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Shooting Arrows and Slinging Mud: Custer, the Press, and the Little Bighorn by James Mueller (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013).

In this insightful and illuminating book, the actual 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn – Custer’s Last Stand – takes a back seat to the critical examination of how the press reported it. The openly partisan press of the era largely fell in along party lines in that election year. Newspapers supporting the Republican Party blamed the disaster on Custer, while those supporting the Democratic Party blamed it on the Indian policies of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant.

On War: The Best Military Histories by Rick Atkinson, Carlo D’Este, Max Hastings, James McPherson, Allan R. Millett, Tim O’Brien and Gerhard Weinberg (Pritzker Military Museum and Library, 2013).

 This must-read treasure trove of military histories presents excerpted works by seven of today’s best writers, historians and biographers. All of them are recipients of the prestigious Pritzker Military Museum and Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement, including ACG advisory board member and consulting historian Carlo D’Este. This book definitely is one that should be added to all military history libraries.

George Washington’s Surprise Attack: A New Look at the Battle That Decided the Fate of America by Phillip Thomas Tucker (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013).

 Like a surgeon wielding a scalpel, Tucker uses his keen insight and razor-sharp analysis to deftly slice through the multiple layers of myth-making to reveal the real story of the Battle of Trenton, just as he did in his other outstanding books on the Alamo and Gettysburg. Those who believe Washington only won the Revolutionary War due to good luck and the incompetence of his British opponents will find this superb book a revealing eye-opener.


Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Armchair General.