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All Time Favorite Through The Years
am 21. Februar 2000
Like many others who reviewed this book, I first read it (in high school) after seeing the movie. The movie was a real eye opener for me, for the first time giving me a sense of Indians as real people, struggling to stay themselves and maintain their way of life against the relentless & overwhelming campaign of conquest, destruction & genocide by Whites. It inspired me to read this book, which I found to far surpass in richness, character development and detail what I had thought to be an excellent movie. After reading it the first time I think I read it annually for the next ten years, and several more times since. Each time it has moved me to laughter, anger, and without fail tears at the end. I can't begin to do it justice, even trying gives me "...a pain between my ears..." and some of the reader reviews have already done a fine job of describing it. There's just a couple of points I'd like to add. Jack Crabb has always reminded me Huckleberry Finn. Through close personnal experience, each character evolves in his understanding and appreciation of a race he'd been raised to believe inherently inferior to whites (Jack Crabb's rearing by Indians does not begin till his tenth year). Niether Jack nor Huck are saints who always "knew better". Along the way, both struggle with feelings of doubt, guilt & shame when they find themslves favoring the Indians or Blacks over Whites. Both think badly of themselves for doing so. Like Mark Twain, Thomas Berger puts us into the head of a White male who struggles with the conflict between his own experience and the stereotypes he'd been raised on and which shape the White society of his time. Both books are marvels of insight into human nature. "Little Big Man" goes further in brighing alive actual historical events Jack experiences first hand. Read the history book by Dee Brown, "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" to afirm how well Thomas Berger captured and related such notorius events as the Washita massacre and the Battle at the Little Big Horn. My other point to new readers is to be sure and read the Forward, which is actually part of the novel and provides valuable background and insight into Jack's character and wisdom. Enjoy.