Playing Custer
Publisher: TCU Press, May 2015

Read sample chapters courtesy of TCU Press
Playing Custer is a novel narrated from varying points of view and time, illuminating personal and political events leading up to the death of General George Armstrong Custer. The historic events are framed by the story of two men from the late 20th century--one white and one Native American--who travel together to the annual reenactment of the battle at the Little Bighorn National Monument battlefield.
Chatting during their journey, the two reenactors discuss their obsessions, personal ambitions, and failures of nerve. Interwoven with their progress toward the battle are narrations, journal entries, and first-person view points from many others who were actually involved in the historic events. Soldiers and scouts for the cavalry; Sioux, Crow, and Cheyenne witnesses; and wives and daughters all offer their versions of "truth," establishing a texture and depth of irony, humor, and tragic meaning to those modern Americans driven to attempt to "play Custer."

This year--a special anniversary of the real battle--they are suddenly chosen for crucial new roles. This time, they will play Custer and Crazy Horse...
Reviews of Playing Custer
"'Playing Custer'" is at times acutely horrifying: Duff's re-creation of the actual Last Stand from many viewpoints can indeed be disturbing. The book, at the same time, can be deeply moving, especially as Libbie, Custer's widow, prepares to visit the wives who were widowed at the same time she was. It can also be wildly funny and unexpectedly affecting, as Waymon and Mirabeau leave the reenactment for other lives, having discovered that, according to Duff: 'It all depends on how you're turned and the final direction you decide to head.'" --Steven Whitton, Anniston Star

"Duff walks in the footsteps of Twain, with his understanding of the complexity and hypocrisy of military action...For students of history as well as lovers of the novel, Dugg delivers, piecing together historical record with the tenets of fiction--quick pacing, deft characterization, vivid scenes." --Camille-Yvette Welsch, Foreword Reviews

"I've come to understand that all historical fiction is speculative fiction. Duff has provided us fine speculation. As the author points out on the dedication page, history is fiction. And written by the winners." --Michelle Newby, Texas Book Lover

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