Pulitzer-prize finalist H. W. Brands follows the lives and battles of General William Tecumseh Sherman and Apache warrior Geronimo to tell the story of the Indian Wars and the final fight for control of the American continent.
Drawing on their mastery of local geography, his band of warriors held out, riding out from their reservations sporadically, until they were compelled to capitulate. Brands describes the horrors of these clashes in vivid prose, drawing on conversations and memoirs from the era to document the tragedy.
The Geronimo campaign has been so intensely studied for the last 150 years that it’s hard to imagine there’s much new information to discover. Noted historian Brands finds news, though, by placing the war against the Apaches in the larger context of the Indian Wars generally, from the mass hanging of Sioux rebels in 1862 to the Modoc Wars, Little Bighorn, the Red Cloud War, and more ... Brands is particularly good in placing all this in a political as well as military context, with Sherman wrestling with Indian Agency bureaucrats in Washington over whether they or the Army should oversee matters of war, peace, and, in the end, cultural extermination ... An excellent, well-written study—like most of the author’s books, a welcome addition to the literature of westward expansion.
... a fine-grained yet somewhat lopsided look at the final military battles fought between the U.S. government and the Apache, Lakota, Nez Perce, and other Native American tribes ... Brands incorporates Indigenous perspectives, including She Walks With Her Shawl’s eyewitness account of the Battle of Little Big Horn, but most of the narrative is spent with U.S. Army general William Sherman and other military leaders, including Philip Sheridan and Nelson Miles. Though Brands quotes from Sherman’s letters and journal entries calling for peace, he’s more interested in delivering battlefield play-by-plays than interrogating the racist attitudes of the day or conveying the full range of the Native American experience. Though well written and often engrossing, this history is missing some crucial context.