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Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Custer's Last Battle" - Red Hawk's Account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn Book Review

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In our home we love to read. One of our young sons is a lover of history, mostly about the different Indian tribes. When we were given "Hawks account of the battle of Little Bighorn", I thought it was a perfect read to share with him.

The first edition of "Cluster's Last Battle" was printed over forty years ago, it was the first book of Paul Goble. It was revised with updated text and brighter, beautiful illustration.

Paul Goble is an award winning author and illustrator of children's book. He's won the Library of Congress Children's Book of the Year Award. He also won the Caldecott medal for his outstanding body of work on "The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses", as well as "Mystic Horse". His most recent books are the award "stories from the tipi" series which includes "The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs", and "The Woman Who Lived with Wolves". Mr. Goble and his wife Janet, live in Rapid City, South Dakota.

In this special edition of Paul Goble's first book in 1969 called "Red Hawk's Account of Custer's Last Battle" its restated in the authors introduction that the account is fiction, but it is told in the manner of the published accounts of the Indian people who took part in the battle. Mr Gobal first visited the site of the Little Bighorn Battle in 1959, after reading several accounts of the battle, three strong Crow Indian men gave him a tour and fair account of the battle.

Ten years later Paul and his son Richard were watching a TV series about General Custer, which made Custer seem a hero, in ways that Paul thought him not to be. He wanted to put the facts straight to his young son and he searched children libraries and book shops, and found nothing. He decided to put a book together himself, and to use the voice of an Indian participant, also using the ledger-book painting style to illustrate the the picture pages. He dedicated his book to Richard.

Paul Goble had always, even in childhood, felt the pull of the American Indian tradition, whether it is painting in his studio or in Indian country at a Sun Dance. He especially loved the natural world in which Indians live in unique harmony. He grew up believing that Indians have been treated shamefully, that their beliefs have been mocked and that their way of life had been destroyed. In "Custer's Last Battle" he tried to be objective in writing the book, but for him the battle represented a moment of triumph, and he wanted Indian children to be proud of that.

"Custer's Last Battle" is a unique edition featuring the original never-before-published layout Paul intended in his initial design. Goble states it is also "the first time the illustrations are in glorious digitized color, scanned from the original artwork housed among the collections in South Dakota Art Museum" The edition also includes a revised and updated narrative, a new Authors Introduction, and a Foreword by Joe Medicine Crow,whose grandfather was one of Custer's own scouts.

"Custer's Last Battle" is a tale of honor and bravery told through the eyes of Red Hawk, a fictional young lakota warrior. On the morning of June 25,1876 700 hundred men from the 7th US Calvary led by General George Armstrong Custer attacked an Indian encampment on banks of the Little Big Horn river. Custer was not aware that he faced the Lakota, the Cheyenne and the Arapaho tribes, which were being led by their greatest chiefs, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

This is surely one of my sons favorite new reads. He loves history, and he loves learning about Indian culture. He is starting to have the same opinions as Mr.Paul Goble, he is very discouraged in reading books and learning the shameful ways in which the Indians were often treated.

Custer's Last Battle is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. We found references in the back for further learning. The Pictures in the book have got to be close to the most beautiful I have seen in any book.

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1 comment:

  1. my daughter is autistic she would love this very educational thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete