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Number of Pages: 256
Publication Date: 2013
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)|
The death of George Armstrong Custer ended the life of one of the most flamboyant, brave, careless, and fascinating characters to ever wear a United States military uniform. His dramatic rise during the Civil War to the brevet rank of brigadier general at twenty-three, and his uncanny ability to stay alive regardless of how recklessly he flung himself at the enemy, gave rise to his image as an almost mythical figure. His life was filled with such good fortune that the term "Custers Luck" was used to refer to an unusually fortuitous event.
Road to Disaster examines Custers unusual mental and emotional make-up, which played out in his military career, his relationship with his wife, and in the death he and many of his men found at the end of their march into Montana. A clearer picture of the man appears, providing answers as to why military success followed him to the top of his career, and why the Battle of the Little Bighorn became such a shocking disaster in the summer of 1876.
In this laudatory history, true crime writer Sullivan (Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders) traces the short and parabolic life of George Armstrong Custer from his inauspicious start at West Point, where he finished last in his class, to his inglorious end at Little Bighorn, where he and over 250 of his men were killed by a force of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. While at the military academy, Custer demonstrated in nearly every way possible his lack of qualifications for leading men into battle—his academic marks were abysmal and he routinely racked up nearly enough demerits to warrant expulsion, yet his "boyish antics" made him popular with classmates. Nevertheless, the Union needed every officer it could wrangle for the impending Civil War. During the conflict, Custer seemed to reinvent himself—he married and proved to be a strong cavalry leader—but it was not for his successes that he would be remembered. After the war died down, another kind of civil war sprang up, this time in the West against the Indians. Sullivan’s roadmap of Custer’s life and demise is succinct and serviceable, but it’s a well-worn path and the scenery will be familiar to anyone who’s walked it before. Photos and map.
Until George A. Custer’s dramatic death at age 36, “Custer's Luck” referred to an unusually fortuitous happening. In "Custer’s Road to Disaster: The Path to Little Bighorn," author Kevin Sullivan analyzed Custer's miscalculations in the Battle of the Little Bighorn — his foolish belief in the unstoppable power of his regiment, his refusal to heed scouts' advice, his idea the Indians would flee — and connected them with the events and relationships that shaped Custer's life and character. —Kristen Inbody, Great Falls Tribune
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