Author: Elsie S. Wilmerding
Examines the contested expansion of the Western United States through the perspective of two important historical figures. It is the story of a time when open land, resources, and wealth west of the Mississippi captured the imagination of everyone in nineteenth century America. The United States government sent expeditions to capture as much land as possible, and thousands of easterners set off in stagecoaches to find their fortunes. Angry American Natives and vicious conflict greeted the trespassers as they continued to invade more territory. The book follows the lives of two brave leaders from very different cultures, born just two years apart: George Armstrong Custer of the United States Seventh Cavalry; and Crazy Horse of the Native American Lakota tribe. Custer delighted in youthful pranks as a child and as a young man at West Point Military Academy. Ambitious, courageous, and lucky, Custer successfully advanced his military career in spite of a few misdemeanors. Thousands of miles away, Crazy Horse hunted buffalo, captured horses, and learned the strategies of warfare by studying animals and following Native traditions. Both Custer and Crazy Horse became passionate leaders. This gripping story culminates when Crazy Horse and thousands of Native American warriors collide with Custer's Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn to fight for their land and everything they held dear.
Elsie Wilmerding has been an educator of gifted and dyslexic children in and around the Boston area since 1985. A personal love of the American West and of nineteenth-century American painting inspired her to write about the lives of the two central characters whose lives interested in historic battle. She believes that the remarkable contrast of Custer and Crazy Horse and the cultures they represent can be an effective tool for augmenting the teaching of diversity as well as the westward expansion of the nineteenth century. Wilmerding’s treatment of these historical figures provides an appealing and innovative way to interest children, ages eleven and above, in history and cultural differences.