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0316098442The Return of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. Boston. 1999. Little Brown.  432 pages. Jacket design by Leslie Goldman. 0316098442. 

FROM THE PUBLISHER –

In 1964, LITTLE BIG MAN gave us the reminiscences of Jack Crabb - a white orphan raised among the Cheyenne - who returns to ‘civilized’ society, where (among other things) he tangles with Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok, and ends up as the only white survivor of Custer’s Last Stand Now in The Return of Little Big Man, the sequel to that bestselling literary classic, Jack Crabb, the foremost chronicler of the American West, continues his fabulous adventures. At the end of LITTLE BIG MAN, Jack’s supposed death at age 111 cut short his tale. A Newly discovered manuscript, however, reveals that Jack had faked his death to get out Of his publishing contract, and he now picks up the story of his extraordinary action-packed life. Back in the saddle again, Jack gives a blow-by-blow eyewitness account of the assassination of Wild Bill Hickok, and reveals what really happened at the O.K. Corral. He meets, shoots, drinks, and rides with Bat Masterson, Annie Oakley, Doc Holliday, and dozens of ordinary Western folk: teachers, bargirls, saloon owners, cowboys, trappers, and gunslingers. Jack even travels to Europe with Buffalo Bill Cody in his Wild West show, where he is embraced by Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. And in a gut-wrenching final, Jack witnesses the murder of one of America’s greatest heroes – Sitting Bull. As in LITTLE BIG MAN, Thomas Berger’s meticulous research enriches his story with authenticity and historical accuracy. THE RETURN OF LITTLE BIG MAN is an astonishing literary achievement and a rollicking good read.

Berger Thomas

Born July 20, 1924

Thomas Louis Berger (July 20, 1924 – July 13, 2014) was an American novelist. Probably best known for his picaresque novel Little Big Man and the subsequent film by Arthur Penn, Berger explored and manipulated many genres of fiction throughout his career, including the crime novel, the hard-boiled detective story, science fiction, the utopian novel, plus re-workings of classical mythology, Arthurian legend, and the survival adventure. Berger's biting wit led many reviewers to refer to him as a satirist or "comic" novelist, descriptions he preferred to reject. His admirers often bemoaned that his talent and achievement were under-appreciated, in view of his versatility across many forms of fiction, his precise use of language, and his probing intelligence. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thomas Berger grew up in the nearby community of Lockland. He interrupted his college career to enlist in the United States Army in 1943. Berger served in Europe, and was stationed with a medical unit in the first U.S. Occupation Forces in Berlin, experiences which later provided him with background for his first novel, Crazy in Berlin, published in 1958. On his return, he studied at the University of Cincinnati, receiving a B.A. in 1948. He then pursued graduate work in English at Columbia University, leaving his thesis unfinished to enroll in the writers workshop at the New School for Social Research. Here Berger met and married an artist, Jeanne Redpath, in 1950. He supported himself during this time by working as a librarian at the Rand School of Social Science, and was briefly on staff at the New York Times Index. Berger later became a copy editor at Popular Science Monthly, and performed free-lance editing during the early years of his writing career. Eventually, Berger was able to devote himself to writing full-time, particularly after the notoriety gained by his third book, Little Big Man, in 1964. Although he would occasionally put his hand to a short story, a play, or non-fiction article (including a stint as film critic for Esquire), Berger preferred the long narrative form of the novel, and produced a steady run of critically acclaimed books throughout his career. In 1984 his book The Feud was nominated by the Pulitzer committee for fiction for the Pulitzer Prize, but the Pulitzer board overrode their recommendation and instead chose William Kennedy's Ironweed. In 1974, Berger was a writer in residence at the University of Kansas, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Southampton College, in 1975–76. He lectured at Yale University in 1981 and 1982, and was a Regents' Lecturer at the University of California, Davis, in 1982. A collection of his papers is available at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University. Berger resided in New York City from 1948 to 1953, and lived the next twelve years in a town on the Hudson River. In subsequent years, he lived in London, Malibu, California, New York City again, Long Island, and then Mount Desert Island in Maine, before once more returning to the banks of the Hudson. He died on July 13, 2014, seven days before his 90th birthday.

 


 

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