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Geronimo's Story of His Life

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  952 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
In this, one of Native American history's most extraordinary documents, a legendary warrior and shaman recounts the beliefs and customs of his people. Completely and utterly authentic, its captivating narrator is Geronimo himself, who describes his early life and his family, rituals related to hunting and religion, and his military tactics.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1906)
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Debbie Zapata
Dec 23, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saturday
This edition of Geronimo's life story has a fascinating introduction by Frederick Turner that provides background not only for Geronimo's life, but for the shameful attitudes held by the white man towards the Apache and other Native Americans.

Geronimo was only convinced to share his life story after hearing that then-President Theodore Roosevelt approved of S. M. Barrett's idea. Barrett had met Geronimo and become friends with him during the warrior's captivity at Fort Sill Oklahoma, where he s
I would not read this as an autobiography but as a statement and witness of events from a prisoner to his capturer. Reading this feels like we get to sit next to this old man, his wrinkled face still emanates great power and his presence inspires respect to those near him. We can almost hear him speak right next to us with a gruff voice in a language we don't understand and the interpreter is sitting there right next to us, almost just as spellbound as we are.
This is a historical document about
Dr. Carl Ludwig Dorsch
Sep 06, 2009 Dr. Carl Ludwig Dorsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lives

Excellent commentary on the occupation and cyclical violence thus engendered.

The entirety of the 1906 edition can be downloded at:

From S. M. Barrett's Introduction:

On June 2d, 1906, I transmitted the complete manuscript to the War Department. The following quotation is from the letter of transmission:

“In accordance with endorsement number eight of the ‘Brief’ submitted to me by the commanding officer of Fort Sill, which endorsement constituted the instruc
Jul 24, 2012 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memoirs told largely in the words of Geronimo himself with the help of a trusted Indian translator. As a result, the reading and syntax are simple making for quick reading.

Geronimo's memoirs open with the Apache account of the beginning of the world, which involves one divine creator named Ussen. The number four figures prominently in the Apache creation account and becomes personally important for Geronimo as he is the fourth of a family of four girls and four boys. It's a sign of his destiny.
Oct 23, 2008 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wrote a short piece on Geronimo on my Blog The Evitable, ( was based on a close reading of a couple of chapters and a skim of some of the rest, but I'm now reading it through, having bought a copy second hand at a church book sale last week along with a biography of Tecumseh I plan to read soon as well.
I read about him first because a columnist in a Toronto paper, in passing, referred to him as a 'futile intifadist' who was implacable in refusing to accomo
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Geronimo tells us the story of his life and the history of his people. One of the most heartbreaking books I have ever read.
Aug 26, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
The LibriVox audiobook was very well read.
Aug 07, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not great literature but an interesting biography and some history from another perspective.
V Dixon
Sep 16, 2011 V Dixon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I wonder: did he want to say more? Where in the process did he lose his fighting spirit? Would Cochise, Victorious, Lozen, Mangus and the other warriors have been ok with his ending...
The good thing about reading this book is you are hearing the warrior Geronimo's perspective which is a welcome change. Where has that fierce fighting spirit gone? I wish he had died a warrior's death instead of becoming ill as the result of getting drunk and falling asleep in the rain and not being disco
Aug 16, 2012 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the Wes Studi movie with some fondness, although I don't think it's survived time terribly well, so when I was searching for a biography by which to put my wife to sleep, I thought, hmm, an interesting Native American biography might be a nice switchup from the mostly Anglo-Europeans we've been reading for her pre-snore sleep-induction - yes, I read my wife bedtime stories, so she can get to sleep before I do. However, this biography while Genonimo's own story, seems lacking in detail ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the history of Native Americans
Superb book! First and foremost it is a story of a great man, who believed he had been done wrong by first Mexicans and then Americans. He developed a hatred for Mexicans because of what was done to him and his family. He went to war with The US, but always had respect for our government and way of life. Later in life Geronimo because a Christian. This I did not know. In reading this book, we see through Geronimo's eyes the ways of his people. To the average American, this would be a hard life, ...more
Oliver Eike
This book is of momentus importance. Geronimo telling his story, after it was cencored at the time by his jailors. It makes you wonder just what was left out.

