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5.0 von 5 Sternen Worth the wait
36 years is an astonishingly long time for a sequel, and there are siginificant differences between Berger's 1964 original (which inspired a movie of the same name, starring a young Dustin Hoffman) and the Return. The Return of Little Big Man, as entertainment, is as entertaining as the original: what I am concerned about here is situating the two books in MODERN...
Veröffentlicht am 3. Mai 2000 von Edward G. Nilges

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Cookie Cutter
Jack Crabb returns from the dead a more boring person than when he left us last, lo these many years ago.
Instead of an intriguing, humorous historical novel of the post-Little-Big-Horn West wehave a formulaic series of anecdotes about the big names such as Wild Bill, Wyatt Erp and Buffalo Bill.
Predictably, all of the success of these characters is due to Jack...
Veröffentlicht am 4. Mai 2000 von GEORGE R. FISHER


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3.0 von 5 Sternen Cookie Cutter, 4. Mai 2000
Von 
Jack Crabb returns from the dead a more boring person than when he left us last, lo these many years ago.
Instead of an intriguing, humorous historical novel of the post-Little-Big-Horn West wehave a formulaic series of anecdotes about the big names such as Wild Bill, Wyatt Erp and Buffalo Bill.
Predictably, all of the success of these characters is due to Jack Crabb's intervention and after several hundred pages, enough is enough. Very little new information can be found and the settings requires a suspension of disbelief that becomes unwilling after a few days.
In a world full of books, this oneisn't particularly bad but there are so many good ones you won't otherwise get to if you start this one that I advise you not to do so.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Worth the wait, 3. Mai 2000
36 years is an astonishingly long time for a sequel, and there are siginificant differences between Berger's 1964 original (which inspired a movie of the same name, starring a young Dustin Hoffman) and the Return. The Return of Little Big Man, as entertainment, is as entertaining as the original: what I am concerned about here is situating the two books in MODERN American history, and a flaw in character development.
Although historical romance can be a good guide to real history (and George MacDonald Fraser, whose Flashman series bears more than a passing resemblance to Lttle Big Man, has pointed this out in Fraser's Hollywood History of the World), it is in a sense impossible to extricate the historical romance from its own time.
The original book and the movie appeared at a time, the 1960s, in which the American story of the frontier was undergoing a rapid change as a consequence of the Vietnam war. In a sense, our adventure in Vietnam was a continuation of our Western adventures which attempted to transfer Manifest Destiny across a rather large ocean...and which failed.
There are echoes of these concerns in the book and the movie Little Big Man (which came out about 1969) made a conscious comparision of our Western policies with our Vietnam policies.
Thirty years on and partly as a consequence of the many social changes that occured in the 1960s, a sort of Victorianism has returned to the USA: for one thing, sheer hypocrisy is no longer laughed out of court...as evidenced by the Starr investigation of Clinton.
As a result, Berger's latter-day Jack Crabbe, the "sole white survivor of the Battle of Little Bighorn", is a different persona than the picaresque individual of the first book [parenthetically, and judging from Berger's first novel, George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman and the Redskins" and many other works, Greasy Grass was quite crowded with white survivors. Apparently there were dozens of unaccounted scouts, 'breeds, British officers, mad bishops and perhaps a German band present at the battle :-).]
A "picaresque" novel, which the original novel was and the sequel isn't, is at least supposed to be the comic adventures of a character of lower morals than ours. Fraser carries this off quite nicely in Flashman, and has an attractive breeziness with regards to his character (the bully of the 19th century book by Thomas Arnold who in Fraser goes on to be present at most military disasters of the 19th century British empire.)
Fraser does not judge Flash Harry and Flash Harry, speaking through Fraser, does not try to be better than he is. Flashy honestly loves, lusts, and sees the dawn "come up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay."
But the latter-day Jack Crabbe seems to strain away from the Wild West towards something finer and to at one and the same time want a more gilded and virtuous existence...yet betray himself at the critical point.
