Cover Image: The Summer of 1876

The Summer of 1876

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Member Reviews

If you like Yellowstone or the prequels 1883 or 1923 this book is for you! I love history and this perfectly weaved the historic events of the year.
This would make a phenomenal Christmas gift for the history lover in your life!
Thank you #StMartinsPress and #NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
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Travel back in time to 1876.  I didn’t know that so many events occurred at this time.  The centerpiece is the events leading to Custer’s last stand with surrounding stories of Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Jesse James and the start of baseball.  

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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So many things happened in the summer of 1876! This is a great look at a lot of historical events and people you have probably heard of but didn't realize were chronologically so close together. About half focuses on the Battle of Little Big Horn and the rest hits on Jesse James, the birth of the National Baseball League, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and more. I honestly had no clue all of these things happened around the same time. Informtative and interesting!
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The events in history of the year 1876 have always drawn my interest and have read many other books about the characters in this novel. Wimmer does an excellent job of weaving the lives of General George Custer, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok and Jessie James together in an easy to read and understand manner that really keeps the pages turning. 
This book is well researched and is presented in great detail.
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This was an unfortunate miss for me. 

Some reasons why:

- The stories feel disconnected and choppy.
- The writing is high on facts and low on engagement.
- I didn't understand the point of the baseball information at the end of the chapters. Baseball had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this, aside from it began in 1876.

I love history, but I was bored.

DNF at 40%
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The year 1876 is thronged with towering figures in the mythos of the Old West. Many of us have known these legendary folks forever — drivers of schoolyard chatter, titans of movies and the small screen, and maybe a daydream or two. In The Summer of 1876, Chris Wimmer reanimates the lot of them: Indian fighters, buffalo hunters, marshals, gunslingers, desperados, cavalrymen, bank robbers, saloonkeepers, cowgirls, and the odd actress or prostitute.

Of course, there’s a difference between free-range imaginings and faithful history. This book lies squarely in the latter category, sticking to the facts and stripping away the filmic sheen that dream-makers like John Ford and Howard Hawks so brilliantly imparted. It’s an engaging, thoroughly rewarding read on its own terms, lean as a greyhound, a swift slice to the bone of resonant truth.

The bloody defeat of George Armstrong Custer — the unintended outcome of the bluecoats’ persecution of the tribes of South Dakota and Montana — looms large in this account. Wimmer’s Custer is no Errol Flynn — no smiley paragon of gleaming insouciance — nor is he the self-absorbed poseur that some latter-day historians seem to have decided on. This author depicts him sparely, and maybe a little sparingly. Still, his Custer comes across as haughty, impulsive, and bent on harvesting glory via the savage pillage of his adversaries.

Wimmer doesn’t traffic much in historical analysis, but even so, the shameful realities leading to Little Big Horn leap out. One is General Philip Sheridan’s determination to suppress the native insurgents at any cost, including extermination. Another: the discovery of tantalizing gold deposits in the Black Hills, a sprawling expanse granted in perpetuity to the Sioux nation under an 1868 treaty. As white prospectors swarmed into South Dakota with yee-hawing alacrity, the paperwork supporting this agreement must have crumbled to dust in President Grant’s file cabinet. Writes Wimmer:

“Later estimates said that miners pulled more than a million dollars of gold out of the ground per month…Newspapers began calling the Black Hills the ‘richest 100 square miles on earth,’ and saloon operators and savvy gamblers could get rich nearly as quickly as miners who struck it lucky.”

The author’s recounting of the slow-burn, week-by-week run-up to the massacre pays off. But The Summer of 1876 is studded with other engrossing moments, too. The names of the key players are familiar: Earp, Masterson, Hickok, the James boys, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane. Quite the crowd.

