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Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy

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The Edward Clown family, nearest living relatives to the Lakota war leader, presents the family tales and memories told to them about their famous grandfather. In many ways the oral history differs from what has become the standard and widely accepted biography of Crazy Horse. The family clarifies the inaccuracies and shares their story about the past, including what it me The Edward Clown family, nearest living relatives to the Lakota war leader, presents the family tales and memories told to them about their famous grandfather. In many ways the oral history differs from what has become the standard and widely accepted biography of Crazy Horse. The family clarifies the inaccuracies and shares their story about the past, including what it means to them to be Lakota, the family genealogy, the life of Crazy Horse and his motivations, his death, and why they chose to keep quiet with their knowledge for so long before finally deciding to tell the truth as they know it. This book is a compelling addition to the body of works about Crazy Horse and the complicated and often conflicting events of that time period in American History. Floyd Clown, Doug War Eagle, and Don Red Thunder are the sole administrators and spokesmen of the Crazy Horse estate and often speak at historical gatherings and national parks about their family's history.


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The Edward Clown family, nearest living relatives to the Lakota war leader, presents the family tales and memories told to them about their famous grandfather. In many ways the oral history differs from what has become the standard and widely accepted biography of Crazy Horse. The family clarifies the inaccuracies and shares their story about the past, including what it me The Edward Clown family, nearest living relatives to the Lakota war leader, presents the family tales and memories told to them about their famous grandfather. In many ways the oral history differs from what has become the standard and widely accepted biography of Crazy Horse. The family clarifies the inaccuracies and shares their story about the past, including what it means to them to be Lakota, the family genealogy, the life of Crazy Horse and his motivations, his death, and why they chose to keep quiet with their knowledge for so long before finally deciding to tell the truth as they know it. This book is a compelling addition to the body of works about Crazy Horse and the complicated and often conflicting events of that time period in American History. Floyd Clown, Doug War Eagle, and Don Red Thunder are the sole administrators and spokesmen of the Crazy Horse estate and often speak at historical gatherings and national parks about their family's history.

30 review for Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ginni

    Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior's Life & Legacy is a first of its kind. Packed with incredible art and photos, the whole thing is written in the first-person plural, which creates a nice sense of immediacy (instead of “our ancestors did X,” it’s “we did X”) and somehow doesn’t feel hokey. In a culture where many people don't even know their great-grandparents' names, it's uniquely powerful to see these writers placing themselves by the sides of their distant ancestors. Don't expect to be swept u Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior's Life & Legacy is a first of its kind. Packed with incredible art and photos, the whole thing is written in the first-person plural, which creates a nice sense of immediacy (instead of “our ancestors did X,” it’s “we did X”) and somehow doesn’t feel hokey. In a culture where many people don't even know their great-grandparents' names, it's uniquely powerful to see these writers placing themselves by the sides of their distant ancestors. Don't expect to be swept up the way you would in a novel--this is, essentially, still a history book--but it's not difficult reading, either. It’s hard to get around the obvious uncomfortable question: How can we trust this account? None of the writers were there; they’ve just been told what happened by people who were told what happened by people who were told what happened by people who were there, and all of those people had biases and agendas. The authors themselves admit that oral accounts of the same event vary somewhat from family to family. The obvious uncomfortable follow-up question is: Isn’t that how we know pretty much everything we know about history? Yes, we have primary sources for many events—but hey, there’s a whole appendix full of primary sources in the back of this book. Even court documents and first-person accounts contain inherent cultural biases. Isn’t it only fair that we see, for once, a different bias? Is the way that the story was handed down not an important part of the story? Regardless of the veracity of the account, it’s exciting to have access to it. Until now, this has only been an oral history, one to which non-Lakota have not been privy. It’s a privilege to be able to read this rich, surprising counter-narrative. I'm grateful to the Edward Clown family for sharing their stories, and to William B. Matson for recording them faithfully and more or less without embellishment. (I received this book for free through a Goodreads giveaway.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angela Holland