The original Jack Crabbe "knowed Custer for what he wuz" and knew hisself for what he wuz. The latter day Jack Crabbe is much more ambivalent about his existence on the frontier and somewhat contemptuous of men like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. He judges them harshly, when he himself gets drunk in New York when he thinks his inamarota (Amanda Teasdale, a defender of the Indians and a precursor of the Politically Correct) has gotten married.
I cannot tell Mr Berger, who has written an excellent and entertaining book, how to build a character. But I do notice that whereas the first Jack Crabbe reserved his judgement for societies that exterminated the native peoples of this continent, the latter day Crabbe tends more to judge people. This is less an artistic flaw than an indication of how America has changed from 1964 to 1999. It does deprive us of the pleasure and scandal of the picaresque, and, in Victorian terms, The Return of Little Big Man is less titillating and more of an Improving Moral Tale.
I am old enough to have lived in certain dying embers of the Victorian age: my grandparent's parlor was in that style. This is probably why I am titillated by the picaresque in the first place. To relate to Flash Harry, one has to have, like Clinton and I, scuttled for cover during the Vietnam war. Berger's first novel constructed, in the figure of the Hehmaneh, an alternative to the modal midcentury American male. Nowadays, absent the military draft, this is probably not as attractive to younger readers...and it seems that Berger is at pains to tell us in this book that the Hehmaneh were uncommon, and to have Jack Crabbe be positively contemptuous of "queeries" (Crabbe's hilarious mispronunciation of the Prince of Wales' "equerries") who Jack thinks are tutti-fruity. Here there is a shift back to intolerance.
It is my view that a novelist, if the novelist is constructing a non-picaresque role model character, should not in any way have that character, at the end of the day, have unattractive personal traits...but Crabbe's limitations are just these. Shakespeare's Hamlet says, use every man according to his deserts, and none of us should 'scape whipping...not Flash Harry, nor Wyatt Earp. In the great desert of American fiction, in which unattractive-but-cool characters are more or less force fed to the reader (as in the unspeakable Tom Wolfe) one does look in vain for Flashman, or Hamlet, or even Captain Ahab.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Myths and realities, 2. April 2000
Von 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Even in this technological age, North America frontier mythology remains strong. Star Trek, that manifestly American idea, proclaimed space as the 'final frontier'. As Berger states, the North American frontier experience was unique and permeated popular thinking. No other culture has so staunchly believed in the ideal of expansion into 'empty lands' and 'development' of physical resources. However, as Berger's two part story of Jack Crabb reminds us, the land wasn't empty. An indigenous population vainly resisted European encroachment for over two centuries. Failure to hold their territory left them scornfully dismissed as 'backward'. Film, radio, books and finally, television combined in reinforcing the image of 'savages' being replaced by triumphant civilization.
Berger's Little Big Man probably did more to disabuse the North American public of its misconceptions of Native Americans than any other single work. Assigning this book to students in the 1960's resulted in shock and not infrequently, resentment, at the distruction of closely held myths. Berger's depiction of the Cheyenne made them truly 'human beings', not hostile savages. The Washita and Sand Creek massacres were big news to students of the '60s who ardently believed Indians 'got what they deserved' after the Little Big Horn.
The Return of Little Big Man takes us beyond the slaughter at the Greasy Grass [Little Big Horn] into that era when North America was realizing the frontier was closing. With the Indians driven to reservations or into Canada, Jack finds himself moving through such notorious sites as Dodge City, Deadwood and Tombstone. Berger uses Crabb's wanderings to move the focus from Native Americans to the 'gunslingers' and opportunists who provided the foundation of the frontier myth. Crabb encounters Hickock, Cody, the Earps and others any North American will readily identify. Skillfully keeping Crabb merely an observer of the Western scene, Berger's careful research begins to peel the patina of sanctity held by these figures for several generations. He condemns none, but paints them in more realistic hues, even modifying his earlier opinion of Custer.
