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100 Classic Hikes in Arizona
By Scott S. Warren. Mountaineer Books. 253 pp. Index. . $21.95.

An avid hiker and writer for outdoor magazines, Warren delivers in his choices of some of the most popular hikes in the state and good descriptions of each.
19th Wife, The
By David Ebershoff. Random House. 514 pp. $26.00.
Top Pick
In this engrossing novel, Ebershoff interweaves the fictionalized autobiography of Eliza Ann Young, the real-life apostate nineteenth wife of Mormon prophet Brigham Young, and a modern-day murder mystery involving a polygamous sect in southern Utah. Ebershoff is an accomplished storyteller who has done his research and who has thought long and hard about the Mormon experience and the effects of plural marriage on husbands, wives, and children. Ultimately, he explores a question that lays at the heart of all religious experience - how and why do people cling to faith even when their religion has failed them. This is both an entertaining read and a sensitive, deeply nuanced portrait of Mormonism's evolution and the legacy of its most controversial doctrine. []

7 True Stories
By Victor Estrella. Wheatmark. 67 pp. . $11.95.
Truck driver Victor Estrella shares his encounters with the mysterious and occult. A haunted mansion, balls of lightning, and a wailing woman appear and disappear. []

ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish
By K. B. Basseches, Armando Jiménez, Moisés Jiménez, Cynthia Weill. Cinco Puntos Press. . $14.95.

Wood sculptures from Oaxaca, Mexico illustrate this bilingual alphabet book.
About My Life and the Kept Woman: a Memoir
By John Rechy. Grove Press. 356 pp. . $24.00.

Born in Depression-era El Paso of a Mexican mother and Scottish father, award-winning novelist John Rechy examines how he came to terms with the way his heritage and sexuality set him apart, and how he resisted being defined by men and women who wanted him to be something he was not. Richey is the best-selling author of City of Night among other notable titles.
Adventures of Slim and Howdy, The: a Novel
By Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Bill Fitzhugh. Center Street. 257 pp. . $22.99.

Country music duo Brooks and Dunn team up on a novel about the adventures of two Texas cowboys who ride the range in their pickup truck and try the musical stage. Their lives as they wish they could be? Or were?
Anatomy of the Grand Canyon: Panoramas of the Canyon's Geology
By W. Kenneth Hamblin. Grand Canyon Association. 143 pp. Index. $49.95.
Magnificent panoramic photos of the Grand Canyon are keyed to the layered rock formations, geologic faults, and place names. The result is an exceptionally vivid and clear portrayal of the canyon’s geology. Kenneth Hamblin strived to show “the canyon’s fundamental features, the sequence of rocks,” and geologic structure. And he does. The panoramas give the sense of standing on the rim or in the canyon. I do wish he had talked a bit about his camera and panorama photography. A beautiful book. []

Ancestral Landscapes of the Pueblo World
By James E. Snead. University of Arizona Press. 208 pp. Index. . $45.00.
In its 100+ year history the discipline we know as archaeology has developed, and cycled through, a variety of theoretical frameworks aimed at understanding what prehistoric life in the Southwest was like. Snead picks up the philosophical cudgel, so to speak, aiming at understanding how prehistoric pueblo life fitted into the world in which it existed. A book for professionals to chew on, ponder, and criticize. []

Ancestral Zuni Glaze-Decorated Pottery: Viewing Pueblo IV Regional Organization Through Ceramic Production and Exchange
By Deborah L. Huntley. University of Arizona Press. 112 pp. Index. . $17.95.
The glazes used on Zuni pottery reveals a wide network of trade and social interaction. This technical report demonstrates the importance of ore sources and isotopes in determining points of manufacture and dispersed trade, and it proposes additional exchanges and implications. “For people living in the Zuni region during the Pueblo IV period, social boundaries and interactions were permeable and defined at multiple scales” (page 81). []

Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau
By Ronald C. Blakey, Wayne Ranney. Grand Canyon Association. 156 pp. Index. $34.95.
When we think of geologic time, the Grand Canyon’s slice of eons comes to mind. But this book takes the canyon’s history back into deep geology, back 1.75 billion years, when much of what we think of as North America was covered by ocean. This imaginative recreation is portrayed by photos, paintings, and charts, and backed by a sound understanding of plate tectonic geology. You don’t need much knowledge of geology to understand or appreciate this book, but you will need a limber mind to comprehend the scope of time and distance. Just when you think you’ve seen the canyon from every perspective, this one comes along with a new look. Very well done. []

Arab/American: Landscape, Culture, and Cuisine in Two Great Deserts
By Gary Paul Nabhan. University of Arizona Press. Index. . $17.95.
In nine elegantly rendered essays, Nabhan ruminates on the ties - historical, personal, cultural, and environmental - that extend from his ancestral homeland in the Middle East to his adoptive home in the Sonoran Desert. And these connections are more concrete and meaningful than you might imagine. In a time of bitter conflict between the Arab and Western worlds, Nabhan makes a convincing argument for peace and environmental sanity based on shared kinship and landscape. []
Possibly the Southwest’s most famous Arab-American is Hi Jolly, the camel driver hired by the US Army back in the 1850s. Know to others as Hadji Ali, he is honored with a monument at Quartzite, Arizona. But his story is only one of thousands where migrants from the Middle East venture to the new world, bringing customs, foods, words, and culture. They have been here so long and securely that we seldom stop to think about their arrival. Gary Paul Nabhan journeys to home to Syria and Oman to reconnect with his ancestors, and finds more links with the Southwest and the Middle East than he ever imagined. This revealing book is an enthusiastic reminder to rejoice in the family of man. Because of this book, we’ll need to refocus our perceptions of who we are.
By coincidence, in the past few weeks I interviewed two friends from the small community of Ajo, Arizona. Their families came to America before 1900, one family from Turkey and one from Syria. Their names were Americanized and today their many friends and neighbors rarely stop to think that these second and third-generation Americans step out of Nabhan’s delightful book and into the American Dream.

Eminent biologist Gary Paul Nabhan, one of the Southwest’s intellectual treasures, tells us of how his explorations of the people of this region and their relationships to plants led him on a surprising personal journey of discovery into his own heritage, as well as the heritage we desert denizens share – a delightful and amazing story.
Archaeology of Regional Interaction, The: Religion, Warfare, & Exchange Across the American Southwest and Beyond
By Michelle Hegmon. University Press of Colorado. 467 pp. Index. . $34.95.