Take the fascinating, ever self-promoting Calamity Jane, born Martha Jane Canary. Looking back on her life, she declared herself, among other things, a daredevil, a professional wagoner, a teamster, an Army scout on the periphery of Custer’s last stand, and the side-piece of the married Wild Bill Hickok. Wimmer pooh-poohs each of these George Santos-level whoppers but — as if in seamy compensation — offers that Calamity was almost certainly a cross-dresser and an off-and-on prostitute. Yes, legend is a cruel mistress, but irony’s a real bitch.

Then again, a ways along on the space-time continuum in the mid-1950s, Calamity is resurrected in a mellifluous Technicolor portrayal by Doris Day. No frontier slattern, Day’s Jane does a bit of plot-serving cross-dressing early on but, heaven forfend, never works the sheets. And when the real Calamity dies, in 1903, they bury her elbow-to-elbow with Hickok. Yup, pardner, there’s that irony thing again — with a lick of lightly earned credulity, to boot.

Wimmer recounts at least one quaintly fascinating anecdote that seems to have escaped notice in the roaring cataract of celebrity legend: Wyatt Earp, while a stalwart upholder of gun-barrel justice, might well have preferred fisticuffs to more deadly violence. In the interest of preemptively safeguarding civic order, he regularly challenged and thrashed the stuffing out of Dodge City bad guys in efficient, one-on-one street fights. How did John Ford, Henry Fonda, and their screenwriters miss that nugget?

The compact The Summer of 1876, crafted with marvelous subtlety and economy, should equip you with a treasury of comparable factoids. There’s a refreshing, unadorned authenticity in Chris Wimmer’s take on the goings-on in this watershed year.
The compact The Summer of 1876, crafted with marvelous subtlety and economy, should equip you with a treasury of comparable factoids. There’s a refreshing, unadorned authenticity in Chris Wimmer’s take on the goings-on in this watershed year.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for the advanced copy of this book that gives a glimpse into an exciting time 8n our country’s history.  While a majority of the book looked in depth at the events that led up to Custer’s last stand at Little Big Horn, it was also filled with stories of the Cole-Younger gang, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp (and more) and even the beginnings of baseball.  What an exciting year it was!  I enjoyed every bit of this book and am an avid reader of old west tales.  None have held my interest cover to cover like this one!  Highly recommended to anyone who loves to read about American history.  Chris Wimmer’s writing style was full of emotion and seemingly well researched.   A definite must and I look forward to more from this author!
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The author does a great job of  intertwining the timelines of these men, showcasing the interconnected nature of their stories and emphasizing the historical importance of that particular summer. It also incorporates significant milestones from 1876, such as the inaugural season of the National League in baseball, the tumultuous final year of President Ulysses S. Grant's administration, the introduction of Alexander Graham Bell's revolutionary invention, the telephone, and the publication of Mark Twain's beloved novel, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," among others.

I suggest this book for individuals with an interest in Native American history, the Old West, or history as a whole. It offers a captivating narrative that transports readers to an era dominated by gunslingers, outlaws, and baseball players. It is an engaging read that immerses you in a bygone era.
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Thanks to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in return for my honest review.

Talk about a rip-snorting book, this is it!!! What a wonderful job Chris Wimmer has done by transporting us back to the US Centennial year of 1876, and refreshing all our memories of all that happened that eventful summer. Wimmer gives us a great overview of all that happened that year, from the Centennial to Custer's Last stand, with personalities and details galore. The book never slows down, and one of the easiest to read non-fiction books I have had the pleasure of reading in years. In addition to the above, we also have a bit about the formation of the National League of Baseball Clubs, Western lawmen and celebrities such as Bat Masterson, Wild Bill Hickok, locations such as Dodge City and Deadwood; there are famous Native American chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, and even Buffalo Bill Cody gets into the act!
What makes this book so special is that Wimmer shows all the coincidences that occurred that year, and even how miscommunication resulted in both tragedy and inept failure. If you want to learn about Custer's Last stand Wimmer covers that in detail from all angles, and to me the best part of the book is the Northfield (MN) bank robbery involving the Jesse and Frank James, along with all the Younger Brothers (Cole, Bob & Jim). Wimmer gives us the stories behind so many of the names and legends. The authors passion for story-telling and the Old West shine through in this fast-paced book that is sure to be a hit for young and old. Can't think of a better way to be transported to that legendary period. Get y0ur spurs on, saddle up and get ready for a rip-snorting ride!!
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4 stars

