The Wrath of Cochise 1st Edition
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- The Associated Press
“A unique biography of Ernest Hemingway’s decision to volunteer to hunt German U-boats in the Gulf Stream. It was this quest that would shape much of The Old Manand the Sea. A rewarding read about the inner workings of an artistic mind.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Epic in scope. Terry Mort tells the story of a little-known period in the life of one of America’s greatest novelists”
- Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of Warand Acts of Faith
- Publisher : Pegasus Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1605984221
- ISBN-13 : 978-1605984223
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The approach Mort takes is to evaluate the cultures within which Lt. George Bascom and the Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise existed; what made them the men they were. He examines the religion, geography, culture, and regional history so that by the time the author describes the events at Apache Pass in February 1861 you understand the "why." Throughout this cultural overview Mort writes about Bascom and Cochise, describing the conditions within which they grew up, were educated, and what would have motivated them – he develops a three dimensional view of each man rather than the stereotypical cardboard cutouts often used. While at first I viewed this as "padding" as I read I realized that in order to understand the "why" of what happened at Apache Pass you really need to understand the culture within which each man existed.
What all this leads to is probably the best understanding of the men and circumstances that I have ever read on The Bascom Affair, which is quite a bit. While assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, I developed and ran a professional development staff exercise on the incident which included reading every available first person account and secondary sources. I can say without reservation that this book is the best account I’ve read because it provides a degree of context that leads to understanding.
The tale starts off in 1861 with Apaches attacking the John Ward ranch in the Sonoita Valley in Southern Arizona. Ward goes to Fort Buchanan to complain. The Army sends 2nd Lt. George Bascom and a patrol out to find the perpetrators. Ward says that Cochise took cattle and his twelve year old stepson. Cochise's people live seventy miles away in Apache Pass between Mexico and Arizona. They alternately attack Mexico and Arizona and make off and on treaties with both countries. The patrol sets up camp by the stagecoach station and sends word that they want to talk to Cochise. On the second camp day, Cochise, his brother, one of his wives, nephews, and a few warriors show up at 2nd Lt. Bascom's camp. Inside the tent, Bascom accuses Cochise of attacking Ward's ranch and kidnapping the boy. Unbeknownst to Bascom, that accusation is a huge insult to a Apache. Since Cochise is listening to a broken Spanish translation from Ward, he is paying close attention to demeanor, tone of voice, and body language. Then, the shavetail ( a newly commissioned officer with no experience ) Lieutenant tells Cochise that they are prisoners until his Apaches find Ward's boy and the cattle. Cochise tells him he didn't do it and slashes his way out of the tent. All of this happens in the first seventeen pages, and doesn't get back to the scene until chapter eleven, page 237. This incident starts a ten year war between the Indians of the Southwest and the US Army, miners, and settlers.
According to Mort: "Congress had a long standing aversion to the idea of maintaining a professional army of any size." The US Army only had 31,024 officers and troops, while State volunteers numbered 73,532. Since Congress didn't take the Indian problem seriously, it was allowed to fester for years. West Point grad, George B. McClellan ( yes, that McClellan ), said of the volunteers: " They are useless, useless, useless, expensive, wasteful and good for nothing." Three years before the incident (1858 ), the army only had 16,367 people, and only a small portion protecting our western expansion against savy ambushing Indian tribes. The author covers a lot of ground in this book including the lengthy so-called Mormon Wars. Mark Twain once visited Utah and saw Mormon women and: "He thought they were homely creatures and opined that a man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of open handed generosity." Twain was known to be against what he called " the savages " and the writings of James Fenimore Cooper. I guess he didn't like 'The Last of the Mohicans' or 'The Deerslayer' . By the way what does all those quotes from 'The Iliad' by Homer have to do with this book. Okay, I get that the Troy and Indian Wars lasted ten years, but that's it. This was an educational book, but if you have read my previous reviews, I like my non-fiction to read like fiction and this book was far from it. I have to put my neutral face on and say "huh?" I was taking a nap.