(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Although Geronimo: His Own Story is autobiographical, it has passed through several hands and has been modified so that some of its content is suspect or ambiguous. During 1905 and 1906, Geronimo, then technically still a prisoner of war and living on the Apache reservation at Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma, told the story of his life to Asa Daklugie, the son of Juh, a chief who had rebelled with Geronimo. Daklugie translated Geronimo’s account into English for S. M. Barrett, the superintendent of schools in Lawton, who edited and published it. Because of this secondhand and thirdhand method, there is confusion about some dates and details. Also, Barrett attached disclaimers to some of Geronimo’s judgments about his opponents and captors. The original edition contains photographs of Geronimo in later life. The 1970 version, newly edited by Frederick W. Turner III, adds new photographs and notes that clarify the inaccuracies and redress the balance against Geronimo by answering Barrett’s “corrective” comments.

Although Barrett was uncomfortable about repeating Geronimo’s charges against people who were still living (such as General Nelson A. Miles, who Geronimo thought had lied to him), otherwise he let the old warrior tell his story in his way. Accordingly, Geronimo begins not with his own birth but with the myths that describe the origins of the Apache people and the reasons that they live where and how they do. Thus, it is clear that not only Geronimo but also any Apache has a strong sense of identity based on...

(The entire section is 630 words.)