In his foreword, Cooke states that he will “tell a small part of Apache history” and relate some “major reasons for their long and fierce hostility to the white men.” He also points out that much of the narrative material is quoted from books that he cites and from newspapers, magazines, and other written sources. His endeavors have produced an excellent historical text of great interest to teenage readers for its unprejudiced subject matter and its educational value. This text does away with the typical cowboy-film view that Apaches were simply “murdering devils.”
As Cooke weaves his story, it becomes clear that both the Apaches and the white men of the time made grave judgmental errors in their dealings. It seems, however, that the white civilizations should have been capable of more sensible interactions with the Apaches. While it is clear that Apaches committed atrocities against whites, these actions were reactions to earlier atrocities initiated by callous, stupid, or sadistic white leaders. Cooke argues that blaming the Apaches, who totaled fewer than a thousand people, for savagery against countless white soldiers is senseless and goes against the historical record. Instead, this biography suggests that the major evil committed was genocide against the Apache way of life, the extermination of a people who wished only to preserve their homes and the right to live as a free society.
Among the atrocious actions committed was the Mexican...
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In modern times, it has become clear that Native Americans of many tribes were victims of inappropriate expansionist policies, rather than being bloodthirsty savages. Consequently, a desire to compensate past abuses has developed. One tribe that has not benefited from this feeling, however, is the Apaches. Seen mostly in films and Western novels, they continue to be viewed as vicious savages.
In describing Mangus Colorado, Mimbreno Apaches, and Apaches in general, Apache Warrior changes the image of these Native Americans, which does young readers the service of showing the Apaches as another group of Native Americans overrun by the avalanche of expanding white culture. The book is particularly valuable because it fits the plight of the Apaches into the broad collage of the disregard for civil rights of minorities that was blatantly widespread at that time and still persists in less obvious ways.
Apache Warrior is also useful because it points out that misunderstanding and poor communication between people or groups will continually escalate violence. If there had been some way for Apaches and whites to sit down and talk in a meaningful way, Cooke argues, then the innocents on both sides of the Apache War might have been spared. Therefore, the book not only exposes the plight of Apaches but also serves as a valuable educational tool for students, helping them to realize the importance of good communication and the futility of violence when other courses of action are possible.