The Summer of 1876 sure had a lot of events! Chris Wimmer weaves them all together in a timeline that makes it all click for me. Honestly, a lot of the book I had already heard through his podcast (literally could hear his voice as I was reading) but still really enjoyable. A lot of the book focuses on Custer and his movements but that’s understandable given the impact it had. 

Good book and an easy read.
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Who ever said that history is boring hasn't read about the events of the summer of 1876. If this does not get you excited to read more, and want to dive deeper into American history, I am sorry. This book was magnificently done, and hard to put down! I pulled a very late night, so that I could continue reading. Even though I knew what was coming (history is my jam), I had to keep reading, and read faster, as I was HOOKED!

From Custer, to restless natives (Native Americans today), westward expansion, murder, justice, and more - this book has something for everyone! Get ready for a book that will make you think twice about what the American West looked like - and what it could have been.
I will definitely be recommending this book to my students.
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A rollicking spin through a monumental year of American history.

Author Chris Wimmer takes us on a wild ride through America’s centennial of independence, from the Battle of Little Big Horn to bank robbers to baseball.

I liked the second half of the book better than the first, which focuses more on a notorious gang fleeing after a bank robbery. The first half is largely about General Custer and Little Big Horn. Both events are well rendered in Wimmer’s account, but detailed trips through a military operation really never do it for me, so I found the central topic in the second half of the book to be far more fun.

Wimmer does a lovely job of interspersing different events in 1876 throughout his central narrative, as well as clocking reactions to these events from different parts of the country. I could have done with far fewer details on troop movements and far more about baseball in the inaugural year of the National League, but this is a fun and informative romp through a wild year that reads like fiction.
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Wimmer isn’t trying to write a comprehensive history of the year 1876. Instead he focused on a sliver of time in the late 19th century that saw a lot of action. He weaves the frontier fighting, vigilante justice, and the wars with the Native Americans framed within the context of the growing passion for baseball.
He gives a straight forward rendition of the Battle of Little Bighorn that spells out in grisly terms what occurred. He gives accounts of the outlaws and famous legends of the west.
It’s an interesting read. For anyone who wants a fast read in to the pie piece of 1876, the centennial year, this is the book for you.
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The title of this book is the summer of 1876 but it actually covers most of the year from custards demotion to his murder and while big Hickox marriage and eventual death it’s so much more including the Indian rates in the fierce  battle with Sitting Bull, due to the American government once again retracting their promises of good faith. This book has a lot of famous people a lot of famous crimes and so much more it mainly follows the native American spite with the US government but includes everything an American history buff either knows or didn’t know they wanted to know. This is a great book and kudos to Chris Wimmer for the great idea. I love this book it was a total five star read in one any American history thing and would love to read and have in the library what more can I say this is a brilliant book and one I highly recommend. I received this book from NetGalley Ann Saint Martin’s press but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
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I had no idea the summer of 1876 was so full of history!  This book was full of famous names from the past, some I had read about, but most of them I had at least heard of before.

Custer’s battle at Little Bighorn makes up the meat of the story.  I learned quite a bit about Custer and the other soldiers who were part of the Indian wars.  Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse were just a few of the famous Native Americans that played a big part in the Indian battles.

While Custer is fighting with the Indians, there are many other things going on in America.  Gold has been discovered, some of which is on land granted to the Native Americans.  The cattle drives from Texas to Dodge City were getting popular in the west and Jess James and his gang of outlaws were out robbing banks and stagecoaches.  In the midst of all this, Baseball was becoming popular.

