Apache Warrior Critical Essays

David C. Cooke


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

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...

(The entire section is 604 words.)