THE APACHE DIARIES by Grenville Goodwin


A Father-Son Journey
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An American ethnographer's journal of a 1930 sojourn with a band of renegade Apaches living in Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains, published now for the first time, along with his son's account of travels in his father's footsteps.

Grenville Goodwin, the author of two scholarly studies of Apache Indians, died in 1940 at the age of 33 while his wife was still pregnant with their son, Neil. The young Neil was to grow up obsessed with his father's adventures, but it was not until 1962 that Neil's mother would dust off a journal of Grenville's explorations that had been packed away in an attic. To an admiring son whose imagination was fired with visions of his unknown father’s travels among the Indians, it was a treasure trove—and an itinerary. Between 1978 and 1999, Neil (now a documentary filmmaker with a wife and son) made six trips to Arizona and Mexico, then spliced his own diary with his father's, creating a parallax view of his father and the people he studied. Called the Ndendaa'i (``the People who Make Trouble'') by the Apaches on American reservations, this loose band of mixedbreed Indians refused to surrender with Geronimo in 1886 and survived in later years by raiding settlers and kidnapping children (whom they subsequently raised as Apaches). Grenville, born into a wealthy Connecticut family, came west to cure his tuberculosis and began to study native Americans at the University of Arizona when he heard that a punitive expedition was being organized to wipe out the mountain renegades. Hoping to study the group before it was wiped out, Grenville found their encampments, lived briefly among them, and learned some of their language. Half-a-century later, Neil found some of these encampments, fleshed out his father's studies, and gained insights into his father's restless character.

An all-too-short, manylayered tale that succeeds as a roots memoir, detective story, and revelation of tragically tangled bloodlines.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8032-2175-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2000


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