Playing Custer
Fiction - Western Fiction - Native American Studies
6 x 9, 256 pp.
Pub Date: 05/18/2015
Price:        $22.95


Published by Texas Christian University Press

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Playing Custer

Gerald Duff

Playing Custer is a novel narrated from varying points of view and time, illuminating personal and political events leading up to the death of General George Armstrong Custer. The historic events are framed by the story of two men from the late twentieth century—one white and one Native American—who travel together to the annual reenactment of the battle at the Little Bighorn National Monument battlefield.

Chatting during their journey, the two reenactors discuss their obsessions, personal ambitions, and failures of nerve. Interwoven with their progress toward the battle are narrations, journal entries, and first-person viewpoints from many others who were actually involved in the historic events. Soldiers and scouts for the cavalry; Sioux, Crow, and Cheyenne witnesses; and wives and daughters all offer their versions of “truth,” establishing a texture and depth of irony, humor, and tragic meaning to those modern Americans driven to attempt to “play Custer.”

This year—a special anniversary of the real battle—they are suddenly chosen for crucial new roles. This time, they will play Custer and Crazy Horse.

All builds toward the real and reenacted final moments on the battlefield of Custer’s last stand.

GERALD DUFF is a winner of the Cohen Award for Fiction, the Philosophical Society of Texas Literary Award, and the Silver Medal for Fiction from the Independent Publishers Association. A member of the Texas Institute of Letters, he has published nineteen books. He published Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory with TCU Press in 2011. He resides in Lebanon, Illinois.


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