These essays discuss rarely-considered forms of interaction, such as intermarriage and the spread of religious practices, and focus especially on understanding the social processes that underlie archaeological evidence of interaction.
Aridland Springs in North America: Ecology and Conservation
By Vicky J. Meretsky, Lawrence E. Stevens. University of Arizona Press/Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. 432 pp. (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Studies in Natural History). Foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan.. $75.00.
Few topics are more interesting than water in the desert. Of the seventeen chapters in this significant book, several focus on places in the Southwest. Dean Blinn details the dynamics of Montezuma’s Well in Arizona (ch 6), James Cornett provides deep insights into desert fan palm oases (ch 8), and Gary Nabhan explains plant diversity at the rich springs at Quitovac in Sonora (ch 12). And, of potentially long-lasting influence is the chapter proposing a spring classification system (ch 4). This book takes a proud place next to others in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum series. []

Arizona Story, The
By Kyle McKoy, Jim Turner. Arizona Historical Society and Gibbs, Smith Publisher. Index. .

This lavishly illustrated elementary school textbook provides an overview of Arizona's geography, geology, history and economy.
At the Confluence of Change: A History of Tonto National Monument
By Nancy Dallett. Western National Parks Association. 253 pp. Index. $21.95.
Tonto cliff dwelling was built by the ancient Salado people along the Salt River, east of the modern city of Phoenix, Arizona. The ruins are important for visualizing life back then, and this book is important for understanding and appreciating the struggles to preserve the dwelling and its artifacts. The book readably portrays at the larger picture of preservation policy and politics for other historic monuments in the Southwest. Many human stories add humor and interest to make this a lively tale. For example, while bathing in the open, one early superintendent had to keep an ear out for visitors approaching on the road below. Nicely done report on a fine national monument that opened in 1907. []
The subtitle tell us this book is "A History of Tonto National Monument" and indeed it is, one to be applauded for its thorough and sometimes technical coverage, for its footnotes, bibliography, and index, not for its appeal to the general reader. In other words, a book for scholars and very serious students. The Tonto Basin of central Arizona is probably better known for Zane Grey's cabin than for its somewhat remote National Monument. []

Barberia: Barber Shops of the Borderlands
By Roy C. Jacobson. Montana Photo Art Publishing. 86 pp. August publication date, but not entered in OCLC until mid-November.. $45.00.
Reading between the lines of Jay Dusard’s complimentary foreword we understand that Jacobson is a photographer still developing his craft and with that in mind we can enjoy this eclectic display of sharply focused black/white images. Jacobson’s introduction explains how the book came to be, but this viewer wished for a better understanding of how the shops were chosen (Tucson is heavily represented while other border cities are left out) and why some images concentrate on people and others seem to want to document the shops. A few short texts are biographical, but most images are simply captioned as to name and location of the shop.

Beautiful Children
By Charles Bock. Random House. 417 pp. . $25.00.
Top Pick
In this auspicious debut novel, Bock paints a vivid and harrowing portrait of life in the shadows of the Las Vegas Strip. A missing teenager opens the door to an underground world in which the lines between victims and prey blur as a cast of runaways, hustlers, and desperate survivors intersect in often suprising, but always revealing, ways. Bock's ear for street dialogue is spot-on, while his insightful rendering of life in the modern West offers cause for both hope and despair. []

Before Santa Fe: Archaeology of the City Different
By Jason S. Shapiro. Museum of New Mexico Press. 232 pp. Index. $39.95.

Santa Fe, New Mexico has been a Euro-American settlement for nearly 400 years, but its human past extends 14,000 years further back; this informative book narrates that impressive story.
Between Two Rivers: The Atrisco Land Grant in Albuquerque History, 1692-1968
By , Joseph P. Sanchez. University of Oklahoma Press. 256 pp. $34.95.

Scholar Joseph Sanchez chronicles the full history of Albuquerque’s Atrisco Land Grant between the Rio Grande and Rio Puerco.
By Douglas J. Preston. Forge Books. 414 pp. . $25.95.
Bestselling author Preston proves that his popularity is no fluke in this engrossing thriller set on the Navajo reservation, where scientists are attempting to bring on-line the world's largest supercollider. Tribal activists, fundamentalist zealots, and an apparent saboteur provide the requisite tension as the plot builds to a climatic struggle between science and religion over the existence of God. A perfect beach or airplane read. []

Blue Smoke and Murder
By Elizabeth Lowell. William Morrow. 404 pp. $24.95.

A young woman river guide whose great aunt dies under mysterious circumstances discovers the hidden dangers of the western art business in this contemporary murder mystery romance by one of the most popular authors of the genre.
Bones in the Desert: The True Story of a Mother's Murder and a Daughter's Search
By Jana Bommersbach. St. Martin's True Crime Library. 288 pp. St. Martin's True Crime Library. $6.99.

Terri had always known that the handsome, charming, and usually unemployed Taw was manipulating her mother—but she did not know the extent of the abuse or how far he would go to defraud her. Then, just before Christmas in 2004, Loretta went missing. It would be more than a year before Terri learned the shocking truth.
Borders Within, The: Encounters Between Mexico and the U.S.
By Douglas Monroy. University of Arizona Press. 256 pp. Index. . $21.95.
What a pleasure to listen to someone who is thoughtful and reasoned, touching and visionary. In seven exceptionally smooth essays, Douglas Monroy studies the personal borders dividing people in our Southwest. Lumping Southwest citizens into “them” and “us,” Mexican and American, is neither productive nor accurate. Monroy “has issues,” as do each of us living here, but he faces his honestly, boldly, and looks to the future. His is an honest account, personal and inspiring. My favorite chapter is titled “How the new world border changes us.” []

Born of Fire: the Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya
By Charles S. King. Museum of New Mexico Press. 160 pp. Index. . $45.00.
We are introduced to the matriarch of a dynasty of Santa Clara potters, Margaret Tafoya (1904-2001). "Clay is a gift," she told her children and grandchildren, "it is a privilege that the Clay Mother gives us and we are very fortunate. Though Taqfoya won many ribbons for her pots, she neither innovated a style like Maria Martinez' black pots or revived an art form like Nampeyo did with Hopi pottery. She turned out traditional Santa Clara pots, both in redware and black, many of which featured a carved design, and all perfectly polished. She is particularly noted for her enormous storage jars, and often used her traditional bear paw in some form on the jar. Here is a fine example of the evolution of folk art to fine art. The author has attempted to date Tafoya's works by noting the change in her signature over time. Margaret Tafoya haed 10 children, eight of whom became prize-winning potters in their own right. The books is a treasure and it is one waqy to own all of Tafoya's pots since it is amply illustrateed with her creations as well as those of her children []

Box of Light-Caja de Luz: Poems in English and Spanish
By Susan Gardner. Univ Of New Mexico Press. 97 pp. $16.95.

