“The truth is always made up of little particulars which sound ridiculous when repeated.”So says Jack Crabb, the 111-year-old narrator of Thomas Berger’s 1964 masterpiece of American fiction,Little Big Man. Berger claimed the Western as serious literature with this savage and epic account of one man’s extraordinary double life.
After surviving the massacre of his pioneer family, ten-year-old Jack is adopted by an Indian chief who nicknames him Little Big Man. As a Cheyenne, he feasts on dog, loves four wives, and sees his people butchered by horse soldiers commanded by General George Armstrong Custer. Later, living as a white man once more, he hunts the buffalo to near-extinction, tangles with Wyatt Earp, cheats Wild Bill Hickok, and fights in the Battle of Little Bighorn alongside Custer himself—a man he’d sworn to kill. Hailed by The Nation as “a seminal event,” Little Big Man is a singular literary achievement that, like its hero, only gets better with age.