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Home > Teen Books > Custer’s Last Battle

Cover of Custers Last Battle
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Custer’s Last Battle:
Red Hawk’s Account of the
Battle of the Little Bighorn
author & illustrator: Paul Goble
foreword by: Joe Medicine Crow
Subject(s): Grade level / Lexile:
Juvenile Fiction / Native American 6-7 / Lexile measure: 940L
Format: Size / page count:

7.75" x 10.25" / 44 pages

ISBN: Date available:
978-1-937786-11-3 August 2013

On the morning of June 25, 1876, a force of 700 men from the 7th US Cavalry led by General George Armstrong Custer attacked an Indian encampment on the banks of the Little Big Horn River.  Unbeknownst to Custer, he faced the combined might of the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, led by many great chiefs such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.  Advised by his Indian scouts not to attack, the foolhardy general ignored their warnings and trusted to “Custer’s luck.”

In this commemorative edition of his first published book, Goble recounts the tale of Custer’s last battle through the eyes of Red Hawk, a fictional young Lakota warrior. Presented in the shorter format that Goble originally intended, and combined with a new author’s introduction and a foreword by Joe Medicine Crow, the Crow tribal historian whose grandfather was one of Custer’s own scouts, readers will marvel at this tale of honor and bravery.

Paul Goble is an award-winning author and illustrator of over 40 children’s books. His book, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, won the prestigious Caldecott Medal. His most recent books are the award-winning “stories from the tipi” series, which includes The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs, The Boy and His Mud Horses, and The Woman Who Lived with Wolves.

Paul Goble lives with his wife in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The “Foreword” to the Book: (hide/show)

“I am now 98 years of age, so I was alive to meet many survivors of the Custer battle. I talked directly with the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Sioux, and the Crow scouts who were at the battle. My grandfather, White Man Runs Him, was a Custer scout at the battle. His Crow name really means “Chased by a White Man,” given to him because the soldiers never caught him. The Indian scouts warned Custer of the danger but he ignored them and attacked the Sioux-Cheyenne camp.

“Custer came to fight and try to end the Indian way of life. The Sioux condemned Custer for invading their country, so we say that they “Siouxed him” for it. It’s funny, yes? Custer and his men got Siouxed.

“There are over 3,000 publications about the Custer battle. But most of them ignore the accounts of the only survivors of the battle. The Indians knew the story, but most historians don’t want to listen to them. My people did not depend on writing, so they had very good memories of events. Everyone should know the true story of the battle, so I wrote a reenactment in the form of a pageant: “Battle of the Little Bighorn Reenactment”. It is historically accurate.

“The Little Bighorn Reenactment is held every year on the third week of June. Hundreds of people participate on horseback to recreate the battle, including many Crow Indians. It is exciting to watch. The Reenactment is located just south of Crow Agency, Montana. It is between the historic places of Custer’s Last Stand Hill and Reno-Benteen Battlefield.

“Paul Goble’s retelling of the Custer battle is also based on Indian sources. It is very accurate. So you can also learn the real story from this book.

“Paul Goble is a good friend. I have known him for many years. He sure can draw! His paintings are accurate in all the details. They bring the story of the Custer battle to life.”
Joe Medicine Crow (Click here for more information on Dr. Joe Medicine Crow.)

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