The controversy of General Custer and the actions that culminated his fate and almost three hundred men under his command has long been discussed and debated by many historians as well as important military officials all trying to conclude what happened at the Battle of Little Bighorn. There have been countless myths and legends of what occurred on that fateful day in American history, but there has yet to be a solid right answer.
This answer is difficult to conclude for one reason, there were no survivors of the battle from Custers troops. This led to the many different sides of story that were mostly fabricated by newspapers and authors to sell their papers and books, without much care towards the accuracy of the battle and it events. The book, Custer and The Great Controversy trys to put into context the developing situations prior to and after the battle to get to the roots of these legends and myths to try and make sense of them. The authors goal is not to come to a conclusion and a theory of his own, but to disregard the myths and legends of the past and in doing so shed some light on the controversy for people who may have thought otherwise. The author achieves this goal in a unique way by writing chronologically but at the same time writes about the major events of the developing controversy, sometimes overlapping in years but making smooth connections between similar the events. First, the author starts out by giving a background of The Battle of Little Bighorn.
Describing the main characters of the battle and the events leading up to the battle and then finally the battle itself in a broad context. Doing this gives the reader a foundation of what lies ahead in the book. Secondly, the author describes the role of the press and its impact after the battle has concluded. The press can be looked upon as the main reason for the overwhelming myths and legends that followed due to their unwillingness to find the facts and their motivation to sell their papers. Thirdly, the author attends to the great debate that followed the battle a few years later, that was fueled by these myths and arose during this hostile time. The debate was between the critics who thought that Custer led his men into suicide by disobeying orders and selfishly seeking the individual pride and glory that followed him throughout his military career up until his death at The Battle of Little Bighorn.
On the other side of the debate, were the people who thought of Custer as a hero and sacrificing himself as well as his army for the United States. They placed the blame on orders that were to broad in detail and on the cowardliness of other military leaders who wouldnt engage in the battle. The following chapter sheds light on the mystery of the battle by seeking the Indian side of the story by crediting and discrediting the stories of the Indians on what happened in the battle. In the fifth chapter of the book is concentrated on the different myths of the battle, such as the way that Custer perished in battle.
Since not a single person knows when Custer actually perished and how it is myth all within itself and the author gives the evidence to support this and the other myths of what happened in the battle. In the ending chapter the author gives a bibliographical survey of the books written preceding the battle and their importance in the developing and unlocking the mysteries of the battle at the Little Bighorn. The author, Robert M. Utley, was first enveloped by the Custer legend as a seventh grader when he watched the movie They Died with Their Boots On. From there on Utley was devoured by the legend of Custer and determined to fine the answers of this mystery.
By the age of twenty-two, Utley compiled his master thesis at the University of Indiana on The Custer Controversy: A Historiographical Story of the Battle of The Little Bighorn for the Period 1876-1900. At the age of Thirty-five he wrote the book, Custer and The Great Controversy trying to put Words/ Pages : 705 / 24