Hutton, Paul Andrew. The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History. New York: Crown, 2016. 514 pp. $30.00, cloth. ISBN 978-0-7704-3581-3.
Paul Andrew Hutton greatly expands his reputation as a leading authority on the American West with this first-rate, sparkling book. Widely recognized as a leading TV spokesman and a prize-winning essayist, Hutton pushes to the top of narrative western historians in this valuable volume.
Hutton achieves here what no other writer has done: provide a thorough overview of the Apache wars stretching from about 1860 to 1890. A powerful, interest-whetting story, Hutton’s book furnishes an account we have needed for a long time on this important subject.
Avoiding cloying theory and abstract analysis, Hutton instead tells an engrossing tale, full of sound and fury. He drives his narrative through the lives of western notables like Kit Carson and George Crook, as well as those of Indian leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, Victorio, and Geronimo. He also utilizes the enigmatic Mickey Free and Apache Kid to string together his sprawling plot.
Extraordinary breadth characterizes Hutton’s account. We see conflicting overlaps among whites (the “White Eyes”) and Apache, borderland Americans, Mexicans, and Indians, and cross-country Washington, D.C., and the Far Southwest. In his far-reaching narrative, the skilled author gives fresh meanings to transnational and cross continental. No less revealing is Hutton’s unflinching descriptions of the violent and brutal life ways of the Apache and the frontier military. At the same time, the fiery competition among Native and military leaders and the perfidy of government officials fill many pages.
Most of all, Hutton proves that appealing narrative history provides the best vehicle for superb storytelling–for general readers as well as academic specialists.
Hutton’s Apache Wars clearly merits the major prizes it will gather.
— Richard Etulain
Other Books On Apaches We Recommend:
- Aleshire, Peter. Cochise: The Life and Times of the Great Apache Chief. New York: John Wiley, 2001. 354 pp. $10.00. ISBN 978-0-7858-2035-3. Offers a refreshing approach to understanding the Apache Wars; written like fine historical fiction.
- Boyer, Ruth McDonald and Narcissus, Duffy Gayton. Apache Mothers and Daughters: Four Generations of a Family. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992. 393 pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-8061-2447-6. The author used the collective remembrances of the great-great granddaughter of Victorio to amplify oral history with scholarly insightful and extensive fieldwork.
- Chamberlin, Kathleen P. Victorio: Apache Warrior and Chief. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. 242 pp. $22.00. ISBN 978-0-8061-3063-7 Carefully researched and clearly written, this biography deserves to stand alongside those about other famous Apache leaders.
- Haley, James L. Apaches: A History and Cultural Portrait. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977; paper 1984. 453 pp. 978-0-0861-2978-5. An extensive, probing study focused on Apache culture rather than primarily on conflicts with whites. The book is especially thorough on Apache leaders.
- Stockel, H. Henrietta. Women of the Apache Nation: Voices of the Truth. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1991. 198pp. $10.00. ISBN 978-0-8741-2447-6. Based on research, interviews, and personal friendship, the author sheds light on some of the mysteries surrounding traditional and contemporary Chiricahua Apache culture.
- Sweeney, Edwin R. Cochise: Chiricahua Apache Chief. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. 501 pp. $60.00. ISBN 978-0-8061-2337-0. Definitive life story of history’s most important Apache chief.
- Sweeney, Edwin R. Mangas Coloradas: Chief of the Chiricahura Apaches. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. 578 pp. $20.00. ISBN 978-0-8061-3063-7. The author has provided a thorough and sympathetic biography of one of the most famous and long-lived Apache chiefs.
- Utley, Robert M. Geronimo. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. 348 pp. $30.00. ISBN 978-0-3301-2638-9. This is a brilliantly researched and clearly written biography of the Chiricahua Apache leader whose legend never dies.
- Worcester, Donald E. The Apaches: Eagles of the Southwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979. 389 pp. $30.00. ISBN 0-8061-1495-9. The author provides a synthesis of the total historical experience of the Apache, from the post-Conquest era of the Spaniards to the present.