Descriptive poems about ordinary things-- night, memory, and eagles seen anew -- are told in both English and Spanish.
Bruce Aiken's Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair
By , Susan Hallsten McGarry. Grand Canyon Association. 150 pp. Index. Includes fold-out maps.. $55.00.
Top Pick
The majesty and mystery of the Grand Canyon has lured many artists, and at the moment Bruce Aiken may be foremost among them. His distinctive landscapes, vistas, and details of the rim at sunset, the sheer walls in shadow, and the roaring rapids in the gorge are captivating. Among my favorites are “Makin’ the Pull at House Rock Rapids,” “Evening on the Tonto Plateau,” and “Supai.” This is the first book featuring his work and it is sumptuous. The text narrates Bruce’s journey to the Canyon and his 33-year career running the water plant below the north rim. Because the book is published by the Grand Canyon Association, it features his canyon paintings, but at least as interesting is his larger career as an artist, which is too briefly covered in the book’s appendices. You may wish to buy an extra copy and cut out certain gorgeous pages for framing.

I still would like to read a personal book by Aiken and his wife, Mary, chronicling their journeys through the canyon, his growth as an artist, and their raising a family in a wilderness; readers can find hints of this in their two charming essays in another book, Grand Canyon Stories Then and Now (edited by Leo Banks and Craig Childs).
Bruce Aiken is an artist with a strong sense of place. His place is the Grand Canyon, within which he and his family lived for over thirty years, while he tended the Park’s precious water supply at Roaring Springs. From this most fortunate niche, he was able to paint the wonders of the world’s most famous Canyon in all kinds of light, times, and seasons. Happily, the Grand Canyon Association welcomed the project of documenting this man’s body of work and sharing with us his very blessed life.The result is a beautiful volume which includes 70 full page, color reproductions of his paintings and numerous smaller paintings and photographs. Accompanying maps and appendices invite further study. []

More than 100 full-color reproductions of Aiken's Grand Canyon paintings, created during his thirty years of residency at Roaring Springs. The text is taken from a series of interviews with the author conducted in late 2006.
Brujas, Lechuzas Y Espantos = Witches, Owls and Spooks
By Alonso Perales. Pinata Books. $$9.95.

Six spooky stories from Mexican-American and barrio tradition.
Building the Borderlands: a Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border
By Casey Walsh. Texas A&M University Press. 234 pp. Index. $47.50.
Combine cotton farming with economics and sociology and you have a detailed, insightful account of what this crop meant to the lower Rio Grande Valley of northern Mexico and south Texas. Field cotton depends on irrigation, and some fascinating entrepreneurs brought water to arid lands. If you want to know where some of our current cross-border conflicts came from, then read this book, which is number 22 in Texas A&M’s environmental history series. []

Cacti of Texas, a Field Guide: with Emphasis on the Trans-Pecos Species
By A. Michael Powell, Shirley A. Powell, James F. Weedin. Texas Tech University Press. 383 pp. . $24.95.
Although this book extends beyond the Southwest and covers the entire state of Texas, it belongs in your collection. The authors ably and clearly present the Lone Star state’s 132 species of cacti so that laymen as well as experts can identify what they see in the field. Using the maps and to photos to hunt down the cacti would make an interesting vacation. Even if you already own Cacti of the Trans-Pecos, you’ll enjoy this companion book. The many photos and maps are very helpful, and the information enlightening. This is one in the Texas Tech’s Grover E. Murray Studies series, which in becoming a classic run of books. Other states should be so lucky. []

Calling for a Hit Man
By Ernest Gabrielson. Wheatmark. 256 pp. . $19.95.
Set mostly in Tucson, this novel about CIA agent Mike Harrison will not satisfy anyone's need for realistic dialog and believeable events. []

Case Runner, The
By , Carlos Cisneros. arte Publico Press. 359 pp. $24.95.

With his “newly minted” law degree, Alex del Fuerte begins his practice in the South Valley area of the Rio Grande and almost immediately finds himself at odds with the powers that be, including the Lt. Governor of Texas. The author, an attorney, lets us see the interactions between courts and lawyers as young Alex finds many ways to make mistakes and many people to threaten his existence.
Chaco Experience, The: Landscape and Ideology at the Center Place
By Ruth M. Van Dyke. School for Advanced Research Press. 314 pp. Index. . $34.95.
Fine writing here as Van Dyke surveys what is known about Chaco Canyon from archaeological evidence as well as the speculations (and outright guesses) of experts. Yet, the reading enjoyment is spoiled by the academic paraphernalia. Aimed at archaeologists and others with the appropriate technical knowledge, the flow of the text is interrupted by the position, within many paragraphs and upon almost every page, of parenthetical citations to sources that are the sine quo non of academicians. Difficult reading for the non-specialist unless one can train the eye to skip the interruptions. Still, an important updating of our knowledge about southwestern prehistory. []

Chasing Windmills
By Catherine Ryan Hyde. Flying Dolphin Press. 262 pp. $25.95.

Two young victims of abusive relationships connect on the New York subway and plan an escape that will take them to the Mojave Desert and safety. By the award-winning author of Pay it Forward, this adult title is also appropriate for a Young Adult audience.
Chicken Foot Farm
By Anne Estevis. Pinata Books. 154 pp. $$10.95.

Alejandro Balderas grows up amidst love and hardship on his family's south Texas farm.
ChupaCabra and the Roswell UFO
By Rudolfo A. Anaya. University of New Mexico Press. 135 pp. $19.95.

Rosa Medina, a Ph.D. interested in folklore, finds herself involved in a desperate effort to combat the diabolical Saytir and his plans to create a monster army by mixing the DNA of space aliens and chupacabras.
City of the Sun
By David Levien. Doubleday. 310 pp. . $24.95.

Coffee Creations
By , , Gwin Grogan Grimes. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 80 pp. Index. . $12.95.

Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico: Border Poverty and Community Development Solutions
By Angela J. Donelson, Adrian X. Esparza. University of Arizona Press. 205 pp. Index. . $19.95.
The authors have adopted the term colonias as a designator for towns, villages, even “cumulations” of dwellings loosely affiliated by proximity. They range from cities like Nogales, Arizona, to a small group of no-longer-mobile homes plopped down near each other on a few acres of desert landscape. Clearly an academic study, this “report” both outlines how these colonias came to be, what their similarities and differences are, and, most important, ways in which the residents of them can improve their lives. Not for the casual reader, this is a serious look at a major issue in our border lands. []
This academic study looks at the effects of immigration and economic policy of colonias in Arizona and New Mexico. Generally, colonias are economically disadvantaged and unincorporated communities, some as large as towns and some as small as neighborhoods. Regardless of size, they are crucial for local social fabric and labor pools. The authors also seek to show the human realities and community capacity and potential of colonias. This is an advanced-level academic discussion. []

Colorado Plateau III, The: Integrating Research and Resources Management for Effective Conservation
By Mark K. Sogge, Charles van Riper III. University of Arizona Press. 432 pp. . $39.95.
This third volume grows out of the 8th biennial Conference on Research on the Colorado Plateau (that high country surrounding the Four Corners area). It presents 21 papers, including a synthesis chapter, most of which are grouped under the heading “Addressing Wildlife Issues.” []
Sound land management requires good science. These 21 papers by 59 scholars are good science, interesting and enthusiastic, too. Based on research presented at the Eighth Biennial Conference of Research on the Colorado Plateau, the book groups the papers into the categories of collaborating to achieve conservation, assessing large-scale land issues, addressing wildlife issues, addressing vegetation issues, and gaining insights from the past. A final chapter by van Riper ably summarizes and synthesizes the results. This third volume of the series is another wonderful multidisciplinary effort to study a region and share the information. []

Condor: Spirit of the Canyon
By Robert Mesta, Lawrence Ormsby. Grand Canyon Association. 149 pp. This book is not showing up in the children's list.. $9.95.

Little Feather is captivated by condors and, with the help of his grandfather, comes to realize this he is destined to protect them.
Cool in Tucson
By Elizabeth Gunn. Severn House. 218 pp. . $27.95.
With a string of mysteries set outside Arizona to her credit, Gunn, now a resident of Tucson, brings us Sarah Burke, Tucson police detective. Assigned to homicide and loving it, Burke has much to worry about including her drug-addicted sister’s daughter and her relationship (cool to cold) with her homicide squad superior. Nice multi-layered police procedural with the Tucson setting well described and defined.
Veteran mystery writer Gunn introduces a new heroine and a new setting as Tucson police detective Sarah Burke unravels a murder-robbery-kidnapping that brings her face-to-face with family problems and the Southwest's violent drug subculture. Burke is an appealing character and Gunn writes with skill and authority about a side of the Old Pueblo that most people observe only on the evening news. []

Corridors of Migration: the Odyssey of Mexican Laborers, 1600-1933
By Rodolfo Acuña. University of Arizona Press. 408 pp. Index. . $49.95.
Here is the detailed saga of colonization along the U. S. Mexico border and exploitation of Native people and Mexican workers by California growers and Arizona copper barons. Though the title brings the reader to 1933, there is additional information on the strike in Arizona copper towns during 1983 and 1984. Finely researched and well-written, this book is for students and specialists; not necessarily the casual reader. []

Counting Rings: Tree-Ring Dating
By Tom Gidwitz . Western National Parks Association. 14 pp. $2.95.
Just about everything one needs to know about tree ring dating is artistically packed into this 14-page booklet its scientific name is Dendrochronology and was introduced by Andrew E. Douglas of the University of Arizona in 1901. Researchers have used the technique to dat4e prehistoric ruins in the Four Corners area of the southwest. They learned that trees growing in the same climate and area showed the same pattern of rings during times of drought and times of rain. But the same techniques can be applied all over the world and used to date objects made of wood. []

Crazy Loco Love
By Victor Villasenor. Arte Publico Press. 391 pp. $26.95.

Creating Outdoor Classrooms: Schoolyard Habitats and Gardens for the Southwest
By Lauri Macmillan Johnson, Kim Duffek. University of Texas Press. 191 pp. $39.95.
Probably like you, when springtime came I looked out the classroom window and longed to do something outside, maybe plant a garden, watch lizards, or build a pond, anything to bring life to textbook pages. This book brims with insight into backyard ecology and enthusiasm for biology. The text is clear and the profuse illustrations are inviting. The book is very well done, and is a practical and noble enterprise. Although written for the classroom, homeowners may find much here that will bring interest and activity to their own yards and neighborhoods. Many of the projects can be adapted to your own children or grandchildren; banish boredom. []

Damage Control
By J. A. Jance. William Morrow. 374 pp. $25.95.
Joanna Brady doesn't have much time to spend with her new baby since a car flew over a cliff under suspicious circumstances ending the life of an elderly couple. Then there are the siblings who fight over an inheritance, some mysterious drugs, a trash bag filled with human remains, a missing person, and her interfering mother. As has been said before, it is just another week in the life of Bisbee's favorite sheriff. []

Death Song: a Kevin Kerney Novel
By Michael McGarrity. Dutton. 293 pp. . $24.95.
Santa Fe police chief Kevin Kerney is only weeks away from retirement when the assassination of a Lincoln County deputy and his pregnant wife put him on the trail of a brutal killer. Fans of McGarrity's popular police procedurals will appreciate Kerney's evolving family relationships that include his half-Apache son, also a police officer, and his concern for his wife, a wounded Iraq war veteran, and their young child. McGarrity has clearly hit his stride in this solidly plotted eleventh outing for the iconic New Mexico lawman and leaves readers wondering what's next as Sheriff Kerney prepares to hang up his badge and depart for England. []

Delivery Man, The
By Joe McGinniss, Jr.. Black Cat. 276 pp. . $14.00.
Summer in Las Vegas, Nevada; hot, getting hotter. Chase and Michelle, childhood friends and sometime lovers, now twenty-somethings. She's a high-paid call girl with ambtions to be rich. He's a college grad with no ambition and a pregnant fiance in NYC. A grim and believeable portrait of an angst-filled new "lost generation." []

Desert Cut: a Lena Jones Mystery
By Betty Webb. Poisoned Pen Press. 277 pp. . $24.95.
Off to southeastern Arizona (think Cochise County) to scout possible movie locations with her sometime Hollywood lover Scottsdale P.I. Lena Jones cannot “just go away” after they discover the body of a child partly buried in the desert. The entire town of Los Perdidos seems intent on blocking her investigation, including an uncooperative sheriff and various public figures who do not want any dirty little secrets aired. Webb gets better and better with dialog each outing and this plot will keep even the most cynical reader paying attention. []

Desert Eternal, The: Words and Images
By Connie Spittler, Robert Spittler. 79 pp. .
Personal essays are mixed with photos by the author’s husband to portray their love of the Sonoran Desert and Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. Like many who buy homes on the edge of the desert, they have fallen under its enchanting spell. They are living proof that people and wildlife can share and enjoy the same beautiful landscape. []

Dirty Girls on Top: a Novel
By Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. St. Martin's Press. 324 pp. $24.95.

