Captivity was endemic in Arizona from the end of the Mexican-American War through its statehood in 1912. The practice crossed cultures: Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Mexicans, and whites kidnapped and held one another captive. Victoria Smith's narrative history of the practice of taking captives in early Arizona shows how this phenomenon held Arizonans of all races in uneasy bondage that chafed social relations during the era. It also maps the social complex that accompanied captivity, a complex that included orphans, childlessness, acculturation, racial constructions, redemption, reintegration, intermarriage, and issues of heredity and environment.
This in-depth work offers an absorbing account of decades of seizure and kidnapping and of the different “captivity systems” operating within Arizona. By focusing on the stories of those taken captive—young women, children, the elderly, and the disabled, all of whom are often missing from southwestern history—Captive Arizona, 1851–1900 complicates and enriches the early social history of Arizona and of the American West.
Victoria Smith is an associate professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the editor of the award–winning book No One Ever Asked Me: The World War II Memoirs of an Omaha Indian Soldier (Nebraska 2008).
"By focusing on the stories of those taken captive, particularly young women, children, the elderly and disabled, the book complicates and enriches the early social history of Arizona and the American West in a way that opens the mind and expands the perspective."—Time Out for Entertainment
"Captive Arizona is an important contribution to the scholarly study of Native American, Mexican, and Anglo captives during territorial times in Arizona."—Todd W. Bostwick, Military History of the West