Cochise: The Life and Times of the Great Apache Chief

Cochise: The Life and Times of the Great Apache Chief

by Peter Aleshire
     
 

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About the only contemporary documentation about the great Native American warrior was by his enemies or victims, so Aleshire (American studies, Arizona State U.) felt justified in violating many of the conventions of biography, as earlier biographers of Cochise (ca.1800-74) have done. He tries to present the Apache viewpoint of the nearly half-century of fighting… See more details below

Overview

About the only contemporary documentation about the great Native American warrior was by his enemies or victims, so Aleshire (American studies, Arizona State U.) felt justified in violating many of the conventions of biography, as earlier biographers of Cochise (ca.1800-74) have done. He tries to present the Apache viewpoint of the nearly half-century of fighting against the US and Mexico.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A handful of histories from Castle, these four volumes cover assorted facets of North American and pre-Colonial military campaigns. The Castle line offers some of the best bargains in publishing. Don't let the price fool you-these are quality books. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A well-intentioned but unsatisfying life of the Apache warrior, "arguably the only Native American leader to actually win his war with the United States of America." Aleshire (American Studies/Arizona State Univ.; The Fox and the Whirlwind: General George Crook and Geronimo, 2000), begins his life of Cochise, the great Chiricahua Apache fighter and strategist, with an apology: because the conventional historiography of the 19th-century American West does not often allow for Native American voices, he asserts, he has had to use considerable invention in looking at Apache history from an Apache point of view. That's all well and good, but Aleshire takes a few long stretches in recounting the eventful, violence-plagued life of Cochise (1804?-74), who had his hands full battling Mexicans and Americans while trying to secure a homeland that would be safe from intruders, while at the same time trying to rein in ambitious, bellicose compatriots like Geronimo. For one thing, Aleshire attributes to Cochise ideas and statements that no reliable history corroborates ("Cochise especially liked this story," he writes at one point before relating a folktale gathered by an anthropologist in the late 1930s); for another, he tends to crib rather heavily from the ethnographic literature, and the best lines here are often those of writers such as Morris Opler, Eve Ball, and Keith Basso; for still another, Aleshire has an unfortunate habit of writing in a sort of noble-savage pastiche that's thick with simile from the Chief Dan George school of Indian rhetoric ("Cochise felt caught in the midst of his enemies, like the deer who hears the echo of the wolves ahead and behind"; "He had steeled hisheart, like a knife heated and quenched"; "Now Cochise's heart leaped up in his chest, like an eagle lunging against a tether"). The surfeit of conjecture, sentimentality, and stentorian tone works, in the end, against Aleshire's reliability as a narrator and historian, and it makes this a chore to read. Readers with a serious interest in Cochise's life and times will prefer less self-conscious lives, such as Edwin Sweeney's Cochise and David Roberts's Once They Moved Like the Wind, to Aleshire's imaginative treatment.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780785820352
Publisher:
Book Sales, Inc.
Publication date:
03/15/2006
Pages:
354
Product dimensions:
6.74(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.37(d)

Meet the Author

PETER ALESHIRE is a senior lecturer in the Department of American Studies at Arizona State University, West Campus, and author of Reaping the Whirlwind: The Apache Wars; Warrior Woman: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman; and The Fox and the Whirlwind: General George Crook and Geronimo, A Paired Biography (Wiley). He is also the associate editor of Phoenix Magazine. Mr. Aleshire lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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