Disappearing Desert: the Growth of Phoenix and the Culture of Sprawl
By Janine Schipper. University of Oklahoma Press. 144 pp. Index. $19.95.

A study of different types of development in the Phoenix area explores the cultural basis of suburban sprawl and environmental loss.
Distant Bugles, Distant Drums: The Union Response to the Confederate Invasion of New Mexico
By Flint Whitlock. University Press of Colorado. 293 pp. Index. . $22.95.

Do You Know the Cucuy? = Conoces al Cucuy?
By Claudia Galindo, Jonathan Coombs. Pinata Books. $$15.96.

After hearing her grandfather's tales about the Cucuy, a bogeyman who kidnaps bad children, a girl meets him and makes a new friend.
Dolly & Zane Grey: Letters from a Marriage
By Lina Elise Grey, Zane Grey, Candace C. Kant. University of Nevada Press. 437 pp. $34.95.
Readers of Tom Pauly's biography of the iconic western writer (SWBOY Pick 2005) are aware that Grey was a compulsive philanderer whose affairs his wife tolerated and even helped conceal. This fascinating collection of letters provides an intimate, unvarnished account of an unconventional marriage and business partnership based on complementary strengths, mutual love, and (at least on Dolly's part)steely determination and perseverance. Zane Grey, meanwhile, pretty much redefines ordinary concepts of self-absorption and self-indulgence. []

Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked it All to Buy One of Las Vegas' Legendary Casinos
By Tom Breitling, Cal Fussman. Collins. 243 pp. . $24.95.
This is a well-written, even sprightly account of how Breitling and Tim Poster became friends starting with Tim’s offer to pay for lunch when he realized his fellow student was shocked by the cost of an $8 sandwich. How they eventually came to own the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas will be an exciting read for poker players, but those in search of understanding the phenomenon that IS Las Vegas must look elsewhere. []

Dying to Live: a Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid
By Joseph Nevins, Mizue Aizeki. Open Media/City Lights Books. 255 pp. $16.95.

By focusing on the plight of one Mexican border crosser, this book puts a human face and absorbing story on the tragedy of illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S.
El Malpais National Monument
By Marilyne Maybery. Western National Parks Association. 15 pp. .

This is beautifully illustrated guide to an extraordinary geological treasure in west central New Mexico, another in the excellent series by the Western National Parks Association.
Elephant Quilt, The: Stitch By Stitch to California
By Susan Lowell, Stacey Dressen-McQueen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 40 pp. . $16.95.
Top Pick
"Slow, slow, slow go the wagon wheels. But my little needle flies quickly, quickly, quickly. We are going to California in a wagon train." So begins Lily Rose's account of her family's 1859 journey along the Santa Fe and Gila Trails. To commemorate this great undertaking, Lily and her grandma are making a quilt from patches of fabric and their memories of joy and sorrow along the way. Always, Lily Rose anticipates seeing "the elephant," a metaphor for the new, impossible-to-imagine life awaiting her. Accomplished storyteller Susan Lowell has outdone herself this time! Her choice of words is exquisite, and the character development she achieves is extraordinary in a picture book. This is a well-told story, blessed with marvelous, well-imagined pictures by Stacey Dressen-McQueen. []

To commemorate their trip along the Santa Fe and Gila Trails in 1859, Lily Rose and her grandmother sew a quilt.
Embracing Watershed Politics
By William A . Blomquist, Edella Schlager. University Press of Colorado. 220 pp. $55.00.
Not specifically a southwestern book this analysis of western water problems, and solutions, suggests there is nothing new about the mix of water and politics so we better "get on with it". []

English Major, The
By Jim Harrison. Grove Press. 255 pp. $24.00.
Cliff, the sixty-year-old protagonist of this doleful novel, hits the road with a jigsaw puzzle map and a plan to rename the states and birds as he tries to make sense of his life after a divorce by his wife of thirty-eight years and the loss of the Michigan farm he had been tending since he abandoned his career as an English teacher. Harrison has covered this emotional landscape before and no one does it better. A swing through Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah provides the book's Southwest connection. []

By Charles Bowden, Julián Cardona. University of Texas Press. 295 pp. Bill and Alice Wright photography series;. $50.00.
Top Pick
Cardona’s large-format black and white photographs, nearly 200 of them, tell stories about people, mostly Hispanic, on both sides of the border and elsewhere: a spade jammed into the ground on a desert roadway [is someone buried here?], a man and his dog asleep in a doorway, a clean-up crew on a rooftop after Katrina. But if Cardona speaks with photo images that attack the mind, Bowden’s text attacks our conscience. His words are simple words arrayed in simple sentences that pile up meaning upon meaning until, eventually, the reader is crushed by the content. In some sense the text is reflected in the astonishing color photo on the jacket: a desert landscape littered with abandoned detritus of humanity. Hundreds (thousands?) of water jugs, backpacks, jackets, shirts, even briefcases; so many, in fact, that large areas of ground in between chollas and other desert plants are completely covered with human refuse. Mind boggling. []
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Extraordinary Texas Woman
By Judy Alter. TCU Press. 81 pp. $8.95.

Eye of the West
By Nancy C. Wood. University of New Mexico Press. 132 pp. . $39.95.
With a number of books to her credit—non-fiction, poems, children’s, photos, fiction, Nancy Wood now gives us another fine photograph collection of real people. She captures faces and activities among Colorado folks who she calls “The Grass Roots People” -- rural working folks, the Utes of southwestern Colorado, and residents of Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. Her images are quite revealing and sensitive of people and places worth knowing. Many of the pages show times-gone-by and bring a certain nostalgia of the nation we once were and many would still like to be. []
In addition to being a fine writer, which she has proved in several other published books, Wood has the photographer's eye. She sees people, all Westerners and many of them Southwesterners, in ways that make them come to life before her lens. []

Falcons of North America
By Kate Davis, Nick Dunlop, Rob Palmer. Mountain Press Publishing Co.. 227 pp. $22.00.

Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire: a Novel
By David Mura. Coffee House Press. 269 pp. $14.95.

Third-generation Japanese-American Ben Ohara is haunted by the legacy of the WWII internment camps, and searches his family's past in an attempt to understand what happened to his father and brother.
Farewell, My Beijing
By Chi Newman. Wheatmark. 160 pp. $14.95.

A Tucsonan recalls her early life of privilege in Beijing, China, her escape when the Communists entered the city, and the eventful journey that ultimately brought her to Arizona.
Fault Tree, The
By Louise Ure. St. Martin's Minotaur. 336 pp. . $24.95.
In her second novel, after Shamus Award-winning "Forcing Amaryllis," Ure introduces an appealing new heroine, Cadence Moran, a blind auto mechanic swept up in the murder of a former children's t.v. show hostess. Although the action careens, sometimes aimlessly, across Tucson and around southern Arizona, interesting characters and deft pacing make for an enjoyable read. []
The skill of Ure’s award winning FORCING AMARYLLIS is not so obvious in this mystery which introduces a very interesting main character, Cadence Moran, a blind auto mechanic whose enhanced sense of smell and hearing make her a better than average witness, sometimes. Told in short chapters, sometimes less than one page in length, the story of the search for the murderer of an elderly neighbor parallels a search for missing youngsters who may also be murder victims. An enjoyable read for mystery buffs. []

By Diana Palmer. Harlequin Enterprises. 315 pp. $24.95.

Not just bullets are flying in this steamy romance mystery set in a small Texas town, where two very different people have gone undercover because of drug wars.
Feud that Wasn't, The: the Taylor Ring, Bill Sutton, John Wesley Hardin, and Violence in Texas
By James Smallwood. Texas A&M University Press. 229 pp. Index. . $29.95.

Field Guide to Biological Soil Crusts of Western U.S. Drylands: Common Lichens and Bryophytes
By , Jayne Belnap, Mathew Bowker, Roger Rosentreter. U.S. Government Printing Office. 103 pp. Available online: .
If you don’t already know soil crusts, you should. They are alive and are ecologically crucial. Composed of lichens, fungi, mosses, cyanobacteria, and other living parts, they hold soil together, retain soil moisture, nourish the soil, and provide food for a host of microscopic critters. This handy and much needed field guide will help you to indentify and understand 70 species of mosses and lichens that unassumingly fill the wide open spaces of the Southwest. []

Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of the Middle Rio Grande Bosque , A
By Sandra L. Brantley, Jean-Luc E. Cartron, David C. Lightfoot, Timothy K. Lowrey, Jane E. Mygatt. University of New Mexico Press. 375 pp. Index. $21.95.
Top Pick
Slow down. Meet the middle Rio Grande. Pull up a bench, drift in a raft, or walk its banks and bosques. This fascinating book will introduce you to more than 700 common birds, plants, insects, fish and mammals that live in or along the river from Cochiti Dam, north of Albuquerque to Elephant Butte Dam, near Truth or Consequences, NM. This stretch of 175 miles includes Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The array of species is truly astounding, and each species is shown in a color thumbnail photo and described for a wide range of readers. I especially enjoyed the spiders and bugs. []

Fifty Years of Change on the U.S.-Mexico Border: Growth, Development, and Quality of Life
By Joan B. Anderson, James Gerber. University of Texas Press. 275 pp. . $24.95.
Some books turn on the lights. This one shines brightly on borderland economics and demography, with light clear enough for the general public and strong enough for scholars. Its fascinating ten chapters on the borderlands range across population, labor, environment, living standards, and border relations. Pick a page, any page, and you’ll learn something new and important about the border economy. The authors’ affection and concern for the region comes through, as does their expertise. One aspect of the border economy and culture that they do not document or explain are the enormous, insidious effects of crime, drugs, and corruption on both sides of the fence. []

This is a very readable report on a study by two economists of socio-economic changes for communities along both sides of the border and resulting impacts on quality of life for people on each side, as well as implications for government policies.
Flash Floods in Texas
By Jonathan Burnett. Texas A&M Press. 330 pp. Index. $35.00.
Few events evoke more fear than the shout of “Flashflood.” In moments homes and towns can be swept away with significant loss of life and livelihood. This book chronicles major floods year by year, and provides detail of the rains, the event, and the aftermath. It makes compelling reading. []

Flowers, The: a Novel
By Dagoberto Gilb. Grove. 250 pp. . $24.00.
Gilb recreates the modern inner-city experience inside the walls of Los Flores (The Flowers), a Los Angeles apartment building where fifteen-year-old Sonny Bravo makes his way through a vibrant world of sex and love, broken relationships, identity and longing, and ultimately racial and ethnic violence. Gilb's trademark muscular prose and wicked sense of humor (Sonny is teaching himself French in the hope of one day visiting Notre Dame - the cathedral, not the legendary college football powerhouse)lend depth and nuance to this provocative, richly imagined parable. []

Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater
By William F. Buckley. Basic Books. 195 pp. . $25.95.
This is a convivial insider’s look at Barry M. Goldwater at a pivotal time in American politics. He became a candidate for president and spokesman for a conservative political philosophy. But he was more than that. He was a favorite son of his home state, Arizona. In Buckley’s words, he infused “his party with a human and humane liveliness that would endure long after his defeat” (page xi). A number of Buckley’s anecdotes and personal narratives attest to that point. Regardless of your party, this book will help you understand how we got to where we are politically. []

Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy: a Reader with Commentary
By Anthony F. Aveni. University Press of Colorado. 826 pp. Index. $34.95.

Fragile Patterns: the Archaeology of the Western Papagueria
By Jeffrey H. Altschul, Adrianne G. Rankin. University of Arizona Press. 731 pp. . $49.95.
Top Pick
Some 42 professionals, including anthropologists, archaeologists, ethnobotanists, paleontologists, and more, contributed to this scholarly volume of 700-plus pages. Included is a 63-page bibliography, 281 figures, and 38 statistical tablrs. Missing is an index and a glossary. The Western Papagueria in this case, occupies an area south of Arizona's Gila River to the Gulf of California and west to the Colorado River and inhabited by the O'odham speakers of the area. The scholarly tome is for specialists, researchers, and students. Included are biographies of four who made major contributions to the study and archaeology of the area. In addition, all aspects of human occupation are covered from prehistoric times, such as adaptation to changing environments; material culture; trade and travel; archaeological investigations; and rock art and geoglyphs. The book concludes with a discussion on management of cultural r4sources and past, present, and future cultures of Papagueria. []

Free Flow: the Gila River in New Mexico
By Jan Haley, Carol Sinor. University of New Mexico Press. 105 pp. $27.95.
In no sense a diatribe, Free Flow's text is limited to an introduction and a preface preceding about 90 color photographs whose captions are minimalist and descriptive. Yet, as Dutch Salmon points out in the introduction, this book is a call to action for anyone who fears a future in which the free flow of the Gila River becomes becomes captured water for yet more development. []

Free Ride: the Media and John McCain
By David Brock. Anchor Books. 215 pp. . $14.95.

