1996 "First Edition" stated on copyright page; Villard publishers, New York; hardbound; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
The author of Dances with Wolves returns to the Old West for a startling novel about a most popular literary subject, the inimitable George Armstrong Custer. Every author has his own Custer, and Blake's is wholly unexpected: not a glory-hungry martinet but a rational man and passionate romantic. Blake's approach is refreshing. He presents Custer by imagining the general's journals, written during the last seven weeks of his life, from May 18, 1876 to the morning of June 25, 1876, date of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. As he pursues the Sioux, Custer reveals his private thoughts about the military, his Indian opponents, his plans for the upcoming battle and his destiny. He also ventures at length into his past, making it clear that, although "I have always aspired to greatness," it was his remarkable battlefield achievements in the Civil War, as well as his ardent love for his wife, Libbie, that proved key to his later military successes and his popularity with the public. He also coolly explains his court martial conviction and his sordid affair with a young Indian woman. Though revisionist in its sympathy for Custer, the narrative seems rigorously authentic in its period detail, down to the flowery nature of Custer's prose. Blake's fascinating tale may not convince readers that its hero was a paragon of humanity, but it likely will persuade many that, for all his faults, Custer was a warrior who died with his boots on.