    I will not be able to say enough good things about this book. When you read this book it is not like reading a book it is more like you are listening to the family telling your their story. I felt as if I could really hear them. The more I read this book the more angry I got as there were a lot of bad things done by our country to Crazy Horse and his family. It was all hateful and very unnecessary. I am very happy that I read this book and hope everyone takes the time to read it. Today I go the I will not be able to say enough good things about this book. When you read this book it is not like reading a book it is more like you are listening to the family telling your their story. I felt as if I could really hear them. The more I read this book the more angry I got as there were a lot of bad things done by our country to Crazy Horse and his family. It was all hateful and very unnecessary. I am very happy that I read this book and hope everyone takes the time to read it. Today I go the chance to meet Floyd Clown and William Matson. They came to my town and gave a lecture, which was very informative and interesting. When the lecture was over I got the chance to talk to both of them and found out that Floyd Clown is also a grandson of War Eagle who was a big name where I am from. My only wish was that I could have had more time to visit with them. I would love to hear more stories about Floyd and Crazy Horse's family. One of the best books I have read this year.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    On our recent road trip, Tom and I visited Fort Caspar, in Casper, Wyoming. They had a lot of books in the gift shop, and this one caught my eye: The life and legacy of Crazy Horse as told by his descendants. I find oral histories fascinating, and am curious about Crazy Horse, so I decided to buy the book. Glad I did, but so much of the story is heartbreaking, it's a relief that the family considers the publication of this book a sort of happy ending. Setting the record straight, and declaring t On our recent road trip, Tom and I visited Fort Caspar, in Casper, Wyoming. They had a lot of books in the gift shop, and this one caught my eye: The life and legacy of Crazy Horse as told by his descendants. I find oral histories fascinating, and am curious about Crazy Horse, so I decided to buy the book. Glad I did, but so much of the story is heartbreaking, it's a relief that the family considers the publication of this book a sort of happy ending. Setting the record straight, and declaring that they are still here, reclaiming traditional ways and thriving, does seem like a happy ending, especially after all they have endured.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Viki

    I found this account of Lakota life absolutely fascinating. Background about Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse was in-depth showing the family connections and tribal life. The battle at Little Big Horn was not the center of the story as I assumed. Spiritual ceremonies have been preserved throughout the years continuing to modern times. The Appendix included governmental papers recorded as the tribe was relocated to the reservations. This is an area of American history that I knew very little about an I found this account of Lakota life absolutely fascinating. Background about Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse was in-depth showing the family connections and tribal life. The battle at Little Big Horn was not the center of the story as I assumed. Spiritual ceremonies have been preserved throughout the years continuing to modern times. The Appendix included governmental papers recorded as the tribe was relocated to the reservations. This is an area of American history that I knew very little about and I will be encouraged to read more about this particular time period.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Langlois

    A little hard to read. Had to put it down several times. So sad that this is the truth of what happened to the Native American people. Being of mixed nationality with some Native American in me from both my mother and father I am saddened to read this and now understand why my father insisted that we be registered as white. To the Crazy Horse family thank you for finally making this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    This is not a book for the scholar. What it lacks academically may be compensated by the sincere steadfast spirit, here and there. Past the padding there are a couple authentic creeping streaks.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    The only book on Crazy Horse you ever need to read, direct from their family's history. The only book on Crazy Horse you ever need to read, direct from their family's history.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leonide Martin

    Much has been written and put in film about the famous Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, who led the defeat of General Custer at Little Big Horn in 1876. In this unique telling, the descendants in the Crazy Horse family relate a series of stories that were passed as oral tradition for generations. Matson, whose father had abiding interest in Native Americans, passed this charge onto his son. It took Matson many years to gain the family's trust and compile their stories. They shared their history in or Much has been written and put in film about the famous Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, who led the defeat of General Custer at Little Big Horn in 1876. In this unique telling, the descendants in the Crazy Horse family relate a series of stories that were passed as oral tradition for generations. Matson, whose father had abiding interest in Native Americans, passed this charge onto his son. It took Matson many years to gain the family's trust and compile their stories. They shared their history in order to preserve the stories in the most accurate form, and honor this hero who gave his life to maintain Lakota ways. Told in the words of many family members, the book has the ring of authenticity. They describe events as recalled and passed on, weaving these with Lakota beliefs and lifestyles. It is a touching yet harsh account, a simple recounting of how life was and how it changed. Their immense strength of endurance and persistence shines through, as the Lakota people faced lies and deceptions, brutality and misunderstanding, and ultimately confinement to reservations without sustainable lifestyles. One must admire the matter-of-fact ways they dealt with unbelievable adversity. Now the tribes are reclaiming their heritage and preserving what they can of their traditions. The Clown family and their Lakota people deserve our greatest respect and gratitude for bringing this remarkable account into print.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allan Dyen-Shapiro

