(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Cochise: Apache Warrior and Statesman, a book about a great Native American leader, Edgar Wyatt announces his perspective and the approach of the book in the title. “Warrior” suggests a bold, brave fighter, while “statesman” suggests a diplomat and worker for peace. These two descriptors imply, as the structure of the book makes clear, that Cochise led in war and in peace. He began and ended his career as a leader working for peace. In between, he led the Apache nation in war against the white invaders.

The term “warrior” connotes two qualities of a Native American leader: a strong body and a cunning mind. Cochise—exceptionally tall, muscular, and battle scarred, with deep-set eyes, a furrowed brow, and a high, proud nose—possessed both. Recognizing these qualities, Apaches from all tribes immediately and unanimously se-lected him to be their leader when they saw the need to unite against the whites. As leader of the Apache nation, Cochise knew how to defeat his enemy. As a military strategist, he earned the fear and praise of white settlers and generals as well. He directed small groups of braves, led by trusted subchiefs, to attack and ambush. They immobilized the enemy by driving off their cattle, burning their ranches and mines, and luring them into traps. Deterred only by “fire-wagons” with cannons in the battle of Apache Pass, where Mangus Colorado was wounded, Cochise paused to regroup and give his followers an opportunity...

(The entire section is 530 words.)