This economical 141-page biography of Crazy Horse proves why this Sioux warrior exists as one of America’s most revered legends. Texas author Larry McMurtry wrote over twenty bestselling novels including Lonesome Dove (Pulitzer Prize-winning) and The Last Picture Show. Published in 1999, Crazy Horse counted as the first book in the Penguin Lives series.
Very little is known about Crazy Horse. It’s unclear if he was ever photographed, and his burial location remains unknown. McMurtry admits sometimes fact withers in the heat of myth with our heroes. McMurtry wrote on this dilemma: “In a great many shadowy cases where Crazy Horse fought, or may have fought, the data is simply not firm; in making him a master strategist—as opposed to merely a daring warrior—the historian walks on very thin ice indeed.”
McMurtry provides stories from Crazy Horse’s childhood that shaped his individualistic characteristics within his tribe. The writer reveals political backdrops leading to military circumstances that defined Crazy Horse’s legend. Yet, above all else Crazy Horse’s charity to his own people was a vision he experienced at a young age. McMurtry wrote: “His duty to the poor was a duty that Crazy Horse took seriously all his life—it may have been because he devoted his ability to feed the many hungry people who were following him that he decided to bring the band into Ft. Robinson in 1877.”
Known for his fierce bravery, kindness to the poor and quiet demeanor, Crazy Horse amazed red and white men alike in those savage and violent days of the Wild West. He remained elusive to the government until four months before his death at 33. The book details the generals who hated Crazy Horse, tribulations amid the tribes and even his own people who tragically turned on him in the end. Crazy Horse stands as a timeless portrait of a great American hero.
Larry McMurtry died on March 25, 2021, in Texas.