Everyone'll have their own list, of course, so this is purely subjective, but here goes:
* Robert Utley's Cavalier in Buckskin, for a fair and even-handed overview of Custer's career and character; * W. A. Graham's The Custer Myth, as a superb collection of source material; * John S. Gray's Centennial Campaign, for the historical context of the campaign and the battle; * John S. Gray's Custer's Last Campaign (but read with caution -- don't let all the charts and diagrams bamboozle you into thinking this is "science" and therefore can't be argued with, and apply a pinch of salt to his anti-Benteen prejudice); * Greg Michno's Lakota Noon: again not to be treated as gospel, but a gallant attempt to unravel all the conflicting Indian accounts and place them into a coherent narrative; * Ronald H. Nichols' version of the Reno Court of Inquiry -- but get the hardback edition, as the paperback self-destructs the moment you open it. (The RCOI text is available free online, which might be the best way to start; if you get really hooked on this subject, however, you'll need the physical book for ease of reference.)
That should keep you going for a bit! But if you also want to get a feel for day-to-day life in the 7th Cavalry, try Barnitz' Life in Custer's Cavalry. It doesn't cover the battle itself, going only as far as Washita; a lovely insight into Custer's methods, officers' gripes, and so on, however. (It's also pretty funny at times.) And Sandy Barnard's Ten Years with Custer, Sgt. John Ryan's recollections, gives the enlisted man's view. Another good read.
Add to the above all of Richard [Dutch] Hardorff's books with either Camp's notes and correspondence or Indian accounts. Actually, make that ALL of Hardorrf's books and pamphlets.
Kuhlman: Legend Into History Fox et al: Archaeological Perspectives on the Little Bighorn Hammer: Custer in '76 Graham: Story of the Little Bighorn Panzeri: Little Bighorn 1876 Carroll: Any of his books and pamphlets that you can find - some are quite rare Willert: Little Big Horn Diary Darling: A Sad and Terrible Blunder King: Massacre Scott et al: Archaeological Insights into the Custer Battle Connell: Son of the Morning Star Godfrey: Custer's Last Battle Ricker" Voices of the American West - The Indian Interviews
The list is almost endless, even limited to those volumes which are reasonable and unbiased. Many are expensive to purchase - others can be had at very reasonable [or even cheap] prices. You should, in my opinion, buy only a couple of "opinion" books, to give yourself an overview of what supposedly happened [Godfrey is good for that. So are Graham and Panzeri], and concentrate both your cash and your energies to works which give you good source material.
"Sources for sources" is one of my mantras, and if possible, you should follow the sources in the books back to their origins. There is nothing so offensive to me as an author quoting another author's work as the source for his own statements. I have found several examples of authors quoting sources incorrectly or quoting sources which do not exist. It is always best to find the original source and make up your own mind as to what it says and what it means, rather than relying on someone else's interpretation.
I don't know where you are located, so you may not be able to easily visit many of the repositories of the source material - most of them are in the United States, including Historical Societies, Libraries, Universities and the Monument's Collections. Good hunting!!!
Take a whiff on me, that ain't no rose. Roll up your window and hold your nose. You don't have to look, and you don't have to see, 'cause you can feel it in your olfactory. Well, you got yer dead cat, and you got yer dead dog - on a moonlit night, you got yer dead toad-frog. Got yer dead rabbit, and yer dead raccoon - the blood and the guts are gonna make you swoon. You got yer dead skunk,,,,,,,,,
A list of dc's top five is buried somewhere on the 'Terrible Glory' thread. Worth noting. You won't get any better advice than Elizabeth and Gordie provide.
On a much more elementary level, there is one the I find very useful called The Custer Companion, by Thom Hatch. I don't care much for the occasional opinions he offers, but the book is packed with references to all and sundry like limited rosters of all battles, brief bios of almost all of those ever connected to the 7th and bibliographies that refer to specific subjects. Very handy and affordable.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."....Will Rogers
Thank you for you input, it is greatly appreciated. With so much out there it is good to have a solid base from which to work. It has been my experience that many times we tend to place more credence to those entities which we are first exposed to and can make it hard to accept information gathered later. Thus my reason for seeking out your advice.
again thank you, please keep those recommendations coming.
Anyone here read "A Companion to Custer and the Little Bighorn Campaign" by/compiled by Brad Lookingbill? It looks like a neat little book, which tries to summarize the Battle through presenting the most common views and theories presented by others. In other Words nothing for scholars, but seems like a good starting point for anyone who finds the volume of work regarding the Battle a little overwhelming.