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