Drawing on vivid oral histories, Joseph M. Marshall’s intimate biography introduces a never-before-seen portrait of Crazy Horse and his Lakota community
Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought the U.S. Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow Lakota Indians, he was a dutiful son and humble fighting man who—with valor, spirit, respect, and unparalleled leadership—fought for his people’s land, livelihood, and honor. In this fascinating biography, Joseph M. Marshall, himself a Lakota Indian, creates a vibrant portrait of the man, his times, and his legacy.
Thanks to firsthand research and his culture’s rich oral tradition (rarely shared outside the Native American community), Marshall reveals many aspects of Crazy Horse’s life, including details of the powerful vision that convinced him of his duty to help preserve the Lakota homeland—a vision that changed the course of Crazy Horse’s life and spurred him confidently into battle time and time again.
The Journey of Crazy Horse is the true story of how one man’s fight for his people’s survival roused his true genius as a strategist, commander, and trusted leader. And it is an unforgettable portrayal of a revered human being and a profound celebration of a culture, a community, and an enduring way of life.
"Those wishing to understand Crazy Horse as the Lakota know him won't find a better accout than Marshall's." -San Francisco Chronicle
In one of the first Penguin Lives biographies (1999's Crazy Horse), novelist Larry McMurtry drew on what scant facts he had to craft a brief and rather novelistic look at the legendary Lakota warrior. Here, Lakota author Marshall (The Lakota Way; Winter of the Holy Iron) draws on a rich Native American oral tradition to carefully and lovingly "unfold the life of Crazy Horse as a storyteller would." The result is a vivid, haunting biography that acknowledges the author's boyhood hero worship but avoids hagiography. Raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, Marshall recalls hearing his grandfather share stories of battles fought 75 years earlier against "Long Hair," the Lakota name for Gen. George Custer, vanquished at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Marshall reveals Crazy Horse as loyal son, spurned lover, instinctive warrior, doting father, compassionate hunter and natural leader, one who "reluctantly answered the call to serve" and "literally had no desire to talk about his exploits." Marshall sidesteps blood-and-guts combat scenes, emphasizing the larger picture of the Indians' defiant, doomed struggle, as settlers and miners flooded the Great Plains of the Sioux tribes between the 1840s and the 1880s. This book adds spirit and life to our understanding of this enigmatic and important man.
I really enjoyed reading this book! I am normally not a big reader but after traveling to visit the Lakota this summer, I wanted to know more about Crazy Horse. It's easy to read and well written.