The Life and Death of Crazy Horse Summary
by Russell Freedman

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The Life and Death of Crazy Horse Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

This book is not only a biography of the most famous of all Sioux warriors and leaders but documents a history of a people, the Lakota Sioux. As the United States expanded westward on the Oregon Trail during the latter part of the nineteenth century, the presence of ranchers, miners, and soldiers to protect them, changed the Indians' way of life. As a member of the Oglalas, one of seven tribes of the Teton or Lakota Sioux, Crazy Horse represented the Indians who wished to maintain their own way of life on their hunting grounds but were labeled "hostiles" by U.S soldiers, miners and ranchers.

Because much of the specifics regarding Crazy Horse's life were not recorded until fifty years after his death, when two women traveled the Indian lands to interview friends and relatives, Freedman had to find a way to fill in the missing gaps. He successfully provides information from his research about the typical life of a young Sioux boy as he grows to manhood to help develop a credible persona. Details about child-rearing, buffalo hunts, Vision Quests, courtship, and tribal competitions appear at appropriate points in Freedman's account.

Authentic drawings by a band historian, who was also a relative of Crazy Horse, aid the truthful depiction. Maps help to establish Crazy Horse Country, United States expansion and key battle strategies in relationship to present day boundaries. Even the jacket cover illustration provides a portrait of Crazy Horse, prepared for battle, and indicates his solitary stance that is not desirous of warrior glory or recognition.