This is the story of Major Marcus Reno of the 7th Cavalry and of the role ""he failed to play"" in Custer's massacre at Little Big Horn. This is the third Custer book in little over a year, including Thomas Berger's Little Big Man, Mari Sandoz' The Battle of Little Bighorn. Miss Sandoz agrees with the present book, that Reno probably was drinking but that he could hold it; she gave a considerably less savage picture of Custer, whose psychotic behavior she soft-pedaled. Reno and Custer had been friendly officers during the Civil War, but the ""boy general's"" enemies maligned Reno for that friendship. Later, when they were reunited in the far West in the Indian wars, Custer was in deep trouble with his superiors. He saw his vendetta against the Indians as a personal carpet to the resolution of his problems by sweeping himself into national glory. Thus at Little Big Horn, Custer split his forces and himself deserted Major Reno to a disastrous encounter which he, Custer, failed to alleviate. Afterwards, Mrs. Custer viciously attacked Reno in print as a poor officer and prepared the way for his court martial. Reno's final tragedy sprang essentially from the malice of women and the stupidity of politicians. Pilloried, he died broken. This book grinds its axe exceedingly sharp and with indignation.