his month’s podcast features UNP author Louise Barnett reading from the new preface to Touched by Fire: The Life, Death, and Mythic Afterlife of George Armstrong Custer.
Barnett describes some of the fascinating and slightly unusual experiences–including adopting the persona of Custer for a battery of psychological tests–that have arisen from her fascination with the (in)famous general. Her work proves that George Armstrong Custer remains a national historical obsession.
For more than a century, Americans have been captivated by the
legend of General George Armstrong Custer. But the various truths of
Custer’s life and last stand prove elusive. Why are we so taken with
the myth and the so-called mystery behind the man?
In a field teeming with highly partisan and wildly speculative
treatments of Custer, Louise Barnett enters with a volume widely
acclaimed by both military and cultural historians as the most balanced
account of his life and legend. Custer’s life spans two great eras of
American history, and Barnett’s commanding work pushes beyond the
existing literature to a comprehensive view of this controversial