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Reviewed by:
  • Shame and Endurance: The Untold Story of the Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War
  • Frank Kalesnik
Shame and Endurance: The Untold Story of the Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War. By H. Henrietta Stockel. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8165-2414-9. Photographs. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xii, 191. $35.00.

Shame and Endurance describes the treatment of the Chiricahua Apaches by the United States government from 1886 to 1914. Beginning with the military campaigns of George Crook and Nelson Miles against Geronimo and his insurgent band, the author chronicles the controversial incarceration of these prisoners of war (a term that included not only warriors but also their families and those who served as Army scouts), first in Florida, then Alabama, and finally Oklahoma. Supported by numerous quotations from official documents and eyewitness testimony, the author purports to tell the "Untold Story of the Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War."

The subtitle is misleading, since Stockel herself told the story in Survival of the Spirit: Chiricahua Apaches in Captivity (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1993), a book over 120 pages longer than her latest work. While the earlier study concentrated on the impact of captivity on the prisoners' health, and did not provide as detailed a description of the circumstances surrounding their confinement, it was nevertheless a well-written and balanced account with a disciplined use of quotations. This is not the case with Shame and Endurance, which suffers from excessive and lengthy quotations connected by pontifical indictments of the alleged prejudices of the individuals cited.

Lieutenant Colonel Lummis Landon's report on the prisoners is included in the first chapter. This officer was responsible for Forts Pickens (Pensacola) and Marion (Jacksonville), Geronimo and his warriors being held in the former, their families, the latter. While the author describes him as "A naturally compassionate man" who was "protective of the Apaches, disregarding their bad reputation" (p. 13), she concludes: "Despite his knowledge of the Apaches' situation and his sincere sympathy for his newly arrived charges, he was a product of his education, military training, and upbringing as a white male in white America in the late years of the nineteenth century" (p. 14). Stockel based this conclusion on "Langdon's choice of words," which reflected "the dominant society's intellectual framework" (p. 14). [End Page 247]

The author's pet phrase "language of colonialism" peppers the text. While much useful information can be gleaned from the documents frequently quoted, this reviewer preferred the more restrained approach taken in her earlier book. H. Henrietta Stockel is unquestionably an authority on the subject and those with an interest in the Chiricahua prisoner of war experience are well advised to consult her Survival of the Spirit, which is better and more skillfully written than Shame and Endurance.

Frank Kalesnik
Orange County Community College
Middletown, New York


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pp. 247-248
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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Archived 2010
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