The pace of the biography is that of Geronimo telling the tale of his life to the writer, which sets for an easy read, but the insights into the man that has become legend, is invaluable. It shows a man who quickly grew to be a hard man, one who did not see anything wrong with killing his enemies. But still were so naive and eager to trust
Jagadeesh Andrew  Owens
It's difficult for me to feel any sympathy for this man on a personal, one-on-one level. A man who says "On our return through Old Mexico we attacked every Mexican found, even if for no other reason than to kill." is not one I find to be pitiable. To the very end of his freedom, he was a murderer, a looter, and a plunderer, taking what he wanted and killing to get it. However, lamentable is the fact that he and his people were so treacherously treated by the United States Army and Government. Mo ...more
May 17, 2008 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janice by: People who love the history of the Native Americans.
Shelves: western, historical
I read this when my husband was going to BYU and was taking American Indian History or something like that. It made me sad for Geronimo and his people.

Geronimo's fascinating story begins with an Apache creation myth. He discusses his early life, his family, his battles against the Mexicans, his conflict with United States forces, and his life as a prisoner-of-war under U.S. military control. I was especially interested by his descriptions of the military tactics he used. Geronimo also discusses
Mar 09, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about Geronimo's words. (His real name, Goyaałé, is never mentioned in the tranlastion.) His journey from warrior to side show attraction is heart breaking in its naivete -- his terror and confusion at an elevator ride to a lookout tower at the World's Fair is particularly poignant -- but I also find the violent actions, both his and his US and Mexican adversaries, deplorable. It was a terribly violent time by most standards, yet little more than a lifetime ago. It doesn't ...more
Todd Myers
Apr 11, 2015 Todd Myers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very brief overview of the life of Geronimo, told by him to S.M. Barrett. He goes through the origin story, according to the Apache, some of the raids he led against the people of Mexico and his dislike of the Mexicans, also many other customs of the Apache, as well as the treaty/surrender he agreed to, and how the US Government did not keep their end of the deal. At the time of this telling he was 76 and a prisoner of war at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where he stayed until his death in 1909. A qu ...more
Ken Mccafferty
Very interesting so far. It is his auto-biography as told to an interpreter. 3/28/10- I have finished the book. It is an easy read. It sheds Gerinomo's light upon how his people were treated by the US Government. What was really cool is that he talkes a lot about the areas of Arizona that his people inhabited and I know of those areas from a recent trip there. I wish that he would have spoken more about his day to day life. He talks mostly of his frequent skirmishes with the Mexican people.
Oct 08, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Narrated by Geronimo himself then translated and transcribed to English, this book had simple language that made it a quick read. I could easily imagine the old man sitting in front of me telling his story. His life is fascinating: heavily nomadic and on the brink of life and death. His story was most interesting for the small tidbits about how he lived, his nine wives, range of his daily travels, and his opinions of Americans and Mexicans. Highly recommended because of the small time investment ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Lis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine you could sit an old Geronimo down and just let him talk and tell you all about his life, in his own words. Well, someone did just that, and wrote it down, with just the occasional editorial footnote for clarification and to claim no responsibility for any shit talking Geronimo did along the way. I recently spent a lot of time in Arizona, which I'm not crazy about but too the opportunity to see some of it's museums and natural beauty (e.g. Grand Canyon, Superstition Mountain). Couldn't l ...more
Dec 31, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating historical document, told by Geronimo in his own words, from his perspective. He told his story through a native interpreter to S. M. Barrett, an Oklahoma school superintendent. Barrett explains in his introduction, "I wrote to President Roosevelt that here was an old Indian who had been held a prisoner of war for twenty years and had never been given a chance to tell his side of the story, and asked that Geronimo be granted permission to tell for publication, in his own way, the s ...more
Liesje Leest
The autobiography of Apache leader Geronimo is an interesting historical document as it tells the story of Geronimo's life from his own point of view. He has had a fascinating life in a world that changes so fast it's hard for anyone to deal with. And it's sad to see how his world falls apart, how his people are driven from their own lands.

