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Riding With Cochise: The Apache Story of America’s Longest War

By Ethan Nahté

When it comes to biographies on the legendary Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise, there are dozens of accounts directly about the warrior or inclusion in the biographies of other well-known warriors and chiefs who he rode with, such as Geronimo, Mangas Coloradas and Victorio. Each of these Apache and more are included in “Riding With Cochise: The Apache Story of America’s Longest War” (Skyhorse Publishing) by Steve Price.

Cochise is also frequently brought up in biographies on military figures such as Gen. George Crook or Lt. Charles Gatewood.

Then there are people such as Lt. George Bascom, whom some might consider almost single-handedly caused much of the unnecessary violence and bloodshed. The Apache had been fighting European and American encroachment of their land for 250 years, but the wars and battles directly involving Cochise and those aforementioned lasted approximately 25 years. The end result was treaties filled with lies and imprisonment, not to mention attempts at eradicating their culture and heritage.

Not to say the indigenous people were innocent of crimes, but the details Price writes of basically left the Apache (and other tribes) with little or no recourse but to fight for survival like a feral beast cornered in their own den.

Price does not deliver history in a wholly chronological manner as he weaves the tale correlating the ties between the chiefs, tribes and their enemies. He provides a chapter on the Americans, delivering insight to key military personnel and/or trappers, scouts and bounty hunters. Then Price provides a chapter on historical places to visit that relate to those historical moments. This is followed by a chapter regarding a specific Apache chief, their families and people.

In this format, the book alternates, painting a portrait with photography and words of a historical drama through an area mainly comprised of what is now New Mexico, Arizona, western Texas, and across the border into Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico. Price takes the reader through the battles and great escapes that go for hundreds of miles filled with deep canyons and towering mountain ranges that seemingly few but the Apache could ascend and disappear while being searched for by thousands, as well as the famous Apache Pass.

The number of white men the Apache trusted or respected could probably be counted on one hand. Price does an excellent job of showing the good and the bad actions and intentions from all sides of the story, including the Mexican military and government. They are a big part of this story, as well. Honest efforts at peace were made on several occasions by the Americans and the Apache, with the results rarely turning out for the better. Subterfuge and ambush were more in line for several of the key people involved in heinous acts of savagery.

Price had the great fortune to interview both Freddie Kay-dah-zinne (Nov. 8, 1949 – Dec. 2, 2020), great-great-grandson of Cochise, and Harlyn Geronimo, the great-grandson of Geronimo. He also interviewed others from various Apache tribes who had ties to these men. He did his homework and cited several other historical books and authors. As a former New Mexico resident, he visited the locations he speaks of, handily providing specific directions in the of places of interest chapters.
Overall, Price does an excellent job in taking the reader along for a wild ride through the Wild West and exposing the bloody skeletons of its past.

Another thing book lovers will immediately pick up on is the quality of this 220-page book. The hardcover has a beautiful painting by David Nordahl. The paper is high-quality, slick glossy and case binding, meaning this is a well-made book that’ll last readers for years to come. The book is available through Skyhorse Publishing and other major booksellers.

Price now resides in the Mena area. He is the author of 17 books and has written more than 3,500 magazine articles ranging from American history to wildlife, fishing and hunting to nature photography.

His photography, which is included throughout “Riding With Cochise,” has also appeared in several other books and magazines, including National Geographic, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Field & Stream, in which he serves as one of their contributing editors. He gave a photography program in March for the Ouachita Photography Club at the Mena Art Gallery.

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