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Customer Review

Tim Long - Author of Owl Man & Lakota Headhunters

5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon 

Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2024

BACK TO THE RED ROAD – THE HUNT FOR CRAZY HORSE’S WOMEN becomes at once ‘break-through’ research brought forth in Chandra Lahiri’s newest book. This text is a ‘Game-Changer’! Long have Western-History authors pondered how to make mention of Black Buffalo Woman and Black Shawl – Crazy Horse’s women – in their writings. Now, they will be able to, given Chandra Lahiri’s painstaking research.
Three years combing through Lakota Reservation Rolls of the National Archives & Records Administration in Kansas City, Missouri, Lahiri conscientiously paid attention to the minutest of details. This author’s innate ability to reassemble a lost jigsaw puzzle – i.e., name matches, both weak and fabricated, seemingly unseen, brings relationships into new focus. There is a bright new light shining here for those of us intrigued with the near-mythic legend of Crazy Horse.
Objectively without emotion, an obfuscating “red herring” pops onto the record, but with equanimity and logical discernment, a different ‘Black Shawl’ in the same locale and geography is brilliantly differentiated from the real-true wife of Crazy Horse.
All in all, this is a fascinating ‘read’ as one comes to dwell on these Oglala-Lakota women living out their lives after their loss of Crazy Horse in September 1877. These women come alive and breathe, identified in their places and times in the after-math of the high plains drama that were the Indian Wars of the late 18th Century. I highly recommend this investigative work and its behind-the-scenes storyline ringing true in a faithful honoring of these two remarkable women.

The story continues, from his last book “Red Road Across the Great Plains,” uncovering the fate of the two most influential women in the life of the legendary Lakota war chief, Crazy Horse, who completely disappeared into the dust of history. His first love interest, Black Buffalo Woman, disappears from the pages of history shortly after the attempt on his life by her husband. His wife, Black Shawl, vanishes almost equally completely, soon after his assassination at Fort Robinson. What became of them? How did their lives play out? Did they have descendants, perhaps living today? Did they ever find happiness again?

The result of over three years of painstaking research worthy of the best detective stories, Chandra Lahiri peels back the fog of time to reveal what happened to them.


"The urgent, desperate drumming of a horse’s hooves shook the earth. Grass and twigs flew in all directions, as the single, sleek, blue roan flew past the massive, miles-long encampment, at a full gallop. The warrior, effortlessly riding bareback, like he was part of the animal, as did all his people, glanced anxiously in all directions, but especially into the trees edging out past the riverbank. She had to be here, somewhere – all alone, unaware of impending danger, blissfully searching for wild turnips and berries for his meal. There was no way she could know that Major Marcus Reno had already begun his charge across the Little Bighorn River, the one she and her people knew as the Greasy Grass, to attack their peaceful camps that had gathered for Chief Sitting Bull’s great Sundance of the northern Plains Nations, a few short days ago. The warrior had to find his wife very quickly, and move her out of harm’s way. As the pre-eminent war chief of his Lakota Nation, he had to reach the battlefront immediately but, for him, the safety and wellbeing of his beloved wife took precedence. He simply had to find her, and find her fast. Time was running out rapidly...."

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