    After a trip to South Dakota this summer, I became fascinated with Lakota culture and Crazy Horse in particular. This book is oral history--the family saga, starting with Crazy Horse's grandfather and continuing to the present day--as told by three of his descendants who listened to their elders' stories and backed them up with probate and other records. Not as easy as it sounds with how many changed names and with the willful cover-up by a family afraid of persecution for much of the century fo After a trip to South Dakota this summer, I became fascinated with Lakota culture and Crazy Horse in particular. This book is oral history--the family saga, starting with Crazy Horse's grandfather and continuing to the present day--as told by three of his descendants who listened to their elders' stories and backed them up with probate and other records. Not as easy as it sounds with how many changed names and with the willful cover-up by a family afraid of persecution for much of the century following Crazy Horse's death. Interestingly, it's told in first person, as if each historical figure was telling the tale. Included are visions of ancestors speaking to them, as well as detailed description of the material conditions as well as decision processes that motivated actions. Few specific villains emerge, although Red Cloud comes close. Interesting. Wikipedia paints him as a hero rather than a murderous traitor to his people. A list of people mentioned, with all names they used, and with birth and death dates, would have been helpful. A family tree laid out as a conventional chart would also have helped. But, as is, this is quite readable. A very good start for those trying to learn about the Lakota.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    It is one thing to read and learn about another culture/people from an outsider‘s perspective but it‘s a whole different thing to learn about it from a member of that culture. I picked this book up at the little museum/store at Fort Phil Kearney and am truly grateful to the lady who recommended it to me there. („If you want to learn about ‚native Americans‘ & their history, you‘d best stay clear of books written by us ‚white people‘; this book is the real deal“ she said ;-)) And she was right in It is one thing to read and learn about another culture/people from an outsider‘s perspective but it‘s a whole different thing to learn about it from a member of that culture. I picked this book up at the little museum/store at Fort Phil Kearney and am truly grateful to the lady who recommended it to me there. („If you want to learn about ‚native Americans‘ & their history, you‘d best stay clear of books written by us ‚white people‘; this book is the real deal“ she said ;-)) And she was right in this instance. This book is so much more than just a retelling of battles and historic moments. It is a family‘s history, spanning centuries and numerous generations. Told throughout in first person narration (the plural „we“), it tells of old legend stories, spiritual practices, cultural traditions and the everyday way of life of the Lakota. It is a deeply personal book and I learned so much more than I expected. I absolutely loved it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ricard flay

    It took a little getting use to reading an entire book in the first person but that didn't last long. A tragic history of a great man, and his tribal family. I was somewhat upset that his vision was different from that I read in a prior book which went into detail about this incident on Bear Butte in 1871. I'm shocked by the US governments treatment of this man, as well as the army being manipulated by Red Cloud. It would have been so simple for the government to stick to their agreement that wo It took a little getting use to reading an entire book in the first person but that didn't last long. A tragic history of a great man, and his tribal family. I was somewhat upset that his vision was different from that I read in a prior book which went into detail about this incident on Bear Butte in 1871. I'm shocked by the US governments treatment of this man, as well as the army being manipulated by Red Cloud. It would have been so simple for the government to stick to their agreement that would grant Crazy Horse a reservation, and allowed his people to continue to hunt the Black Hills, and protect his family graves. I would like to see the US Government officially condemn the Sand Creek massacre, and remove the twenty Medals of Honor from these murderers. I would also like a condemnation of the officer that ordered his murder, as well as the cowardly soldier that carried it out.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    We know there is another side to the story of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and other Native chiefs, much different than what we learned in elementary school. I’ve always tended to believe the Natives. This book is narrated by descendants of Crazy Horse, members of the Clown family and is mesmerizing! The way the author transcribes the stories handed down, is eloquent. He’s a Caucasian, trusted by the Lakota to set the record straight and tell their story. My only criticism is that near the end, th We know there is another side to the story of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and other Native chiefs, much different than what we learned in elementary school. I’ve always tended to believe the Natives. This book is narrated by descendants of Crazy Horse, members of the Clown family and is mesmerizing! The way the author transcribes the stories handed down, is eloquent. He’s a Caucasian, trusted by the Lakota to set the record straight and tell their story. My only criticism is that near the end, the book just turns into a straightforward family tree, away from the interesting flow of the ancient, spiritual stories. In passing, there was mention that the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota is controversial to the Natives, but no explanation. I’d like to know more about that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Curry

    Fascinating This was a very educational book about the Lakota culture and key descendants— not the least of which is Crazy Horse. While it is characterized as the only ‘official’ history of Crazy Horse based on the fact that all the stories have been passed down orally through the generations, there were a couple times I wondered how some conversations between one party who spoke only English and the other party who spoke only Lakota could actually be captured — but it was worth reading none-the- Fascinating This was a very educational book about the Lakota culture and key descendants— not the least of which is Crazy Horse. While it is characterized as the only ‘official’ history of Crazy Horse based on the fact that all the stories have been passed down orally through the generations, there were a couple times I wondered how some conversations between one party who spoke only English and the other party who spoke only Lakota could actually be captured — but it was worth reading none-the-less. Felt sad for the way the Lakota were treated and lied to by the government — as well as, at times, by other tribes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Koogler

