Review

Crazy Horse

by Larry McMurtry



Whether he tackles fiction (LONESOME DOVE) or nonfiction (CRAZY
HORSE), there is something constant and intensely comforting about
the writings of Larry McMurtry. As we glide through his pages, we
feel as if we're curled up by the fire with a trusted old friend;
observing an artist, painting pictures with well-considered
words.

CRAZY HORSE, McMurtry's biography of the legendary Oglala Sioux
leader, is no exception, though it can't have been easy to
write.

McMurtry, himself, admits, historical reference material on Crazy
Horse is sketchy at best. "His own people experienced him as a
mystery while he was alive," he writes in chapter one. "They called
him Our Strange Man. In his life he would have three names: Curly,
His Horses Looking, Crazy Horse (Ta-Shunka-Witco). We know him as
Crazy Horse, but in life few knew him well; in truth it is only in
a certain limited way that we who are living now can know him at
all."

Glaring historical lapses in mind, McMurtry braves the daunting
task of remembering an American legend. He faces the myth and the
mystery of Crazy Horse with courage and, in the end, presents a
balanced, objective vision. We see through McMurtry's studied eyes,
a man revered by his people, feared by his enemies, and sadly
martyred by unyielding change.

Crazy Horse, according to McMurty, was a warrior without parallel.
And yet his people saw him as a lover of peace. He was a mystic, a
dreamer as loyal to his own personal freedom as he was to the
battles of his tribes. He embraced both with an unwavering
ferocity. And it was that passion that set him apart.

"Crazy Horse's legend grew...from a broken people's need to
remember and believe in unbroken heroes," McMurtry says. This
remarkable, intensely readable biography helps people beyond his
tribal connections understand the heroics of Crazy Horse,
too.

Reviewed by Kelly Milner-Halls on January 21, 2011

Crazy Horse
by Larry McMurtry

  • Publication Date: January 1, 1999
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0670882348
  • ISBN-13: 9780670882342