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Once They Moved Like the Wind: Cochise, Geronimo, and the Apache Wars Hardcover – July 7, 1993

47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During the westward settlement, for more than 20 years Apache tribes eluded both U.S. and Mexican armies, and by 1886 an estimated 9000 armed men were in pursuit. Roberts ( Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative ) presents a moving account of the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest. He portrays the great Apache leaders--Cochise, Nana, Juh, Geronimo, the woman warrior Lozen--and U.S. generals George Crock and Nelson Miles. Drawing on contemporary American and Mexican sources, he weaves a somber story of treachery and misunderstanding. After Geronimo's surrender in 1886, the Apaches were sent to Florida, then to Alabama where many succumbed to malaria, tuberculosis and malnutrition and finally in 1894 to Oklahoma, remaining prisoners of war until 1913. The book is history at its most engrossing. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Roberts, whose previous books have focused on mountaineering and travel, tells the story of the Chiricahua Apache resistance to the encroachments of the whites in post-Civil War frontier America. Using contemporary letters and reminiscences, he relates the story from the Apache point of view, focusing on the leadership of Cochise and Geronimo. Rather than emphasizing troop deployments and Apache raids, Roberts explains why the principals on both sides acted as they did and shows how misunderstandings led to tragedy and warfare. He has mined the available sources and woven them neatly into his well-written tapestry. Best suited for lay readers and undergraduates, this worthy reexamination of the topic is recommended for all libraries.
- Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 7, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671702211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671702212
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Jan Barbour (English & social studies teacher) on January 9, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by far and away one of the best books I have ever read about the history of native Americans. Roberts clearly portrays the full complexity of the individual characters involved, it seems, both honestly, and with great respect for the Native American values, traditions and lifestyle he describes. While clearly aware of the horrific sacrifice that was exacted from the Apache, Roberts consistently refuses to idealize these victims of European westward expansion, prefering instead to show them as the remarkable and complex individuals they were. He spares no punches in describing the violence and cruelty that existed on both sides of the equation -- European and Native American -- yet he does so without letting White Americans off the hook. What emerges is a text, rich in historical detail, that neither idealizes nor denigrates the Native Americans it depicts. Instead, Cochise, Geronimo, and their ilk are seen each as individuals grappling each in their respective ways -- sometimes wisely profound, sometimes petty and mean -- to maintain a remarkable and admirable lifestyle that was sadly and cruelly destroyed. A highly recommended read for anyone interested in a richly detailed, apparently accurate, and remarkably individualized account of this time in American History.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps the definitive account of the Apache conflicts in the American Southwest and northern Mexico, particularly in the period from the time of Mangas Coloradas through Cochise, Victorio and Geronimo. Personally I think it could have been even more interesting if Roberts had started earlier in Apache history and included the Apache interactions with the Spaniards, Pueblo Indians, and so on. Roberts would be the ideal author to incorporate that early history, as some of his other writings (such as "In Search of the Old Ones") demonstrate his interest and expertise in the ancient Indian civilations of the Southwest and Mexico. In any case, anyone who wishes to learn more about the late 19th century Apache conflicts and the personalities involved will certainly appreciate the scholarship and flowing writing style of this book. And the comprehensive bibliography provides plenty of leads for those who may wish to read the original source materials. After finishing this book I was inspired to revisit some of the sites in southeastern Arizona such as Cochise Stronghold, the Chiricahua Mountains and Fort Bowie, and they came to life for me in a way they never had before.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on January 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating and well written account of the Apache and their war against whites and Mexico from the 1860's to their total loss of freedom that ends with Geronimo and his final band's surrender and incarceration. Roberts writes in a very readable and flowing style providing insights and first hand quotes from both sides of the conflicts. He also gives you both sides of any controversy, particularly letting the reader know the veracity of individuals with conflicting statements, which is very refreshing. Roberts is able to clearly differentiate between the different tribes that were identified generically as Apache and he presents a fascinating history involving the many chiefs that led their people during the conflict. The author covers extraordinary well the different chiefs and their roles, such as the great Cochise (Chokonen), Mangas Colorado (Chihenne), Victoria (Chihenne), Juh (Nednhi), Nana (Chihenne) and of course the infamous warrior Geronimo (Bedonkohe). The biographies and retelling of events are so descriptive and thorough that you get a genuine feel for the main characters, the conditions of the mountains and deserts and the people, white, Mexican and Indian. The first chapter starts with Lt. Bascom's ill-fated effort to retrieve a child by holding hostages from the wrong tribe, Cochise's, which sets up a violent war against the whites and a distrust that lasts for decades. That, among several failures such as consolidating reservations and the killing of a medicine man (similar to the killing of Sitting Bull just a few years later), substantiates the Apache distrust of whites.Read more ›
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Eric H. Roth on September 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
A fascinating, balanced, and extraordinarily detailed account of the brutal conquest of a proud warrior tribe, Once They Moved Like the Wind provides rare insights into the Southwest's most violent era.
Author Roberts recreates the "profound distrust" and layers of "cultural misunderstanding" that lead to the intense racial hatred between the Apaches, the Mexicans, and American settlers. Roberts' powerful narrative doesn't idealize the sometimes brutal Apache traditions (cutting off a wife's nose if she was suspected of adultery, etc). Yet, it seems to me, that the real villains clearly remain the Mexican troops who purchased Indian scalps and casually murdered Apaches for fun and profit. The American settlers, who seem to be hysterical, are likewise committed to Manifest Destiny and seizing the Apaches' traditional lands. The federal government and U.S. Cavalry, to my surprise, played the role of both hunting Apaches and protecting them from the local settler population.
This book details some real quirky personalities from General Cook to Geromino and documents a few forgotten dirty wars. (Cochise still comes across a great chief who almost forced the federal government to abandon New Mexico and Arizona to the Apache during the Civil War.)
An almost perfect gift for history teachers, relatives living in the Southwest, or addicts of 19th Century American history. Don't be surprised if a clever travel agent uses this book for organizing tours in Arizona and New Mexico one day!!!
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