Shadows at Dawn: A Borderland Massacre and the Violence of History

At dawn on April 30, 1871, armed vigilantes quietly invaded a camp of sleeping Apache Indians near Fort Grant in Arizona: "They succeeded...in killing perhaps as many as a hundred and forty-four , almost all of them sleeping women and children," writes Brown University historian Jacoby in this in-depth and multi-dimensional examination of the largely forgotten Fort Grant Massacre. Jacoby skillfully explores the deadly events from the point of view of all involved, including the whites, Mexicans, and Pima Indians who did the killing as well as the Apaches who were the victims of the terrorism. Instead of placing the massacre into a triumphalist narrative or using it merely as evidence of Anglo genocide against American Indians, Jacoby works from the bottom up, meticulously examining the backgrounds and motivations of all involved. The Mexicans, for example, joined in the massacre because of Apache raids on their cattle; Pima and whites used similar justifications of self-defense in a climate of scarce resources. Yet Mexican and American expansionism seriously threatened the Apaches' nomadic way of life. Federal policy wanted to place Indians on reservations, but many Arizona whites (and Mexicans) followed a de facto policy of extermination. The breadth and depth of Jacoby's historical recounting casts new light on this dark episode, yet he cautions, "A multitude of narratives flow into and out of the events of April 30, 1871," and no single "meaning" emerges as definitive.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.