The book is also very short and not very in-dept, unfortunately. A quick and interesting read, although I wish it would cover more subjects, he must have had
Nov 01, 2013 Devero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Come tutte le autobiografie di nativi americani raccolte tra la fine del XIX e l'inizio del XX secolo, anche questa è molto disomogenea, nonostante il tentativo del curatore di creare un filo conduttore etnico-cronologico. Il fatto è che deriva da diverse interviste ricche di divagazioni, racconti in parte poi modificati, punti di vista diversi della stessa persona su fatti accaduti magari 50 anni prima.
Come lettura è molto interessante, ma non bisogna prendere per vero tutto ciò che è scritto.
Jan 19, 2014 Raymond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read about the treatment of the Indians. It would appear that all have some fault in not getting along but for the most part the US Government signed an agreement and broke it numerous times. This has been a reoccurring problem with all treaties with the numerous tribes.

Side note-- to all those that oppose immigration reform-- All of us except for the Indians are Immigrants. It is a black mark on the US in how they have dealt with the true people of the land.
Brian Overton
Dec 31, 2015 Brian Overton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I read this with Chief Dan George (best known to me as Lone Watie in The Outlaw Josey Wales) as the voice of Geronimo. It was interesting to get Geronimo's side of the story and especially to compare it to the various epistles from the US Army officers. His versions of events seem (not surprisingly) more believable. The book itself is a little dry and jumps around a lot with one event/skirmish sounding a lot like the rest but still worth the time to read.
I'm not an American and I started reading this book out of pure interest for the history of US and Indian population. I was not disappointed, but full title seems a bit misleading to me -- I didn't see a lot of ferocity in Geronimo's actions. It's rather a story of small nation (or tribe, if you like) that got ground by historic processes.
This was an interesting book. There were some interesting points throughout the story about the Indians that I didn't know (I thought I did). Geronimo, discussed the Apache' religious beliefs, becoming a Warrior, tribal life, and skirmishes with the Mexicans. Of course, there were Geronimo's story concerning the US Calvary and the many treaties struck with the US government.
Mar 21, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in the words of Geronimo himself with the help of an interpreter, this book is very enlightening. If you are interested in the history of the Native Americans journey as told by a famous warrior himself, you will love this book. You will learn his thoughts about how his tribe, the Apaches, were treated by US Generals and even past Presidents.
Stephen Inkpen
Oct 19, 2015 Stephen Inkpen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
started reading this book this morning and just finished it. amazing to read it as it was in the words of Geronimo himself, it was almost as if this great leader was sitting in my chair telling me his life story. tragic and optimistic this life story should be taught in schools the world over.
Charles E Barr
Aug 24, 2015 Charles E Barr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful story

This factual account reflects a period when the west began to be occupied by the white man. Reading his book one will find much that may be verified with other writings of the Apache.
Petter Nordal
Aug 02, 2010 Petter Nordal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a tremendous book, whether you know anything about Geronimo or not. He dictated the book, beginning at the beginning of time, and going right through his imprisonment and exposition at the St. Louis World's Fair.
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“I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.
— Geronimo 1829 – 1909 Apache”
“During my many wars with the Mexicans I received eight wounds, as follows: shot in the right leg above the knee, and still carry the bullet; shot through the left forearm; wounded in the right leg below the knee with a saber; wounded on top of the head with the butt of a musket; shot just below the outer corner of the left eye; shot in left side; shot in the back. I have killed many Mexicans; I do not know how many, for frequently I did not count them. Some of them were not worth counting.” 2 likes
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