The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History

The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History

by Paul Andrew Hutton


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In the tradition of Empire of the Summer Moon, a stunningly vivid historical account of the manhunt for Geronimo and the 25-year Apache struggle for their homeland.
They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides—the Apaches and the white invaders—blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid.
In this sprawling, monumental work, Paul Hutton unfolds over two decades of the last war for the West through the eyes of the men and women who lived it. This is Mickey Free's story, but also the story of his contemporaries: the great Apache leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Victorio; the soldiers Kit Carson, O. O. Howard, George Crook, and Nelson Miles; the scouts and frontiersmen Al Sieber, Tom Horn, Tom Jeffords, and Texas John Slaughter; the great White Mountain scout Alchesay and the Apache female warrior Lozen; the fierce Apache warrior Geronimo; and the Apache Kid. These lives shaped the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the Southwestern borderlands—a bleak and unforgiving world where a people would make a final, bloody stand against an American war machine bent on their destruction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594920106
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 52,578
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

PAUL ANDREW HUTTON is an American cultural historian, author, documentary writer, and television personality. He is also a professor of history at the University of New Mexico, a former executive director of the Western History Association and former president of the Western Writers of America.

Read an Excerpt


On a crisp morning in late January, the boy tended his stock as he watched the dust cloud rising to the south, at the far end of the narrow timbered valley. Felix was almost twelve, but short and scrawny for his age, with a mop of red hair and fair skin. When the boy saw riders emerging one by one from the cloud of dust, their ponies splashing across the shallow creek, he ran to the little grove of peach trees some three hundred yards from the ranch buildings where his mother and sister were. He knew this area was contested ground, in the heart of what the Mexicans, and the Spanish before them, had named Apacheria. The Mexicans had failed to settle the valley, driven out by the fearsome Apaches who lived in the mountains to the east and north.

A dozen Apaches, wildly painted and heavily armed, galloped onto the ranch. They swept past the buildings to gather up all the horses and cattle. His heart pounding, Felix climbed a peach tree and hid himself as best he could. The Apache leader rode up to the tree as his men began herding the horses and cattle back down the valley and looked up at the terrified boy. Felix expected to be killed instantly, but instead the Apache laughed and motioned for him to climb down. Felix obliged. The Apache, who was called Beto, had a heavily scarred face that bore the imprint of some terrible battle in which he had lost an eye. Felix also had but one eye. The Apache pulled him onto the back of his pony, and off they galloped after the warriors.

These Apaches were of the Aravaipa band, who lived to the northeast of the Sonoita Valley. The Aravaipa would come to call the kidnapped boy Coyote, after their trickster god, because they could never decide if he was friend or foe. Years later, white men would name him Mickey Free. The boy’s kidnapping started the final struggle for Apacheria—the longest war in the history ofthe United States. This conflict would leave a trail of blood from the Pecos River in Texas through New Mexico and Arizona and deep into Mexico from 1861 to 1886. All sides in that conflict blamed Mickey Free for starting it. In time, the boy would come to play a pivotal role in the war, moving back and forth between the harshly conflicted worlds of the Apache and the white invader, never really accepted by either but invaluable to both.

This is Mickey Free’s story, but it is also the story of his contemporaries—both friend and foe, red and white—whose lives were shaped by the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. It was a land where every plant bore a barb, every insect a stinger, every bird a talon, every reptile a fang—an inhospitable, deadly environment known to the outside world as Apacheria. In this bleak and unforgiving world, the one-eyed, deeply scarred Mickey Free was at home.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Apaoheria 3

