Readers will find a wealth of information in this book, including lengthy accounts of how the Apache raised boys and taught them to be ruthless fighters. Utley explains the logic of using raids and terror as instruments of war, and how warriors like Geronimo extended their leadership by the development of a charismatic persona — even the impression of supernatural power. But, more than anything else, Geronimo is a biography, and the man who emerges from this account is one of tragedy, brutality, resignation, and mystery. In Utley’s words, “complex and contradictory.” Geronimo is a compelling and thought-provoking tale.


On September 4, 1886, at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona Territory, four centuries of Indian warfare in American came to a close. The Ghost Dance troubles four years later were a religious movement, not a war. The character of the Apache conflict differed profoundly from all other Indian wars. Other tribes often engaged in combat, which was rare in Apache hostilities. Few Apache conflicts merit the term ‘battle’ or even ‘skirmish.’ In most encounters the Apaches fled without loss of life. Even so, Skeleton Canyon achieves significance as the end of four centuries of Indian hostilities in North America. As the last holdout, Geronimo acquired the most recent position in the American memory, one reason his legacy has so firmly endured. Legend or reality, Geronimo remains the dominant Indian name in the American memory.”

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Publication date: June 7, 2013