The Apache Diaries: A Father-Son Journey

Grenville Goodwin, Author, Neil Goodwin, Author, Neil Goodwin, Joint Author University of Nebraska Press $40 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8032-2175-8
During this continent's long and bitterly fought conflict between Native Americans and white invaders, perhaps no people fought more savagely or were more greatly feared than the Apache. Although the so-called Indian Wars officially ended with Geronimo's surrender and the imprisonment of his Chiricahua band in 1886, a small group of reclusive Western Apaches endured in Mexico's Sierra Madre Mountains just south of Arizona and New Mexico. In 1927, long after the West was considered secure from marauding Indians, this small band ambushed a Mexican family, killing the mother and kidnapping her three-year-old son. Settlers retaliated brutally, and the surviving Apaches soon returned to their mountain stronghold. Pursuing them was Grenville Goodwin, a restless but gifted young amateur ethnographer, who investigated the attacks and extensively studied the ""phantom tribe"" before dying suddenly of a brain tumor in 1940 at age 33. Years later, Goodwin's son, Neil, armed with his father's diary, set off to discover his father's enigmatic past and the Apaches he studied. Retracing both his own journey and that of his father's in this workmanlike chronicle, Goodwin--an independent filmmaker whose respected documentaries include Native American subjects--accompanied at times by friends and family, juxtaposes his own journal entries with those of his father. Unfortunately, the contrasting points of view make for an awkward, confusing story, which, coupled with Goodwin's dry narrative, fails to deliver what otherwise might have been a dramatic account. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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