I had previously read about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, so I enjoyed their parts in the book.  I liked the stories about Jesse James and the Youngers.  The book covered so much I found interesting that I would love for the author to break this down and give readers a nonfiction book for each subject with even more detail.  Oh, but it’s okay with me if the author skips the baseball part.

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy.  This was a perfect Memorial Day read and I loved it.  I’m pleased to recommend this to other readers who love history.
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The Metropolitan Opera Company of New York City maintains a dedicated channel on a satellite radio company; this allows opera fans to hear recorded operas at scheduled times.  The operas are different lengths, naturally, so there is some amount of filler, much of it fun and very interesting. One of the most enjoyable of these spots will discuss the premiere of a particular opera, and then segue into "What was in the air?"  They bring in all sorts of things throughout the world which occurred close to the time of the premiere. I love it.

This excellent book reminded me of these segues.  The main emphasis of the book is, of course, Custer and the Battle, not massacre, of the Little Bighorn, also known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass, to Custer's Native opponents.  Of all the events of the busy summer of 1876, "Custer's Last Stand" was the most momentous, and the effects of it are felt down to the present day.  The author makes it clear that he is not writing  a comprehensive history of that summer, but rather concentrates on the main event while bringing in many other people and events,  such as the murder of Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood.  (I was in Deadwood a few summers ago and saw the saloon where it happened, very exciting.)

So much happened in the summer of 1876, and it was all so interesting.  Fortunately, Wimmer has provided his readers with a lovely bibliography for further reading and research.  His engaging style, mastery of the subject, and obvious affection for the period make this a terrific book, and I heartily recommend it.
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The Summer of 1876 was a season that defined the American West, filled with outlaws, lawmen, and legends. Chris Wimmer's book on this period is both brisk and exciting, providing a lively survey of the historical events and the figures that shaped them.

Wimmer's writing captures the essence of the Wild West, transporting readers back in time to witness the drama and danger that characterized this era. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the American West, as it provides a comprehensive overview of the key players and events that shaped this period.

Overall, Wimmer's book is a professional and engaging work that is sure to captivate readers. It is a testament to the author's skill as a writer and his passion for the subject matter. Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for an exciting read, The Summer of 1876 is a book that should not be missed."
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I was given an advance reading copy (arc) of this book by in return for a fair review. As I began to read this book, author Chris Wimmer made it clear that he was describing the many pivotal events that happened in 1876. It was not his intent to discuss any of them in minute detail. He felt that if the reader was interested, he/she would pursue the topics that intrigued them. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip back in time. It seems that the summer of 1876 housed a variety of adventures and misadventures that included Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn, the untimely murder of Wild Bill Hickock in Deadwood, as well as some interesting tidbits concerning the early days of baseball. Wimmer did a great job telling all of the many tales. I understand that Wimmer has a podcast about the Old West and his knowledge shines through as he brings to life many historic characters such as Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, General Custer, and Wild Bill Hickock. He is quite knowledgeable, and it shows in his work. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Native American history, the Old West, or history in general. A really good read that will take you back to a time when gunslingers, outlaws, and baseball players ruled!
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US-history, historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, history-and-culture, us-army, outlaws, nonfiction, law-enforcement, criminal-acts*****

Who knew that these important episodes in US history happened all within one summer?
No whitewashing of the actions of that egomaniac George Custer who was responsible for the deaths of his own men as well as a camp full of noncombatants in their own land. Then he moves on to aspects and facts of the various outlaws and lawmen who captured the headlines of the time (especially the Northfield Raid!).
All is put together and presented in very readable format for those of us who geek history to learn more.
I requested and received an EARC from St. Martin's Press vis NetGalley. Thank you
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The summer of 1876 was a key time period in the development of the mythology of the Old West.  Those individuals were Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Wild Bill Hickok, and Jesse James.  This book weaves all of the tales of these legends into one story in the Summer of 1876.  This is a unique view and a wonderful to put all of the stories into one wonderful tale.
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