Custer Survivor....Library Journal
November 10, 2009 — Print this Page
Library Journal Review
Koster, John, CUSTER SURVIVOR: THE END OF A MYTH, THE BEGINNING OF A LEGEND....
“Over the years there have been a number of claims of survivors of Custer’s battalion at the Little Bighorn in 1876, but none has held up under close scrutiny — until now. Journalist Koster (The Road To Wounded Knee) carefully reconstructs the life of Frank Finkel, second sergeant of C Company. He marshals all of the available documentary, historical, archaeological and forensic evidence to show that the Frank Finkel born in Ohio in 1854 was the George August Finckle who enlisted in the Seventh Cavalry in 1872, the Frank Finkel who died in Dayton, WA, in 1930, and the “long sword” whom Rain-in-the-Face reported being told escaped the battle on a runaway horse and whom he saw in Chicago in 1893. Koster also tells how Finkel’s desire to enhance his status and his second wife’s efforts to erase all traces of his first wife, supposedly part Cherokee, misled researchers for decades but also kept Finkel’s story alive. VERDICT: This well-written and carefully reasoned argument is essential reading for scholars and students of the West and will be of great interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Custer and the Little Bighorn. Highly recommended. — Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette.
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