Henry Weibert, 66 Years in Custer's Shadow Sept 12, 2014 17:49:22 GMT -5
Post by Mulligan on Sept 12, 2014 17:49:22 GMT -5
Yes, yes, I know the late Hank Weibert's wacky "Death of Custer" theory doesn't hold horse water on this board.
However, if we can move beyond his far-fetched and rather comical denouement regarding Mitch Bouyer and instead examine the structural elements of his book -- Sixty-Six Years in Custer's Shadow -- I think everyone might be surprised by the clever way he wove experiences from his lifetime on the Crow Agency into his story, and that these personal anecdotes, perhaps not fully appreciated at first glance, may illuminate the events of June 25, 1876.
I'm not going to list every instance in this post, but I will provide an example.
Weibert relates a brief story concerning an elk hunting trip that several senior tribal members had organized in the 1950's. Even though Weibert was a white rancher -- an outsider -- he was often invited on these Crow hunting parties because he was a business associate, a good cook, owned an assortment of well-maintained camping equipment, and was a decent shot.
As the trip begins there are a few evenings spent around the campfire re-telling hunting stories, which are familiar to all the participants. Of course, with each hunting season these same stories evolve and become exaggerated. With the consumption of some fine whiskey this occurs to an even greater degree.
During the day, Weibert prefers to hunt alone, away from the main group. One morning he hears the sounds of shooting across the snow-covered mountain valleys. Many, many shots ring out in succession, and he supposes that his friends have encountered a great herd of elk. On his own, solitary hunt Weibert works diligently, creeping in very close to the game before risking a shot. In the afternoon he is able to take down three elk using only three bullets.
Later, returning to camp, Weibert is surprised to learn that his NA friends -- who have expended several boxes of cartridges in the process -- have bagged only one elk.
So, in a page or two Mr. Weibert has spun a winter's tale. It is literary sleight-of-hand. Invisibly, without drawing any attention to his thesis, he has managed to:
1) describe the inclusive nature and expedient practicality of NA social culture
2) communicate what everyone knows to be true, that all stories of past glory become exaggerated in the re-telling
3) show that a focused individual may hunt with more efficiency than a less organized group
4) demonstrate that NAs do not necessarily hold an advantage on familiar terrain
5) present a clear impression of continuous gunfire heard from a distance
6) conclude that Marksmanship Ability and Fire Discipline will be the deciding factors in a hunt
This is a heck of lot of information being delivered to the reader at the unconscious level. It's one reason I feel Weibert's book has been underrated and overlooked -- unfairly relegated to the "other pile" of books -- by some Custer researchers.