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1 0 2 WAL 3 6 .1 SPRING 2 0 0 1 whispering their interwoven lives from the cool earth, reminding us that ulti­ mately it’s the stories that matter most, that they’re all we have. And this, not surprisingly, is one very fine story. Josanie’s War: A Chiricahua Apache Novel. By Karl H. Schlesier. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. 290 pages, $22.95. Reviewed by Nancy Kirkpatrick Wright Yavapai College, Prescott, Arizona Until an Apache writer tells the story of his or her people’s tortuous tran­ sition from a hunting-raiding society to sedentary reservation life, we must con­ tent ourselves with compassionate Anglo scholars and writers. Most recently, Karl H. Schlesier, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Wichita State University, has combined meticulous ethnographic scholarship with the con­ science of a responsible historian in Josanie’s War: A Chiricahua Apache Novel. Volume 27 of the University of Oklahoma’s American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series, this handsome edition comes with a dust jacket aptly illustrated by western artist Howard Terpning. Peopled with such Apache leaders as Mangas, Victorio, Geronimo, and that wise old wanior Nana, Josanie’s War is the familiar story of some renegade Apaches marauding, killing, and hiding from the cavalry in order to establish a mountain stronghold where they can live in their traditional way. The cun­ ning protagonist, Josanie, brother to Chihuahua (both historical figures, as are most of the characters in this book), leads his band from Turkey Creek on the Fort Apache Reservation to the Sierra Madre in Old Mexico. Schlesier’s alter­ nating chapters of historical documents from the 1880s—letters, diaries, government reports, newspaper dispatches, and Apache songs—substantiate a balanced treatment of Apache atrocities and raids versus Anglo cruelty and military bungling. By chapter 27, Schlesier moderates the fighting enough to allow the Apache spirit to speak to us through legends, myths, and the ceremonies ofWhite Painted Woman and Monster Slayer Boy. We begin to understand the Apache concept of power when, in a tender vignette, one of the waniors calls the Mountain Spirits to bless them on their way to stage an ambush. Schlesier’s descriptions of the preparations for a puberty ceremony and the appearances of those Apache icons, the Mountain Spirit Dancers, are well drawn and meaningful. Yet, with its minutiae of authenticating statistics, place names, and ethnic details, this book reads like history rather than fiction. An accompanying map might have traced the journey so effectively that with a few background facts the author could have moved on to developing his characters within their cul­ tural context. He could have exploited the inepressible Apache sense of humor, making the antics of the Mountain Spirit clown hilarious as he carica­ tures Apache scouts and inept Anglo soldiers. We would begin to care so much BO O K REVIEWS 1 0 3 about this unique group of people that suspense would build, and we would hope against hope that this little band of Apaches would survive. In the end, as we know, defeat was inevitable. The conflict between the Apache traditional life of hunting and raiding and the Anglo doctrine of Manifest Destiny came to an ignoble end. Although these widely divergent philosophies of land ownership are irreconcilable, Apache Mountain Spirits still live: The Great Blue Mountain Spirit in the south, He is happy over me. My songs have been created. . . . My songs will go out into the world. (269) Killing Cynthia Ann. By Charles Brashear. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1999. 209 pages, $21.50. Reviewed by Steven Frye Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, California The abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker (or Naudah) by the Comanche in 1836, together with her re-abduction by Texas Rangers in 1860, was emblem­ atic of the moral and ethical conflicts and ambiguities that attended westward expansion in the nineteenth century. Charles Brashear’s new novel works from the vantage point of the Comanche, telling the story through the eyes of “Naudah.” The story begins in a Comanche village, making apparent from the beginning that the protagonist is completely assimilated into the Noconi band. She is the favored wife of Peta Nocona and the mother...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 102-103
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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