: A Novel of the Little Bighorn by Robert E Skimin...
The most compelling account of the Little Bighorn ever written, this powerfully detailed historical novel vividly recreates the lives of two of the most celebrated military leaders of nineteenth-century North America, General George Armstrong Custer and Chief Sitting Bull. Capturing in rich detail native Sioux spirituality and culture, as well as the history and politics of post-Civil War America, the Battle of the Little Bighorn itself, described in all of its frightening detail, is the riveting climax to an artfully portrayed collision of two civilizations: one reaching for its manifest destiny, one struggling for survival.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 1.2" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2007
Publisher Bunim & Bannigan Ltd
ISBN 1933480130 ISBN13 9781933480138
Availability 0 units.
More About Robert E Skimin
Robert Skimin, whom The San Diego Union called a ?master storyteller, ? is the author of Chikara! (1984), which won the prestigious Ohioana Book Award, Gray Victory (1988), Apache Autumn (1993), Ulysses S. Grant, A Novel (1999), Custer's Luck (2001), and Footprints of Heroes: from the American Revolution to the War in Iraq (2005). He lives in El Paso, Texas.
Robert E. Skimin currently resides in El Paso, in the state of Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about The River and the Horsemen: A Novel of the Little Bighorn?
CUSTER AND CRAZY HORSE Jun 30, 2007
Two of the greatest figures in historical history are put under the microscope. Not only do we learn and walk in the lives of George Armstrong Custer but with General Crazy Horse, an almost Christ-like figure of humility and master of warfare. Crazy Horse fought for his people and their right to their land. Custer was a very complex character who loved his wife and his country, however, he believed he could never be defeated, a modern day warrior with Caesar complex. Robert Skimin has the skill and ability to present these two great leaders warts and all.
What exactly led to the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It's inside these pages.
From the author Jun 3, 2007
In reading the attacks on this book, I'm reminded that there will always be naysayers about historical novels...and any other book. One reviewer criticized the typo mixing of Miles and Myles, yet used the term "fictional novel" as he chopped away. Has anyone ever heard of a novel that wasn't fictional? Also critcized was a jocular exchange between Custer and Libbie--who always had fun. And why does the idea of some sex in the tipi upset anyone? Did the Sioux reproduce by artificial insemination? Another axe grinder didn't like the Civil War photo of Custer being on the cover. First of all, authors don't pick cover art and secondly, does this guy have anything constructive to do? The knowledgeable and highly respected LBH historians, such as the now deceased Brian Pohanka, liked the book. And in its new trade paper edition, more readers unfamiliar with the famous battle, will learn much.
Not for me; probably not for you Feb 15, 2002
Mr. Skimin's book is not for people who have in-depth knowledge of the Little Big Horn; but I don't think it's for people who don't know much about it, either.
There is too much low-skill novelizing. Too many real people brought in just to make a book, mixed in with invented folk who read like cliches. The true and known stories from 1876 are strong enough without inventing sex in the tipi (Indian side), the jocular inventions in the Bismark brothel (soldier side), and the invented conversations between the Custers (tho fortunately Skimin does draw the veil with Autie and Libbie). And why use a real person's name and make him a racist/sadist if you're going to invent a Jewish victim? Why not invent the sadist too? That didn't seem fair to the real sergeant. Mr. Skimin willingly invented half a dozen Indians and gave them leading roles. Why not the sadist?
Aside from mixing up Miles and Myles, at the end of the book the man we've come to know and admire as Frederick Benteen suddenly becomes Thomas Benteen. Fred's brother was there? Clearly there was no editor on this project, but Mr. Skimin must have been napping when he read the galleys.
Mr. Skimin did a very good job of building a narrative around Custer's last winter. This may be the first time I can tell you where he was from December to May 1876, and I've read everyone from van de Water to Utley.
But I didn't appreciate the fictionalized last stand, with Keogh or Keough being run through by our Indian hero, nor the detailed inventions of how many times Tom Custer was shot or that Cooke was shot twice and also hit with an arrow. The book just isn't written well enough to make that stuff work. For someone who did that fine, try Hoffman Birney's "The Dice of God."
You can tell this book by it's cover. The photo of Custer is from the Civil War. He was photographed many times on the frontier. Why not use a photo more appropriate to the book? I don't know.
Lacking Jun 12, 2000
I was compelled to buy this book because of my long-standing interest in the conflicts between the whites and the Indians. This fictional novel, based on historical events, was found to be extremely light. Robert Skimin fleshed out characters, at times, in odd ways. I especially disliked the way real people were saddled with sexual, sadistic, and/or prejudicial characteristics. At times characters seemed to be introduced in a helter skelter manner just to add to the list of real people that he included in the novel. In places, I felt, he mixed combinations of traits just to add a new twist. For example, he had a former Jewish Russian solder, who was a black belt in Judo, defend himself against a sadistic, bigoted and not too bright sargent. Robert Skimin did stay with the historical facts surrounding General Custer and the events that led up to his defeat at the Little Bighorn but as a whole any grade school history student could have easily gotten the same information about the Sioux, Cheyenne, and the 7th Calvary.
Also recommended: Custer's Luck, Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas, Killing Custer, Black Elk Speaks, The Road to the Little Big Horn-and Beyond,
Disappointing Dec 21, 1999
This book is a blend of fiction and history, but works better as history than as fiction. The dialogue is stilted. An example: Custer says to his wife Libbie, "You are uncommonly wanton, Madame." Libbie responds, "I like that term, you handsome devil, but you didn't answer me." (p 5) In addition, the characters are little more than caricatures, so the reader does not really get involved with them.
As history, the book demonstrates that Custer's decisions were arguably defensible based on the information he had--in one sense, "Custer's luck" had simply run out and the fates worked against him. All things considerred, though, Custer was responsible for the disaster because he was an egomaniac who, thinking he was invincible, recklessly entered into a battle he could not win. Although the book does a decent job of presenting the catastrophe from various perspectives, the book shows signs of carelessness. A minor but telling example is that the spelling constantly alternates between "Miles" and "Myles" Keough.
The River and the Horsemen will appeal to people interested in Custer's last stand, but will not hold the interest of the general reader.