    This was the memoirs written by the relatives of Crazy Horse. It is refreshing to hear their side of their great ancestor’s story. It is human nature to justify the actions of your own while demonizing others. This is the case here as well. Crazy Horse’s actions were all justified, his family’s mishaps were the work of others, etc. There is a clear bias in this book, but at the end of the day, who cares? It’s a good story and from the perspective of those closest to a great man. I highly recomme This was the memoirs written by the relatives of Crazy Horse. It is refreshing to hear their side of their great ancestor’s story. It is human nature to justify the actions of your own while demonizing others. This is the case here as well. Crazy Horse’s actions were all justified, his family’s mishaps were the work of others, etc. There is a clear bias in this book, but at the end of the day, who cares? It’s a good story and from the perspective of those closest to a great man. I highly recommend this to others.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Gage

    This little gem has been a long time coming. I would encourage everyone who has any interest in the Americas west, the plight of the mighty Sioux nation or the failed extermination of American Indian tribes to indulge in this history changer. Many, many blanks filled in for me personally regarding myth and fact. Thank you so much to the family for sharing their story at this time and to the author, well done.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    This history of the Lakota and the story of Crazy Horse as passed down through Oral History and presented to the author by Crazy Horse’s closest descendants. A very interesting book. It’s difficult to put down. So many historical events were witnessed by this family and are told from their perspective. It also tells the story of Crazy Horse’s descendants to the present which in many ways is just as interesting because until now it wasn’t known. A really good read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    What an excellent book. This author captures the voice of the native American oral tradition better than any writing I've ever read. And the life & times of Crazy Horse are one of those "much bigger than life" stories that don't come out very often. One of the truly great war chiefs coming out of the American Plains Indians experience. What an excellent book. This author captures the voice of the native American oral tradition better than any writing I've ever read. And the life & times of Crazy Horse are one of those "much bigger than life" stories that don't come out very often. One of the truly great war chiefs coming out of the American Plains Indians experience.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ashley sullivan

    Enlightening Unique and fascinating. Slow at first. Anyone interested in history would be awed by the oral history of these remarkable people and the way they conducted their lives. Genuinely loving people who suffered great tragedies. Their lives were full of so much to be admired and respected, a respect they never received.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clyde Prince

    Great book This. Is a very true and honest account of the Chief Crazy Horse that was one of the great leaders of the Lak I Lota people. It is also a very good accounting of the investment and lies the Native Americans endured over more then a hundred years. The American government continued to mistreat the indians Into the 2020"s. Great book This. Is a very true and honest account of the Chief Crazy Horse that was one of the great leaders of the Lak I Lota people. It is also a very good accounting of the investment and lies the Native Americans endured over more then a hundred years. The American government continued to mistreat the indians Into the 2020"s.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charles M Daly

    Fascinating read This was an in depth learning experience. The book not only told the story of Crazy Horse, but gave great insight into the culture from which he came. An excellent presentation.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    Incredible book detailing the life of Crazy Horse told by his descendants. The struggles of the Lakota way of life, in which it was nearly snuffed out by the 'Americans'. You go deep inside their culture and how they give all to Mother Earth and how the buffalo are like brothers. Fantastic book. Incredible book detailing the life of Crazy Horse told by his descendants. The struggles of the Lakota way of life, in which it was nearly snuffed out by the 'Americans'. You go deep inside their culture and how they give all to Mother Earth and how the buffalo are like brothers. Fantastic book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    This is one of the most amazing books about history that I have ever read. Very personal and detailed. All I can think to say is that I am honored to have had a chance to hear this history. Thank you, Mr. Floyd Clown Sr. and Bill Matson for writing it down as well as the entire family for sharing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nila

    History of the family behind the Crazy Horse Monument being carved right now in South Dakota, USA. Told from the native american family members of Crazy horse. Real life tales back in the day the stuff not taught in schools. I was super excited to read this before my trip to SD this Summer!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Heise

    Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy I found this book to be very interesting. I have read quite a few books on Crazy Horse, but hearing it through the oral history brings the reader a better understanding of the man and his culture.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Great book with a wealth of information not in the official records of Crazy Horses's life. This book is the hidden, treasured stories of his family. The book even reads like you're listening to stories rather than reading them. I hope historians are listening. Great book with a wealth of information not in the official records of Crazy Horses's life. This book is the hidden, treasured stories of his family. The book even reads like you're listening to stories rather than reading them. I hope historians are listening.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Verna LaBounty

    Corrects much misinformation about Crazy Horse.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katy M

    Really interesting.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shana

    Hard to read format but really important an excellent perspective on our American history via the oral histories of this family

  29. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This should be standard reading for every American.

  30. 5 out of 5

    William Brennan

    Truth to ignite your soul Incredible book!! This book is one that truly speaks volumes of the Crazy Horse family and spirit correcting history and igniting the spirit a must read!

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