The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History

This is the story of the Apache Wars--a quarter-century of struggle that dominated the history of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. This now legendary struggle, a saga of blood, power, family, and revenge is a tale of high adventure with remarkable acts of heroism and brutality. Here is not only the story of the enigmatic Micky Free, but also of his contemporaries: the great Apache chiefs Mangas Coloradas, Cochise and Victorio; the warrior woman and seer Lozen and the great White Mountain scout Alchesay; the fierce warrior Geronimo whose life was one long quest for vengeance; the soldiers Kit Carson, George Crook, O.O. Howard, and Nelson Miles; and the frontiersmen Al Sieber, Tom Horn, Tom Jeffords, and Texas John Slaughter; and finally the romantic and mysterious Apache Kid.

These lives shaped the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the Southwestern borderlands--a bleak, unforgiving landscape where every plant bore a barb, every insect a stinger, every bird a talon, every reptile a fang--an inhospitable, deadly environment, known to the outside world as Apacheria. In this unforgiving world the one-eyed deeply scarred Mickey Free was perfectly at home. Against this backdrop Mickey Free's story unfolds as the Apaches make a long, unforgettable last stand and Geronimo becomes enshrined in American legend. When the war ends so also ends the now mythic, wild era we call the American frontier.


"Paul Hutton is one the great scholars of Western Americana, but he's also a natural born storyteller, with a rare gift for locating the deep ironies that suffuse history. Hutton has brought this sere landscape—and this classic clash of the borderlands—to pungent life on the page." —Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and In the Kingdom of Ice

“A fast-paced, well-written page-turner. Hutton gives an excellent account of individuals, both Native American and White, who contested for control of the Southwest in the 19th Century.” —R. David Edmunds, Watson Professor of American History, University of Texas at Dallas

“Hutton captures the intensity and drama of the history of both sides in this vibrant segment of western history.” —Robert M. Utley, author of Geronimo and The Lance and the Shield

“After reading this masterfully researched and written book I thanked my lucky stars for Paul Hutton. It took an author and historian of his caliber to at long last deliver the definitive explanation of the longest war in the nation's history. The wait was worth it. By using the legendary Apache scout and manhunter Mickey Free as a vehicle to tell the story, Hutton cuts through layers of myth exposing one of the most exciting and pivotal episodes in the annals of the American West.” —Michael Wallis, author of The Wild West: 365 Days

"Humane, insightful, and vivid, The Apache Wars immerses readers in the rugged landscape of Apacheria, the meeting ground and battlefield of nations. In telling the gripping story of the Apaches' long fight against Mexico and the United States, Hutton proves once again why he is a great writer as well as a great historian." —T.J. Stiles, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America

“[A] sprawling, fascinating tale of conflict in the late 19th-century American southwest...Hutton moves beyond standard descriptions of battles between Apache warriors and American troops (though there are plenty of those) to paint a larger, more detailed picture of Southwestern life... Hutton provides an unexpected twist that keeps the story fresh until the end.” —Publishers Weekly

General George Crook with Apache Scouts at Camp Apache in 1874. Mickey Free is kneeling in the center of the front row--looking quite Irish for an Apache scout.

Crook meets with Geronimo at Canyon de los Embudos on March 25, 1886. Geronimo surrendered but then bolted and the war continued.