is a book that I put off reading for years because
of the mixed reports that I had heard as to the
reliability of Miller's sources. Having now read
it, I would certainly recommend it, with reservations,
"The Native American Side of the Story",
the story it tells is of course that of the Little
Big Horn battle. The book is supposedly based upon
Miller's interviews with, and other information
gathered by him from, the Indian participants in
the battle. These accounts come from both the Cheyennes,
Lakotas and Arapahoes, as well as those Indians
who fought with the troops, primarily the Arikaras
and the Crows.
main aspect of the book with which I take issue
is the lack of notes to show the source of each
particular account. Although Miller provides a list
of "informants" (a somewhat unfortunate
term that makes them sound like the associates of
criminals), at the end of the book, there is a slight
feel that literary license has been exercised from
time to time.
top of this, there are a few obvious errors, such
as describing Crazy Horse as a chief, and instances
of what appear to be clearly made up dialogue. I
suspect some will also object to his analysis of
the battle, particularly the controversial description
of Custer being killed or incapacitated in his first
brush with the Cheyennes and Lakotas at the ford
at the end of Medicine Tail Coulee.
these reservations, this is a book that I feel able
to recommend. It is fast paced and entertaining.
On top of this, you certainly feel that, if you
exercise care when reading it, you are getting some
genuine first hand Indian accounts of the battle.
book was first published in 1957 and it has a certain
nostalgic feel to it that enhanced the reading experience
for me at least.