1. The Conquest of Apacheria (Dan L. Thrapp; University of Oklahoma Press): Thrapp set the modern gold standard for books on the Apache Wars with this classic, as well as his impressive biographies of scout Al Sieber (1964) and Apache leader Victorio (1974).

2. From Cochise to Geronimo (Edwin R. Sweeney; University of Oklahoma Press): Sweeney has inherited Thrapp’s mantle as the greatest historian of the Apache Wars with this book covering the Chiricahua Apaches during 1874-86, as well as his important biographies of Cochise (1991) and Mangas Coloradas (1998).

3. Geronimo (Angie Debo; University of Oklahoma Press): This still remains the best biography of the most famous Apache leader, although the forthcoming publication by Yale University Press of Robert Utley’s new biography may change that. Debo, along with Eve Ball (Indeh), pioneered the use of native sources.

4. Mickey Free (Allan Radbourne; Arizona Historical Society): Radbourne rescues this enigmatic scout from obscurity, placing him as an important player in the Apache Wars. This is a marvelous example of meticulous research.

5. Shadows at Dawn: An Apache Massacre and the Violence of History (Karl Jacoby; Penguin): This book offers  a brilliant exploration of the 1871 Camp Grant Massacre by using a Rashomon-like approach to tell the story from four ethnic perspectives. Although an academic work, this engagingly written book will appeal to all readers in terms of both style and substance.


—Paul A. Hutton is currently working on a major tome about the Apaches

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