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Custer Survivor
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About the Author

John Koster is known for his thorough knowledge of Native American history which has been translated into German, Czech, Russian and Japanese.

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Library Journal Nov.1, 2009

Over the years there have been a number of claims of survivors of Custer's battalion at the Little Bighorn in 1876, but none has held up under close scrutiny--until now. Journalist Koster (The Road to Wounded Knee) carefully reconstructs the life of Frank Finkel, second sergeant of C Company. He marshals all of the available documentary, historical, archaeological, and forensic evidence, to show that the Frank Finckel born in Ohio in 1854 was the George August Finckle who enlisted in the Seventh Cavalry in 1872, the Frank Finkel who died in Dayton, WA, in 1930, and the "long sword" whom Rain-in-the-Face reported being told escaped the battle on a runaway horse and whom he saw in Chicago in 1893. Koster also tells how Finkel's desire to enhance his status and his second wife's efforts to erase all traces of his first wife, supposedly part Cherokee, misled researchers for decades but also kept Finkel's story alive. VERDICT This well-written and carefully reasoned argument is essential reading for scholars and students of the West and will be of great interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Custer and the Little Bighorn. Highly recommended.--Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., MarquetteMidwest Book Review, December 12, 20095.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking addition to American history shelves,


Custer Survivor: The End of a Myth, the Beginning of a Legend dares to challenge the long-standing historical assumption that the 210 troopers under Custer's command were exterminated to the last man. Drawing up extensive research and forensic evidence, Custer Survivor reveals the untold tale of one trooper who escaped, the Second Sergeant of C Company. Following his ordeal after his escape and the successful life he pursued thereafter, Custer Survivor is a thought-provoking addition to American history shelves with a focus on intense historical scrutiny and re-examination.

Over the years there have been a number of claims of survivors of Custer's battalion at the Little Bighorn in 1876, but none has held up under close scrutiny--until now. Journalist Koster (The Road to Wounded Knee) carefully reconstructs the life of Frank Finkel, second sergeant of C Company. He marshals all of the available documentary, historical, archaeological, and forensic evidence to show that the Frank Finckel born in Ohio in 1854 was the George August Finckle who enlisted in the Seventh Cavalry in 1872, the Frank Finkel who died in Dayton, WA, in 1930, and the "long sword" whom Rain-in-the-Face reported being told escaped the battle on a runaway horse and whom he saw in Chicago in 1893. Koster also tells how Finkel's desire to enhance his status and his second wife's efforts to erase all traces of his first wife, supposedly part Cherokee, misled researchers for decades but also kept Finkel's story alive. VERDICT This well-written and carefully reasoned argument is essential reading for scholars and students of the West and will be of great interest to anyone with even a passing interest in Custer and the Little Bighorn. Highly recommended.--Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette-- Library Journal, 11/1/2009My good friend John - Stories of "escapees" from the Little Big Horn Battlefield have been numerous over the years out here in Lakota country. This would

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