Such irony: long before John McCain accused the media of being soft on Barack Obama, this extensively researched and highly referenced book made a similar case against John McCain.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coyotes
By Michael Rigsby. Western National Parks Association. 18 pp. $5.95.

Garden of Aloes, A
By G. Davies Jandrey. The Permanent Press. 240 pp. . $18.00.
Jandrey lets her characters, six women--three adult, three young (14, 15 and 11), speak for themselves in alternating chapters. Living in the Miracle Mile area of Tucson they present a spectrum of views of each other as well as their surroundings. The rape of the youngest, coming late in the story, serves to remind the reader of the variety of life experiences that may, as one woman opines, toughen our outsides but leave us humans with soft centers. Excellent dialog and character development, a story well-told from many points of view. []

Genizaro & the Artist, The
By Analinda Dunn, Napoleón Garcia. Rio Grande Books. 108 pp. $15.95.

Napoleón Garcia, a native of Abiquiú, New Mexico, worked 40 years for artist Georgia O’Keefe at Ghost Ranch, and now shares his insider’s story.
Gila Libre!: New Mexico's Last Wild River
By , M.H. Salmon. University of New Mexico Press. 127 pp. $19.95.
Known as "Dutch" to friends and acquaintances, bookseller/publisher/writer Salmon gives us eight short lively chapters that frame a cursory, but very personal, history of the Gila River. Rising in southwestern New Mexico, the Gila would, if there ever were enough rain to push it past various diversion dams and across two hundred miles of sandy soil, merge with the Colorado near Yuma. He is no fire-and-brimstone anti-developer, but we know where his sympathies lie! []
If you draw blood from Dutch Salmon, you likely will find river water, for his first love is the upper Gila River, flowing freely for its first 150 miles in New Mexico’s high country, where it is the state’s last wild river. The forested heights and meadows were home to Apache chieftain Geronimo, last of the mountain men Ben Lilly, and ecologist Aldo Leopold. Few know it as well as the author; fewer write so eloquently about its mysteries and beauties, its history and people. Salmon is an eloquent spokesman for this Yellowstone of the Southwest. One could lead a full life there. []

Girl with the Crooked Nose, The: a Tale of Murder, Obsession, and Forensic Artistry
By Ted Botha. Random House. 262 pp. $25.00.
Fans of television's "CSI" and "America's Most Wanted," especially, will enjoy this story of Philadelphia forensic artist Frank Bender. Botha focuses on Bender's efforts to identify the remains of young women murdered in Juarez, Mexico, with frequent flashbacks to the famous cases that brought Bender celebrity, but little money. It is a compelling tale, even though the author is unable to bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Life, unlike TV drama, sometimes leaves us with loose ends. []

Glorious Defeat, A: Mexico and its War with the United States
By Timothy J. Henderson. Hill & Wang. 216 pp. Index. . $14.00.

God of War
By Marisa Silver. Simon & Schuster. 288 pp. $23.00.

Set in a run-down trailer park on the desolate shores of the Salton Sea, this is a moving coming of age novel about a boy struggling to find his identity in a dysfunctional family. His mother in complete denial, he is burdened with the enormous responsibility of caring for his autistic younger brother.
God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
By Richard Grant. Free Press. 290 pp. Index. . $15.00.
Just read Bruce's review. []
The book is for guys who like adventure and to take chances. Here is a true story by an Englishman, obviously bored with the hum drum of daily life, so he risked a trip into Mexico's Sierra Madre where any rules governing law and order were non-existent. The place was an outpost for drug lords, opium farmers, smugglers, and others needing somewhere to hide. Mixed in this batch of humanity are the Native people of the area, the Tarahumara. The author depicted this group as mostly drunk and whose Easter celebration was a surreal combination of changing, drumming, whooping, and dancing. In using God's Middle Finger as the title for the book, he was referring to the one remaining finger on an effigy of God about to do battle with good and evil. It would have been appropriate for the author to describe the Tarahumara world view as a combination of long held indigenous beliefs and mission teachings and that they use effigies to act out these beliefs and above all to ploe4ase God so that he will continue to care for them. They also brew their own beer, tesguino, and drinking parties are an accepted ritual in this culture. []

Grand Canyon's North Rim and Beyond: A Guide to the North Rim and the Arizona Strip
By Stewart Aitchison. Grand Canyon Association. 96 pp. $12.95.
Another succinct, informative, and beautifully designed guidebook from the Grand Canyon Association. In a mere ninety-six pages, nature writer Aitchison introduces travelers to the history, wildlife, and sights along the less-visited northern lip of the Grand Canyon and its approaches. Helpful maps and dozens of color and black-and-white photographs enhance the appearance and usefulness of this essential guide. []
Few places in America are as mysterious or as scenic as the Arizona Strip, that sparsely settled land lying between the Grand Canyon’s North rim and Utah. If you can read this book and not yearn to go there, check your pulse for signs of life. Aitchison provides an alluring text and a selection of stunning photos. This enormous, gorgeous landscape may be the Southwest’s last frontier. Aitchison is an able and willing guide. []

Grand Canyon: Views Beyond the Beauty
By Gary Ladd. Grand Canyon Association. 82 pp. $14.95.
If you have ever tried to look through those little telescopes at Grand Canyon viewpoints and tried to pick out landmarks, this is the book for you. Photographer Gary Ladd has taken superb photos from those overlooks and added the landmark names. Just don’t’ tumble over the edge while looking at this fun book. It is an excellent introduction to the canyon. []

Great Chiles Rellenos Book, The
By Janos Wilder. Ten Speed Press. 144 pp. Index. $16.95.
Here is a darned interesting cookbook filled with yum-in-the-tum recipes for chiles rellenos. Perhaps better for reading or adding to a cookbook collection, however, since its size, 10x4 inches makes it difficult to keep open. There are some interesting salads, but those who watch waistlines and without a lot of time to deep fry many of these dishes, will have to enjoy the food vicariously. []

Great Texas Chefs
By Judy Alter. TCU Press. 86 pp. Index. $8.95.

