16 2 mins 10 yrs

I’ve always been fascinated by the Battle of the Little Bighorn and am currently reading this most excellent book of the events that led up to the last great battle of the American West.

The story of George Custer is a fascinating one which culminated on that fateful day back in late June 1876. I’d love to visit the Battle site, have seen it from the Air, in the winter, seemed eerie. The events leading up to the massacre are a great read and one feels simultaneously sorry for Custer and his men and also for the Indians. Above all, I think James Donovan gives us a real feel for what life was like back then. We can be as judgmental as we want now! Custer had much to admire about him but the tale seems doomed from so early as events inexorably lead to the Hilltop Fight. Anyone been there?

I’m also reading this…

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and as always with Mark, a rollicking read with which I fully agree. I think humour is vital to good political writing and one of these days I’m going to try it!

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16 thoughts on “WHAT I’M READING!

  1. Well I’ve just finished ‘chavs – the demonisation of the working class’ and excellent book that makes you sorry when you reach the last page. Waiting in the wings is kate mc cann’s book, looking forward to ‘the drop’ when the author michael connelly launches his Belfast book launch in a few weeks..

  2. The funniest book I have ever read is Riotous Assembly by Tom Sharpe. I remember not being able to see the words properly because of the tears of laughter running down my face. It’s a novel but has a political dimension in that it’s written about a number of bizarre South African characters during Apartheid.

    At the moment I’m reading Triggermen by Martin Dillon & Children of the Revolution by Bill Rolston.

  3. “humour is vital to good political writing and one of these days I’m going to try it!”

    Good idea. You certainly have what it takes. (I think a lot of us were a bit surprised, and disappointed, that UD didnt show more of your ATW style)

  4. I read the review of children of the revoloution in the Irish news some time ago, it sounds interesting, I think I’ll give it a go in the near future.

  5. David –

    “Flashman and the Redskins” tells you all you need to know about Custer and Little Big Horn. Written by a man who was there …

    Paul McMahon –

    Tom Sharpe’s a genius in my view. Not many writers can describe (IIRC) a Corporal Els and and his specially trained dog which attacks only kaffirs and have you crying with laughter at the description.

    Come to think of it, George McDonald Fraser might be another such writer (see above), but I have the highest regard for him also.

  6. When I was in NY, it came into my head that I needed to read some Somerset Maugham short stories. I went looking but, despite its myriad delights, NY is strangely low on bookshops and the only one I could find, by Penn Stn, didnt have a single WSM book.
    I finally found a copy at the back of normal newsagent store, and have become hooked. He is a master of style – at his best as good as Joyce – and is still very underrater as a writer and a thinker. His books let you visit, even hear and smell, the orient without the hassle of travelling there.
    In London I then bought right away another 3 volumes of the series. One day I went to Whitstable, a place Id never heard of before, for a good read on the beach. When I was there I discovered that WSM had grown up in the town!

  7. Here you are Pete :

    Genius is not an adjective I’d normally use but RA is a work of satirical genius.

    Children of the revolution definitely well worth the read Katey.

  8. The Battle of Little Big Horn is fascinating, i haven’t read Donovan’s book but I’ve read reviews that he is very pro-Custer (swimming against the historical tide).

    There are many great books (and bad) on the American Indian Wars. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a good one.

    I’ve been on a PG Wodehouse kick (rereading Jeeves and bertie).

  9. My undying gratitude to Pete Moore for the Flashman series, and the one that dealt with Custer is typically wonderful and funny. Also the character of Flashman gets in quite a few non-PC truths about all sides.

  10. Mahons

    Bury my Heart – read it a long time ago, great book, not sure just how accurate it is. The American-Indian Wars are fascinating, so much to learn about the human condition.

  11. David – I read it too long ago to recall if it is the most accurate book, so you may have a point there. The American Indian conflict often takes a historical back seat to our Civil War.

  12. As an avid scholar of the Old West let me suggest that you read Stephen E. Ambrose -Crazy Horse and Custer. Ambrose penetrates the difference in culture between the Lakota and the White Man by following in detail the developing lives of these two men and really brings home the point that the two cultures were so different and thus communication was so difficult that understanding was nigh impossible. I found the book an eye opener.

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