Brad's Reviews > Geronimo: The True Story of America's Most Ferocious Warrior

Geronimo by Geronimo
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Jun 30, 2012

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Read from June 30 to July 06, 2012

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.

His life changes when his wife and small children are butchered by an attack from Mexicans. It's hard to hold back tears while reading his recollection of this, and in one sense you never stop feeling sympathy for him as his life progresses. His whole life is controlled by this one tragic event, which sets him on a trajectory of vengeance and bloodshed. (Pardon the genre blending here, but it very much reminded me of the vengeful and transformative trajectory Anakim Skywalker launched into after the murder of his mom.) Even at the end of life, and even after all he endured by the emerging U.S., he still expresses nothing but raw hatred for Mexicans. He wishes he were still a young man so he could go on the warpath again against Mexicans. What might be saddest of all is that Geronimo spent his entire life pursuing vengeance and as a aged man it's still left him hollow, grieving, and worst of all unsatisfied.

On a lighter note, Geronimo does provide his humorous, albeit unintended, recollections of the St. Louis World's Fair, which come off sounding like some long lost Dave Barry article.

His memoir ends rather abruptly and closes with a letter of gratitude to President Roosevelt for letting his story be told.

Along with a certain kind of admiration and deep sympathy for Geronimo, when the book ended I felt very much like I did when I walked under the ironmongery at Aushwitz bearing the words "Arbeit Macht Frei." One "evil" race was involved there. Three were involved in this story-Mexicans, Apaches, and Americans. Who will deliver us from the blood on the hands of the entire human race? Who will take the book and opens its seals?
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