Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place, Angie Debo illustrates the experiences of the Southwest Apache tribes and one of their most impressive leaders, Geronimo. The book is divided into chronological chapters that reflect much historical research. The chapter titles signify important events of Geronimo’s life and detail his experiences, from his family, fellow warriors, and friends to the enemies to whom he was forced to surrender.

The book shows the development of the conflicts among Native Americans, Mexicans, and Americans. Debo builds her narrative around historical accounts from the public record and from personal testimony, thereby providing background to Geronimo’s gradual rise to prominence and eventual leadership. A clearly drawn map is provided to show Geronimo’s home range of the Arizona and New Mexico territories. Another map found in the book shows the Apache villages and fields at Fort Sill, the Apache prison site in the late 1800’s. The book also contains abundant black-and-white photographs of Geronimo as early as 1889, of his family members, and of other tribal leaders. Battle sites, ceremonial locations, and other important geographical locations are also noted, information collected mainly from the National Archives.

The author devotes portions of each chapter, in addition to the four ending chap-ters, to outlining Geronimo’s personal life, his personality traits, and the characteristics that set him apart from all other Apache warriors during his time. Debo uses quotes from U.S. government documents and other biographical works, as well as from firsthand interviews with other important Apache figures. It should be noted that the author is quick to categorize her book not as a biography but more as a collection of “conjectures” from existing historical material. Debo’s main objective is to explore Geronimo’s “individual experiences, his motivations, his personal life and character.” Geronimo does not, however, digress into historical fiction to portray Geronimo in this light, as the Apache chief’s own memories often substantiate the undocumented material. A complete index and bibliography are found in the back of the book.