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Though he will be forever famous as the big loser of Little Big Horn, George Custer enjoyed a stellar military career in the years before the Indian wars: Today, many historians judge him the best cavalry officer in the Union Army, whose fearless field exploits helped the North secure the Shenandoah Valley. In Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer, author

Jeffry D. Wert uses newly discovered documents for the first Custer biography in four decades, shedding light on the love story of Custer and his wife Libbie Bacon, who mourned after his death, “To lose him would be to close the windows of life that let in the sunshine.” Wert, apparently courageous himself in the face of controversy, is also author of General James Longstreet: The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier, but it’s his new book he discusses at noon at National Archives Theater, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 501-5000. (ED)