The Last Stand: Book summary and reviews of The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Last Stand

Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick X
The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick
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Book Summary

Little Bighorn and Custer are names synonymous in the American imagination with unmatched bravery and spectacular defeat. Mythologized as Custer's Last Stand, the June 1876 battle has been equated with other famous last stands, from the Spartans' defeat at Thermopylae to Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

In his tightly structured narrative, Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly sketches the two larger-than-life antagonists: Sitting Bull, whose charisma and political savvy earned him the position of leader of the Plains Indians, and George Armstrong Custer, one of the Union's greatest cavalry officers and a man with a reputation for fearless and often reckless courage. Philbrick reminds readers that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also, even in victory, the last stand for the Sioux and Cheyenne Indian nations. Increasingly outraged by the government's Indian policies, the Plains tribes allied themselves and held their ground in southern Montana. Within a few years of Little Bighorn, however, all the major tribal leaders would be confined to Indian reservations.

Throughout, Philbrick beautifully evokes the history and geography of the Great Plains with his characteristic grace and sense of drama. The Last Stand is a mesmerizing account of the archetypal story of the American West, one that continues to haunt our collective imagination.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Philbrick humanizes history, not only putting a recognizable face on the players in one of our nation's most notorious events but also providing insight into their hearts and minds." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. While off his usual stride with a surfeit of unnecessary detail, ... Philbrick writes a lively narrative that brushes away the cobwebs of mythology." - Publishers Weekly

"Philbrick delivers a compellingly readable rendition of the famous battle." - Booklist

"A stirring, perceptive retelling of an endless fascinating battle." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about The Last Stand was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Nathaniel Philbrick Author Biography

Photo by Ellen Warner

Nathaniel Philbrick grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He was Brown University's first Intercollegiate All-American sailor in 1978, the same year he won the Sunfish North Americans in Barrington, Rhode Island. After working as an editor at Sailing World magazine, he wrote and edited several books about sailing, including The Passionate Sailor, Second Wind, and Yaahting: A Parody.     In 2000, Philbrick published the New York Times bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book is the basis of the Warner Bros. motion picture Heart of ...

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