Book Review

The Apache Wars (2016) Review


Non-fiction books present their own share of problems. When history gets condensed into a few hundred pages, the possibilities for failure are endless. Be it a few, a few hundred, or in this case 40 some odd years. I won’t waste time on the endless possibilities for failure. I’d rather write about why The Apache Wars succeeds, and why any fan of American history should read it.

Let me begin by saying I love history. It was my favorite subject in school. You might even call me a history buff, or an amateur historian. When it comes to the American “Wild West” I’m more familiar with the famous outlaws and gunslingers. I’ve got a bit more knowledge on the Plains tribes than those of the Southwest. Like everyone else, I’ve heard of Geronimo. I’ve heard the name Cochise. Even old Nana was a familiar name from an Unsolved Mysteries segment. This book introduced me to more of the great Apaches, and the boys in blue who fought against them.

The Apache Wars could easily become a jumbled mess from the start. There’s several bands of Apaches. A few of the tribes and individual names are tough to pronounce. Each band had their own chief. There’s a plethora of army officers and scouts coming and going. None of these issues would be the author, Paul Andrew Hutton’s fault. They can’t help appearing. It’s to Hutton’s credit as both a writer and historian in keeping these issues in check and minimized.

From the first paragraph, Hutton’s skill as a writer is on display. This isn’t a dry, boring history lecture that got published. This work of non-fiction reads as well as any fictional tale. Hutton doesn’t write over our heads or leave out important details. He doesn’t assume we know because he does, and he never takes a pompous attitude. It’s clear he’s very knowledgeable on the subject. The final chapter, the epilogue, is a wonderful touch. It’s a welcome and needed addition. We find out the fates of many we met along the way.

Do you have an interest in American history? Native Americans? Are you looking for a good non-fiction book? I recommend taking a look at The Apache Wars. It’s a wonderful introduction to an era known more for outlaws and gunslingers than “Indian Wars.” That phrase makes me think of Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson against the Creeks, or General Custer battling the Sioux. Those are chapters in the epic saga of a war the United States government waged against Native Americans. For all intents and purposes, this covers the final chapter.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this honest review.

Copyright © Drew Martin 2016


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