Berger employs Cody's Wild West show as a vehicle for broadening Crabb's views of people and places. In an era when noveau riche Americans were taking Grand Tours of Europe, the show paralleled those journeys while introducing an image of frontier life. The validity of the image is irrelevant, the show was a huge success. Crabb acts to typify American attitudes about Europeans. Berger adds the Sioux for still another viewpoint, and the visit with the Pope is a high point of the book. This aspect alone should give this book greater appeal with readers in Europe. More to the point, these same readers may finally glean a clearer knowledge of the North American frontier. The judas kiss given the Native Americans by Hollywood and television will not be an easy stigma to erase without extensive research. Clearly, Berger has done the research, presenting the results in his usual lively manner.
There is no doubt that The Return of Little Big Man fails to equal the novelty value of the first volume of Crabb's biography. While the Sioux somewhat replace the Cheyenne of the earlier work, clearly their life has been changed by the closing of the frontier. The episode of Sitting Bull points up many facets of these changes. The focus on legendary white figures of the post-Civil War era is extensive. While a good background in frontier history enhances the reading of the story, it isn't a requirement. The story of Jack Crabb stands quite alone in itself.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Berger sets to mending the tattered reputatio of sequels, 2. November 1999
Von Ein Kunde
In Twain's footsteps
Critics tend to gush over Thomas Berger. He's been called the new Mark Twain. One of the most important writers of this century. Read "The Return of Little Big Man." You'll understand why. In his latest work, the author of 20 novels returns to the story of Little Big Man (a.k.a. Jack Crabb). We first met Crabb in 1964 in the original "Little Big Man." Thirty-five years later, Berger reprises the character in an effort that brings honor to the tattered reputation of sequels. Again, Crabb, who's well past his 100th year, is reminiscing about his life in the Old West. And an adventurous life it is. In many respects, he is the Forrest Gump of his time. Despite being a lowly bartender, his path continually crosses the biggest names in the West: Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickock, Annie Oakley, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Sitting Bull and, for good measure, the Pope and the Queen of England. The result is a personalized, everyman's perspective of the era's legends. The plot is delivered in a series of encounters with such notables. But where Berger truly shines is in Crabb's observations on life. He speaks in the rich, unlettered voice of another time - hence the Twain comparisons. Yet he manages to be insightful, educational and disarmingly funny all at once. Crabb bounds about the West, busting myths, telling tall tales and offering eccentric commentary on the period. This is fiction at its best. Don't let the Western theme put you off. Berger ably meshes biography with comedy, love stories with history, without any one element pushing another away. Best of all, you'll get to see Berger, one of the great craftsmen of our time, at work.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent, but not Berger's best, and requires brainpower, 2. Oktober 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Thomas Berger is versatile and brilliant. He has written many wonderful books, starting with "Arthur Rex," one of the Arthurian cycle books to be recommended to those who love that. "Robert Crews" was a take-off of "Robinson Crusoe" and of course, "Little Big Man" was one of his all-time greats.
This book is written for VERY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE. If you do not have a great grasp of history, you are not going to be able to truly appreciate the book. On the other hand, for those who do know a lot about world events during the period this book covers, there are delightful nuggets to be found everywhere. For example, near the end of the book, at the Chicago World's Fair, our protagonist meets a guy who says he will be the one who builds a "horseless carriage," but then says something which is disturbing to Jack Crabb, about his "worry that his work on the horseless carriage might be stole by an international conspiracy...trying to take over the world." You have to be aware of a lot to GET a lot of this book.
One more thing: this book made me want to read "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." What that means, only those who read the book will know.
