Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:1 (Winter 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Throughout the book's detailed accounts of the campaigns, career, and posthumous reputation of George Armstrong Custer, Elizabeth Custer virtually disappears. At other times Leckie presents glimpses of Custer's life beyond her role of wife and professional widow that would, if explored in more detail, enrich the study considerably. A broader analysis throughout the chronological narrative-with the inclusion of a greater portion of recent work on the complexity of gender roles in the nineteenth century, the relationship of women to war and the military, women's paid work roles, the women's club movement, women as writers and readers, and the relationship between elite white women and women of color-would have added to the book's contributions. Yet the biography does muster a great deal of important information on Elizabeth Bacon Custer's life and her role in the making of the Custer myth that historians will find useful and compelling.