Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Crazy Horse, man, myth

Crazy Horse was a loner. He preferred solitude and quiet. It is this reticence that led to well over a century of misinformation and misinterpretation. He left no written words and spoke only sparingly, which left historians with little to construct the story of Crazy Horse, but with a whole lot from which to construct the myth of Crazy Horse. The myth of a man and the actual man aren’t necessarily opposed, but without much rooting in interviews and documents, the writer is left free to interpret and the myth slowly creeps away from the man. While other notable American Indians, such as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Spotted Tail, interacted with frontier officials, Crazy Horse remained a fleeting figure. He sparingly entered the theater of the frontier, and it still remains difficult to confirm in which battles he actually participated. Many aspects of Crazy Horse remain debatable, but his bravery and generosity have remained unchallenged.

Some notable books about Crazy Horse and the American Plains

Crazy Horse (Larry McMurtry)

Crazy Horse: the Strange Man of the Oglalas (Mari Sandoz)

To Kill an Eagle: Indian Views on the Death of Crazy Horse (Edward Kadlecek)

The Lance and the Shield (Robert M. Utley)

On the Border with Crook (John Gregory Bourke)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Dee Brown)

Son of the Morning Star (Evan Connell)

The Sixth Grandfather (John Neihardt and Rayond DeMaillie)

The Crazy Horse Memorial (pictured above) is under construction in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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