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Wars for Empire
Apaches, the United States, and the Southwest Borderlands
$34.95 Hardcover

After the end of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1848, the Southwest Borderlands remained hotly contested territory. Over following decades, the United States government exerted control in the Southwest by containing, destroying, segregating, and deporting indigenous peoples—in essence conducting an extended military campaign that culminated with the capture of Geronimo and the forced removal of the Chiricahua Apaches in 1886. In this book, Janne Lahti charts these encounters and the cultural differences that shaped them. Wars for Empire offers a new perspective on the conduct, duration, intensity, and ultimate outcome of one of America's longest wars.

Centuries of conflict with Spain and Mexico had honed Apache war-making abilities and encouraged a culture based in part on warrior values, from physical prowess and specialized skills to a shared belief in individual effort. In contrast, U.S. military forces lacked sufficient training and had little public support. The splintered, protracted, and ferocious warfare exposed the limitations of the U.S. military and of federal Indian policies, challenging narratives of American supremacy in the West. Lahti maps the ways in which these weaknesses undermined the U.S. advance. He also stresses how various Apache groups reacted differently to the U.S. invasion. Ultimately, new technologies, the expansion of Euro-American settlements, and decades of war and deception ended armed Apache resistance.

By comparing competing martial cultures and examining violence in the Southwest, Wars for Empire provides a new understanding of critical decades of American imperial expansion and a moment in the history of settler colonialism with worldwide significance.

About The Author
Janne Lahti, Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Helsinki, Finland, is the author of Soldiers in the Southwest Borderlands, 1848–1886 and Cultural Construction of Empire: The U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico. His articles have been published in numerous journals focusing on southwestern U.S. history.

Reviews & Praise
“The question Wars for Empire poses is why the United States engaged in a forty-year struggle to suppress fewer than 10,000 Apaches following the U.S.-Mexican War. The answers Janne Lahti provides in this book are thought-provoking and a bit unsettling. Lahti argues that whereas Apaches fought for survival, the United States saw the Apache wars as an expression of national unity based on racial and cultural superiority. This well-written study probes motives at once deeply complex and nuanced.”—Kathleen P. Chamberlain, author of Victorio, Apache Warrior and Chief

This volume takes the reader into the labyrinth of conflicting interests, failed policies, and ethnocentric drives that characterized the era. With the story covering so large a theatre over so many decades, maps would have made the text more illuminating and easier to follow. Nonetheless, the reader will end up with a good understanding of this sad chapter in American history.— TheJournal of America’s Military Past

“Any reader seeking to learn why the Apaches could outfight, outrun, and outmaneuver the regulars for so long should begin here.”—The Journal of Military History

Book Information
13 b&w illus., 1 map
328 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-5742-9
Kindle 978-0-8061-5932-4
e-pub 978-0-8061-5933-1
Published October 2017