ONCE THEY MOVED LIKE THE WIND

COCHISE, GERONIMO, AND THE APACHE WARS

An absorbing account of a quarter century of conflict: the Apache resistance to the ``White Eye'' settlers encroaching on their Arizona lands. Clashes between US troops and Apaches broke out in 1861, but it was only after the Civil War that the army turned its attention fully to these skirmishes in the Southwest. Roberts (Jean Stafford: A Biography, 1988, etc.) sifts through contradictory memoirs and letters from the two sides to present a balanced version of why peace in the region was continually shattered—and why the outnumbered Apache were continually able to drive white settlers to hysteria. Complaints about Indian atrocities were sometimes valid, Roberts explains, but the Apache chief Cochise was often accused of crimes that he couldn't have committed. Meanwhile, the Apaches felt betrayed when agreements with troops were cavalierly broken by Indian land agents. Roberts's narrative is considerably enhanced by its briskly written portraits—including those of the fierce, and fiercely honest, Cochise; of General George Crook, the army's best Indian fighter, who found the key to ending the Apaches' flight (to catch an Apache, use Apache scouts); of John Clum, an Indian land agent whom the Apaches nicknamed ``Turkey Gobbler'' for his arrogance; Lozen, the woman warrior who could equal any man in riding and shooting; and Juh, the chief afflicted with a terrible stutter but gifted with military genius. And, above all, there is the presence of Geronimo, vengeful, untrustworthy, and vacillating, but also capable of leading a band of 34 men, women, and children that, before it surrendered in 1886, managed to elude five thousand American troops and another three thousand Mexican soldiers. Geronimo rightly feared the fate in store for his people: They were deported on sealed railroad cars to Florida, where they remained POWs for 27 years, never to see their homelands again. A history that never loses its sense of drama even as it separates myth from truth. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: July 7, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-70221-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1993

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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