2 Red Sleeves 17

3 The Lost Boy 34

4 Apache Pass 56

5 Kit Carson's Way 71

6 People of the White Mountains 86

7 The Head of Mangas Coloradas 95

8 The Custom of rhe Country 105

9 Camp Grant 117

10 Massacre 130

11 Nantan Lupan 142

12 The Christian General 154

13 Mickey Free 163

14 Taglito 173

15 San Carlos 187

16 Geronimo 205

17 Lozen's Vision 225

18 Victorio's War 239

19 Tres Castillos 247

20 Fort Apache 263

21 Breakout 283

22 Hell's Forty Acres 304

23 Sierra Madre 317

24 Turkey Creek 329

25 Devil's Backbone 345

26 The Wind And The Darkness 364

27 Apache Kid 388

28 The Last Free Apache 403

Epilogue 415

Acknowledgments 425

Notes 428

Bibliography 474

Index 499

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The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm lucky enough to live in Arizona and have traveled to many of the places that passed through this history. Really brought the story to life for me. Fort Bowie and Apache Spring especially. Loved this book and was hooked after only a few pages.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Fifteen or so years ago I read Paul Andrew Hutton's Phil Sheridan and His Army. I found it to ber interesting, but I was not prepared for the masterpiece I found between the covers of The Apache Wars. Hutton begins with a scene in which an Apache raider spares a young boy's life because they both have only one eye. The boy became an Apache and later an Army scout known as Mickey Free and played a peripheral role in many of the events of the thirty-year conflict. More famous characters are not neglected. Cochise, Geronimo, Victorio, and the other Apache chiefs are covered, as well as their opponents Generals Howard, Crook, and Miles and Indian agents John Clum and Tom Jeffords. Hutton also describes less known figures like scout Al Sieber and the Apache warrior woman Lozen. Even the notorious gunman Rom Horn played a role in the Apache wars. Older readers may remember Allan W. Eckert's Narratives of Empire series and I think that might be a good comparison. Hutton is writing history instead of historical novels, but there are many similarities. Both write about whites and Native Americans without whitewashing either side and both understand the viewpoints of the combatants. The Apache Wars is a four and a half to five star book. That is a rating I try not to give very often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone interested in American history, the old west and native Americans will find this book fascinating. The major characters are revealed in "close up" detail, and the numerous events of the Apache Indian war are brought to life. America's longest war, and the fate of the Apache tribe ought to be studied more, and this book is the best chronicle of the subject that I know of.
Dr_James_Scott More than 1 year ago
Most people don’t know the longest war fought by the American government was the war against the Apache Indians. What a gruesome tale it is! Paul Andrew Hutton is an extraordinary historian and a master story-teller. Combining those talents and skills with remarkable, laborious research and you have the captivating new book, “The Apache Wars” (published by Crown). This is a thick, hardback book that covers the grotesque realities of a war waged against the Apache Indians in the American Southwest from 1861 to 1886. If the story was just outlined, it could likely be told in just a page or two. But the depth of Hutton’s research, and the quality of his writing skills, unfold the telling of this period of conflict as if he was there and is sharing an eyewitness account to a bloody part of our history. And it was very bloody. The story begins with the act that sparked the Apache wars — the kidnapping of a boy who would become known as “Mickey Free.” While this is partly his story, it’s also the telling of his contemporaries as well. Hutton keeps you turning pages by taking you chronologically through this war by introducing you to a regular parade of characters who played key roles in the conflict. You’ll meet Mangas Coloradas, the great chief Cochise, and be perturbed by the great warrior Geronimo. And you’ll meet the generals, officers, and others who fought against the Apache chiefs, their warriors, and their people. It’s a bloody story. You’ll see that, while some white men gained some “respect” of certain Apache Indians they would get to know, the greater sentiment of the time was, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” That was more than just a phrase during this time of history in Arizona and New Mexico; the American government sought out Apache Indians more with the intent to kill them than capture them. At the same time, a life of robbing, stealing, and killing was common for the Apache Indian. Hutton reveals how the Apache wars were a time where everyone, from the Indians, to the Army, to private citizens had little or no problem murdering their “enemies” or anyone who got in their way. As much as I wanted to find a “good guy” in this telling of a swath of our history, I couldn’t, the realities of the times and leading characters were that ugly. I love reading or studying history, so this book quickly and easily became a compelling read for me. But I don’t think you have to be a student of history to be thoroughly captivated about what life really was like in the great Southwest from the 1860’s through the 1880’s. It’s a story of war, one most of us know very little about. But “The Apache Wars” will educate you in a way that will make putting the book down to be difficult, but worth your time to read. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
4aussiegirl More than 1 year ago
The Apache Wars The Hunt For Geronimo, The Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy who Started the longest War In American History By Paul Andrew Hutton I love true stories of Native Americans instead of hearing stories how they were all savages and you can’t trust them. Maybe it’s we can’t trust Spanish, Mexicans and the whites eyes. It seems to me that through this beautifully written book you’ll soon find out the other side of the Apache History. You’ll see the History books and teachers only told one side. I feel this book tells the other side and you should know the other side and the truth!!!! I also feel that the Indians are not the savages but the rest of the people that invaded their land are the savages, read and see how you feel about the history of the Apaches. This book made me mad, made me cry, and made me ashamed of how all cultures treated the Indians, yet the Indian paid the ultimate price didn’t they? They are still paying that price. Will you look at the history of the Native American Indians different or just take the lies of all the years you were taught they were the savages. You’ll read about Geronimo, one of the greatest warriors, the captive boy that started the longest war, The Apache kid you’ll read about a lot of great Chiefs, warriors and what they went through. You’ll read about a lot of Generals in the Armies that were back behind killing the Indians wrongfully, lied and got the Indians to trust them. You’ll also see how the Spanish, Mexicans scalped the Indians and even took their ears. This book goes into great detail of the wars of the Apaches and all they truly went through. This is one of the best books I have every read on the American Indians. I recommend this book highly to anyone that truly wants to read a thorough book on the Apaches this is a book for you. I hope Paul Andrew Hutton writes a book on the Cherokee Indians another of my favorite Indians. I love the history of all the Native Indians. I received this beautiful book free from Bloggingforbooks for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review only an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own. 5 Stars ISBN 978-0-7704-3581-3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Casey07 More than 1 year ago
This book by Paul Andrew Hutton is well researched, engaging and an informative read. I read this book because I am interested in native american history in the american southwest. It is the first book by the author that I have read. The subtitle of the book "The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid and the Captive Boy who started the longest war in American History" pretty much covers the overall theme of the book. Mickey Free is the boy referred to above. The book covers the time period from the mid 1800's to the late 1800's as the United States tried to capture the various Apache tribes and confine them to reservations. The major Apache players covered in the book include Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, Geronimo, Victorio, Lozen and the Apache Kid. It addresses why they were difficult to capture and when captured, why they were hard to confine to a reservation. It addresses their beliefs and concerns with changing their way of life. On the other side, major roles were played by O.O. Howard, George Crook, Nelson Miles, Al Sieber, Tom Horn and Kit Carson. The book also deals with Tom Jeffords and Mickey Free and their struggle to balance their lives between the two sides of the struggle. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in southwestern native american history. I received a free copy of the book courtesy of Blogging for Books and Crown, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on my blog, Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes and Noble. I also posted it my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
Not a Light Read. I was a First Read Winner of this book, and was eager to get started. Growing up in Europe I did not know to much about the Indian history and I wanted to learn more about it. This book certainly did that, however it took me a long time to read because I could only take it in small doses. Not because it was badly written but due to violence and brutality of the time. Overall it was very informative, though sometimes my head was spinning a little bit by all the different names and events, and shed some light into that part of history for me. One thing is for sure, this book will stay with me long after I have set it aside.