Message #220

Date: Sun, 02 Aug 1998 20:11:39
Subject: " Mangas Coloradas, Chief of the Chiricahua
Apaches " -- A Book Review 

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

From:	Lynda A. Sanchez, author-historian,
	P.O. Box 67, Lincoln, NM 88338; (505) 653-4821

SPECIAL:	News Release / Book Review
TOPIC:	Apache; Southwestern History

Mangas Coloradas, Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches
University of Oklahoma Press,
1005 Asp Avenue, Norman, 73019

600 plus pages, 3 maps, photos, extensive notes, index
and bibliography $34.95, cloth

Buy the Book Today! 

Edwin R. Sweeney, noted author and one of the
Southwest's premier authorities on the Chiricahua
Apaches prior to 1886 first gave us COCHISE, and now
comes his most recent book about MANGAS COLORADAS. It
is a heart rending account of one of the Southwest's
finest leaders, and is a natural follow up to the
first, dispelling many myths, and half truths about
this giant of a man among the Chiricahua who
personified the attributes of any great commander:
courage, diplomacy, kindness and generosity, wisdom
and foresight.

Most aficionados of New Mexico history are unaware
that Mangas was a legend in his own time and a
father-in-law of the famous Cochise. He was incredibly
tall for an Apache (well over 6' 4") so made a visual
impact where ever he appeared. He was a man at peace
with himself and his domain. One of his favorite
rancherias was Santa Rita del Cobre near Silver City.
Ironically, it was close to this site that he was
brutally murdered by a race he tried to befriend.
Unfortunately, trying to make peace with the advancing
horde of white settlers, ranchers and miners was like
trying to swim against a rip tide.

However, that was usually his stand, peace first, but
when betrayed, he turned on his tormentors and wreaked
havoc on both sides of the border. Even in death this
was true and his cruel betrayal by the military caused
the Apache wars to continue their bloody swath through
settlements and lonely ranches for more than two
decades as his people sought to prevent greedy
encroachment into their territory.

He had won his reputation as a warrior in battle with
treacherous military leaders from Sonora who used just
about every miserable and degrading trick to destroy
all Apaches. For over four decades his tactics saved
his people as they tried to co-exist with the Mexican.

Furthermore, because so many of his activities
occurred in Mexico, we have limited documentation of
events, battles and general history. However, Mr.
Sweeney is a magnificent researcher who not only
examined archives on both sides of the border but
traversed his beloved Southwest, visiting forts,
battle fields, and sacred sites.

An added bonus is that we learn about Apache leaders
with whom the American is basically unfamiliar. Musical
names such as Costales, Narbona, Matfas, Reyes, Pisago
Cabezon, and even Mangas's Mexican name of Fuerte will,
for the first time, be discussed with more than just a
few words about their contribution to the Apache legacy.

The book also presents blistering commentary regarding
both the military and civilians of that day-those who
pushed ever forward in their relentless quest for
Manifest Destiny. Mangas, according to Sweeney,
"forfeited his life to an autocratic military regime
in New Mexico that had abandoned its own moral and
religious values." One could say the same for the
majority of the white population as well.

Academicians will be impressed with the book's well
researched facets. The general reader will appreciate
the passion and intriguing story of Mangas though they
might wish for the old fashioned photo sections where
glossy paper does justice to their material. In a
visually oriented society such as ours readers enjoy
unique illustrations and detail. Other than that, their
view of the Apache warrior culture will be enhanced.

As he did previously for Cochise, Ed Sweeney has crafted
an incredible story about Mangas. These two men
deserved, and now have their life story before the world.

Buy the Book Today!

SASIG Ed. Note -- See also:
A Behavioral Approach to the Recognition of Inconspicuous Apachean Sites