cover image In Geronimo's Footsteps: A Journey Beyond Legend

In Geronimo's Footsteps: A Journey Beyond Legend

Corine Sombrun and Harlyn Geronimo, trans. from the French by E.C. Belli. Skyhorse/Arcade, $24.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-61145-896-1

French shaman Sombrun traveled to New Mexico after experiencing a vision that encouraged her to write about Geronimo. In this alternating narrative, she relates the story of her meeting with Harlyn Geronimo, a medicine man and great-grandson of the legendary Apache chief, as he shares the life story of his famous ancestor. Sombrun offers fascinating background on her role as a Mongolian shaman and the tribe with which she apprenticed, though her narrative is overfilled with minutiae of everyday life, down to mentions of cell phones and candy wrappers. Her stream-of-consciousness recollection of that single day in Mongolia lacks in-depth thoughts and details on her shamanic experience but the book is rescued by the wealth of information on Apache culture and the earnestness of Harlyn's desire to repatriate his great-grandfather's bones from Fort Sill to Apache land near the Gila River in New Mexico. The dual narrative can be jarring, but the difficulties the Apache people and nation have endured are clearly laid out. The chapters are interspersed with short segments of Apache legend, written in the Apache language with translations. Patient readers with an interest in shamanic or Native American traditions will find much of interest here. (Nov.)