Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Booknotes: General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs

New Arrival:
General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs: A Passion for Hounds, from the Civil War to Little Bighorn by Brian Patrick Duggan (McFarland, 2019).

"General George Armstrong Custer and his wife, Libbie Custer, were wholehearted dog lovers. At the time of his death at Little Bighorn, they owned a rollicking pack of 40 hunting dogs, including Scottish Deerhounds, Russian Wolfhounds, Greyhounds and Foxhounds." I bet that was popular with the neighbors!

"Told from a dog owner's perspective," Brian Patrick Duggan's General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs: A Passion for Hounds, from the Civil War to Little Bighorn is a different kind of Custer family biography. Part of the publisher's Dogs in Our World series, the book "covers their first dogs during the Civil War and in Texas; hunting on the Kansas and Dakota frontiers; entertaining tourist buffalo hunters, including a Russian Archduke, English aristocrats and P. T. Barnum (all of whom presented the general with hounds); Custer's attack on the Washita village (when he was accused of strangling his own dogs); and the 7th Cavalry's march to Little Bighorn with an analysis of rumors about a Last Stand dog. The Custers' pack was re-homed after his death in the first national dog rescue effort."

I'm a bit surprised that such a huge book could be crafted from the topic. The volume is well illustrated and includes photographs of the Custers with their animals. The book also has a cultural feature, with an extensive appendix "giving depictions of the Custers' dogs in art, literature and film."

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