It's good, it's good, but 3 stars is fine, because there are SO many other truly GREAT books out there. Keep reading!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen This was a welcome, funny sequel, more upbeat than expected., 7. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Jack Crabb, did not, after all, die miserably in an old folks' home after describing the death of his father-figure, Old Lodge Skins, to a sissy interviewer. Crabb lived on to relate the story of the next fifteen or so years of his life. He had a lot still to get off his chest--or Berger did. He continues musing over the gulf of misunderstanding apparently inevitable whenever race meets race or man meets woman. But in addition, we get the chance to hear him out on other topics--Catholicism, the French, women's rights and Queen Victoria, to name a few. I was afraid this book would be a downhill ride, both because I enjoyed LITTLE BIG MAN so much, and because the fate of the Indians involved was a foregone, depressing conclusion. There are sad bits, notably the murder of Sitting Bull and his son. However, this book surprised me, and I turned heads in public a few times by laughing out loud while reading it. Berger leaves Crabb in as happy a state as one can imagine him. This relieved me of a years-old sadness for the old codger, for I liked him a lot, and like him more now.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Too many words, 19. Mai 1999
Von Ein Kunde
I read "Little Big Man" years ago and adored it. My boss at the time said "Why don't you just see the movie". Well, sure I did but books you can carry around. However, this book didn't appeal to me as much. I read only to the part where Ed Masterson died. Maybe it was because it was a big heavy book and the print was small, but the historical stuff was a bit much as was the speech pattern of Jack Crabb. I've read too many historical accounts to appreciate JC's version of history. Maybe I'll give this book another whirl when I can carry it on my camping trip and read it beside a crackling fire. Otherwise, I think it's a fine book and great for anyone who hates dull historical facts (like me - ha, ha). After all, it was Little Big Man who was responsible for killing my hero "Crazy Horse". That's the true historical fact, and if you want to read a truly great book about him there's "Crazy Horse" by Maria Sandoz.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Berger Rides Again, 11. Juli 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Return of Little Big Man is not as good as Little Big Man, but since Little Big Man easily ranks among the ten greatest American novels ever written, that is not strong criticism. RLBM is a bit too long - it drags somewhat between the point at which Jack Crabb joins Buffalo Bill and the point at which he witnesses Sitting Bull's death. But otherwise it is superior in every way.
There is a change of focus here. Unlike LBM, RLBM is less a revisionist history of the Old West and has changed its focus to the encroaching Twentieth Century. Best of all, it introduces a romantic element in the form of Amanda Teasdale, who will surely prove a match for Jack Crabb. The author promises additional installments of Crabb's life. I look forward to them. I wish he'd produce a nonfiction companion volume (or footnotes a la Flashman) so the reader could determine what is fact and what is fancy.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A sequel worth waiting for!, 27. Juli 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Jack Crabb. Just call him the "Forest Gump" of the Old West. Who else, but Jack Crabb, can say that they have met Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Kate Elder, Buffalo Bill, Wyatt Earp, Henry Ford, Annie Oakley, and Queen Victoria? Who else, but Jack Crabb, can say that they have traveled to New Orleans, Chicago, New York, London, and Paris as a part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show? Who else, but Jack Crabb, can say that they witnessed the shootout at the O.K. Corral and the deaths of Wild Bill Hickock and Sitting Bull?
Jack Crabb is alive and well in Thomas Berger's sequel to Little Big Man. The only white man to survive Little Big Horn picks up his story where the last book left off . . . and what a story it is! An excellent book! My only question is why did Berger wait so long to write a sequel?
Let's hope the third installment of Little Big Man comes much sooner!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Readers should be eager to read this sequel., 30. Oktober 1998
Thomas Berger's LITTLE BIG MAN (1964) was one of the great American novels of the 1960s--indeed, it's probably one of the great American novels of the twentieth century. It is the putative memoirs of Jack Crabb, who--many years later--would have us believe that he, traveling west in a covered wagon with his family, survived an attack by the Cheyenne, was adopted into their tribe, returned to "civilization," and survived both a gunfight with Wild Bill Hickok and the Battle of the Little Bighorn--and all sorts of other wackiness in between. The novel is funny, wise, sad, surreal, and wonderful. Readers who know the story only through the inadequate and incomplete film with young Dustin Hoffman should scurry to the local library and check out LBM (before the rush that publication of a sequel will surely engender)--or order a copy online
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