this book should be required reading. It will make some of its audience
uncomfortable; it will anger a few others; but it will force all thinking
readers to reexamine old stereotypes and preconceptions about Indian-white
relations on the Texas frontier.
Texas A&M University HERBERT H. LANG
The People Called Apache. By Thomas E. Mails. (Englewood Cliffs:
Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1974- Pp. 447. Illustrations, bibliography, index,
Several months ago, I listened to a telephone conversation between a
fellow historian and a copy editor of a prominent New York publishing
house. I smiled as I watched the historian's growing frustration. Repeatedly
he attempted to explain to the editor why he thought the Indians about
whom he wrote should be called Ojo Caliente rather than something which
suited the editor more and him less. After finally persuading the editor to
"just let it alone," he put down the receiver and remarked to me that he
was no longer sure whether anybody knew anything about any of the
people called Apache. He now has an answer-Thomas Mails does.
The People Called Apache equals or exceeds the work Mails did with
his other two beautiful books on American Indians, The Mystic Warriors
of the Plains and Dog Soldiers, Bear Men and Buffalo Women. And it
should. Mails has a powerful subject to pursue, and his cognizance of this
fact is evident in his introduction: "Wherever he is, an Apache is distinctly
an Apache, an intensely human and compellingly unique individual."
By profusely illustrating practically every detail of his text with a photograph
or a sketch (over 300 photos and 200 charcoal drawings) the author-artist
succeeds in making the legendary Apache people "intensely human" and
"compellingly unique" to the reader in a fashion and to a degree not
previously achieved between the covers of a single book. Of course, Mails
acknowledges his debt to previously published cultural studies and to the
narratives of such fine historians as Harry T. Getty, Dan L. Thrapp, Charles
L. Sonnichsen, and Gordon C. Baldwin. But from that point he brings his
subject to life with a power given only to the artist. Therein is his great
contribution. A picture may indeed be worth a thousand words.
The book focuses on the Western Apache (Arizona), whose subtribal
groups are given as Northern Tonto, Southern Tonto, Cibecue, White
Mountain, and San Carlos; the Chiricahua Apache (Arizona), with sub-
tribes designated as Central Band, Southern Band, and Eastern Band; the
Mescalero (New Mexico); and the Jicarilla Apache (New Mexico), sub-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed March 6, 2015.