This is the story of the last great Apache was as told through the character of Josanie, Chihuahua’s older brother and the established war captain of his Chokonen band. Clashing with much larger American and Mexican forces, Josanie’s warriors terrorized parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Chihuahua, and Sonora.
Karl H. Schlesier carefully interweaves fictional chapters with historical documents—military records, eyewitness accounts, and newspaper reports—and Apache songs and stories. Incorporating intimate glimpses of Apache life and culture, including a recounting of the gotál, or New Life, ritual of Apache girls, Schlesier tells the dramatic story of Josanie’s people and of their fight to the death for a Chiricahua homeland.
“Josanie’s War is a lovingly and meticulously recreated account of an epic struggle by a band of some sixteen warriors and thirty women and children against the combined military forces of both the United States and Mexican governments—forces that seek to deceive Josanie’s band into a false resettlement agreement. In historical fiction, the story of the Chiricahua chief Geronimo is well-known and in general has given the Apaches the reputation of ‘marauders.’ Karl Schlesier’s fictional narrative of Josanie’s band focuses on the lesser-known and more poignant side of the Chiricahua-white conflict and traces the roots of injustice and prejudice with great clarity and understanding. Schlesier’s knowledge of the physical terrain, wildlife, battle sites, and climatic factors adds to the narrative and is truly amazing.”—Bruce Cutler, author of The Massacre at Sand Creek: Narrative Voices