From the Civil War’s Boy General to the Battle of the Little Bighorn

Ted Behncke, Gary Bloomfield

A new whole-life biography of Custer that deals with his personal history as well as his military career.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Illustration :
b/w illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612008899
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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A new whole-life biography of Custer that deals with his personal history as well as his military career.

The reader is introduced to a little-known side of Custer—a deeply personal side. George Custer grew up in an expanding young country and his early influences mirrored the times. Two aspects of this era dominate most works about him: the Civil War, and the war with the Indians, culminating in his death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. When mentioned, if at all, his early life and years as a cadet at West Point are brief, and then only enough to set some background for discussion of the mystery of the Little Bighorn. This is the first Custer biography to focus on these lesser-known parts of his life in great detail.

The approach uses all of Custer’s known writings: letters; magazine articles; his book, My Life on the Plains; and his unfinished memoirs of the Civil War; along with materials and books by his wife, Elizabeth Custer; and reflections of others who knew him well.

The five chapters are Early Life (growing up and as a West Point cadet), The Civil War, The Indian Fighter, The Little Bighorn, and Conclusion. The theme of the book is not so much new historical information but the depth of his character development and lesser-known influences of his life. Custer draws together these elements in a succinct and accessible read.

The book also includes illustrations (primarily from Harper’s Weekly) and photos, such as Matthew Brady’s Civil War collection, to accompany the text.

About The Author

Ted Behncke is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel having served 30 years in varied command and staff positions across the globe. He comes from a military family that saw distinguished service in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII and service during nearly every major conflict to the present.

While serving in the Army, he commanded an infantry rifle company in the 17th Infantry Regiment – the same regiment that had two companies in the Little Bighorn Campaign. He was a training instructor and has a thorough knowledge of cavalry tactics and campaigns, including those from the Civil War and the Indian Wars.

Stationed at both historic Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas he gained hands-on knowledge of the Custer residences, the weapons and accoutrements used by cavalry soldiers in the 1800s and retraced the routes of the 7th Cavalry campaign against the Plains Indians. This included leading fellow Army officers and NCOS to the Little Bighorn battlefield and discussing the movements of both opposing forces.

He has written numerous military papers and book reviews, including the prestigious Military Review, the Professional Journal of the U.S. Army.

Gary Bloomfield is a former Army Journalist of the Year, and managing editor for VFW magazine. He was the senior editor for the two-volume illustrated series on WWII titled Faces of Victory. He wrote Duty, Honor, Victory: America’s Athletes in WWII followed by Duty, Honor, Applause: America’s Entertainers in WWII which he co-wrote. His other books include Maxims of General Patton, the citizenship study guide, I Will be an American Someday Soon, illustrated bios on George Patton and Mark Twain (the latter co-written). He completed The Devil’s Playground, about the Korean DMZ, in the Summer of 2019, and The One, a compilation of stories from military doctors and nurses, published in the Spring of 2020.


1. Early Years
2. The Civil War
3. The Indian Fighter
4. The Little Bighorn
5. Conclusion


"Ted Behncke and Gary Bloomfield remain faithful to the facts and enable the reader to better grasp the man as he was and the one he envisioned. Custer’s personalities, beliefs and actions, or lack thereof, weave through each chapter, amid a lively and readable writing style that interlaces quotes and sources within the text."

- Roundup Magazine

"This is a book worthy of review and discussion by maneuver commanders. The lessons brought forth regarding cultural differences, appreciation of enemy capabilities, force structure and political guidance are well covered."

- ARMOR Magazine

"Co-authors Ted Behncke and Gary Bloomfield have created a revealing portrait of a complex soldier and his date with destiny."

- Toy Soldier Collector & Historical Figures

"Behncke and Bloomfield reveal deep emotional and physical scars that Custer carried away from the Civil War and the Indian Wars. Their meticulous research and engrossing writing bring Custer to vivid life, particularly in his relationship with his wife Libby."

- The NYMAS Review

"Exceptional in comprehensiveness and presentation..."

- Midwest Book Review

"Their story is told here in a most exciting and interesting way. It is very hard to put down."

- Old Barbed Wire

"This meticulous and engrossing history brings the George Armstrong Custer to vivid life especially his relationship with his wife Libby."

- David Marshall, President of the Miami Civil War Roundtable

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