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A Wounded Thing Must Hide:
Surviving a legend can be hard work. Consider Libbie Custer, widowed after her husband's death at [Little Big Horn], and who spent the next 60 years arguing against Ulysses S. Grant's judgment that "It was Custer who was responsible--and Custer alone--for the deaths of so many."
English writer Jeremy Poolman follows a looping, sometimes loopy path across the world on Libbie Custer's trail, celebrating the life of a decidedly modern, self-assured, even driven woman who lived in a time when women were too often voiceless. Poolman's approach is, well, idiosyncratic: he communes with Custer's ghost, argues the Georgia-born Libbie's case for having married the Yankee Custer at her graveside against a group of unimpressed Southern ladies, and invokes his hard-drinking father, who harbored a scholar's passion for Custeriana, an obsession that "was like a virus (one for which, I know now, there is no cure)." Throughout it all, though, Poolman keeps Libbie Custer well in his sights, telling her tale even as he spins plenty of his own. And quite a tale it is.
It's far from the usual biography, far from the usual journey--but it works, and fans of Western history will enjoy Poolman's wild ride. --Gregory McNamee [via]