The latest in the series of pocket-sized and illustrated volumes from the TCU Press about all things Texas. This offering provides profiles of notable chefs who cook in notable Texas restaurants, and features some of their favorite Texas recipes.
Growing up with Tamales / Creciendo con Tamales
By Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Gwendolyn Zepeda, April Ward. Piñata Books. $15.95.
Top Pick
Six-year-old Ana narrates this bilingual tale of two sisters who make tamales together each Christmas. Ana can't help noticing that older sister Lydia always gets the more interesting tasks! Longing to take on more responsibility, Ana imagines the scene when she's two years older -- reading big words, reaching high places, riding a bike without training wheels AND getting to spread the tamale dough on the corn husks. Of course, when Ana's older, Lydia will be older still, and able to take on even more. It's just not fair! This charming book is as much about tamale making as it is about childhood, family, tradition, and dreams. Illustrator April Ward's strong colors and expressive images are the ideal complement. []

Six-year-old Ana makes tamales with her sister each Christmas, and dreams of what she'll be able to do when she's older.
Guide to American Indian Beadwork of the Southwest, A
By Rose Houk. Western National Parks Association. 47 pp. . $ .
Beads have long played functional and artistic roles in Native American cultures, and this colorful palm-sized book ably explores those many uses. From bracelets to moccasins to cradleboards to miniature baskets for the tourist trade, this book depicts a dazzling array of items, as well as artistic talent and craftsmanship. []
American Indians have long used shell and porcupine quills for decorating clothing, moccasins, cradleboards, and more. With the introduction of glass beads in the mid 1500s the art took off and today one can find beaded bowls, tennis shoes, bags, purses and pouches, jewelry, baskets, and miniatures. The Arizona Quechan and Cocopah are noted for their fine beaded collars, he Apache create beaded hair ornaments, while the Zuni are particularly creative with little figurines. A nice little book for the basics. []

Guide to Prehistoric Astronomy in the Southwest, A
By J. McKim Malville. Johnson Books. 166 pp. Index. $18.00.
Top Pick

Long ago, a number of ancient civilizations around the world understood the regularity of astronomical movements in the sky, and regularly used observations to measure seasonal variations as the basis for annual calendars. Peoples who had to travel over distances of many hundreds of miles on foot could find this very useful in establishing times to get together for regular trade gatherings. Professor J. McKim Malville, a respected astronomer and elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his work in solar astrophysics, has done pioneering work around the word investigating these early cultures, one of which was here in the Southwest. In this book he describes findings, theories, hypotheses and conjectures about the meaning and function of stone alignments and buildings of the prehistoric Southwest.

For advanced reading, we also recommend Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy, edited by Anthony Aveni (2008), a Notable Southwest Book of the Year, which includes papers on many of these sites.

Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems
By Juan Felipe Herrera. University of Arizona Press. 310 pp. $24.95.

This vivid collection of powerful new and old poems represents noted Chicano writer Juan Felipe Herrera who soars on a range of topics, and reads on an audio CD in the back pocket.
Hand of Evil
By Jance J.A.. Touchstone Books. 384 pp. . $25.95.
Back in Sedona, Ali is grieving the end of her broadcasting career and marriage, but the world won't let her alone. In short order, a call from an old benefactor who gave her the college scholarship she needed, then a call from her good friend Dave, the Yavapai County sheriff's deputy who saved her in L.A., then a call from her father, and in no time she's juggling five balls in the air at once--and some of them lead to murder. Fans will enjoy this third novel in the new series by the prolific Jance, who herself is now simultaneously writing three popular fiction series. []

In this third novel in Jance's new series, Alison Reynolds' grieving time is beset by, not one, but a whole series of crises at once--and some of them are murder.
Hard Trail to Follow
By Elmer Kelton. Forge. 288 pp. . $24.95.
It is hard to believe that each Kelton novel is better than the one before. This Texan, with more than 50 novels under his Stetson has given us another good story. Andy Pickard, Texas Ranger, has some exciting adventures as he follows the trail of the outlaw who killed his friend, Sheriff Blessing. As can be expected, Kelton is a master at creating believable characters and an unexpected finale. []

The seventh installment in Kelton's Texas Rangers series featuring former Texas Ranger Andy Pickard, who has left is fiancee's Texas farm in pursuit of the killer of his friend, Sheriff Tom Blessing.
Heads and Horns: A Southwest Novel
By Dexter K. Oliver. Bandit Press. 242 pp. $16.00.
A Gahan Wilson graveyard cartoon in New Yorker jokes that here lies So-and-So; “He never got around to writing that novel.” That will not be Dexter Oliver’s tombstone, for he now has three Southwest novels to his credit. In his latest, Heads and Horns, we find a lone-wolf martial artist, Slate Garrett, and Pelón, a horny newspaperman who doubles as detective, searching for a woman missing on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. Lively characters march to their own drumbeats in Tucson, with sufficient tangled relationships and mind games for all. Can you find her? []

High Stakes at San Xavier
By Rebecca Cramer. Imago Press. 206 pp. $14.00.

Hiking Alone: Trails Out, Trails Home
By Mary Beath. University of New Mexico Press. 368 pp. . $19.95.
Beath, a writer/artist living in NY fell in love with the SW when she flew to Tucson frequently (20+ years ago) to hike, paint, maintain a “diary”, and spend time with a man (who is still a friend but no longer an intimate part of her life). As she recounts it here moving permanently to Albuquerque she hikes and works and now, using her ongoing account to recreate, she tells us of things as diverse as a vision quest and an archaeological project on the Navajo Reservation. Curiously the latter has its own footnotes and bibliography as if it were being submitted to a journal for publication as an article. []

Historic Native Peoples of Texas
By William C. Foster. University of Texas Press. 346 pp. Index. . $29.95.
Since the goal of historic Texas was to eliminate all Native people from its soil, and the state pretty well succeeded, this volume is most welcome. A result of prodigious research, the author has assembled an account of hundreds of tribes that occupied eight geographic regions over mainland Texas between 1528 and 1722. He has used translations from expedition diaries beginning with Cabeza de Vaca. A map accompanies each region or study area showing the location of the various tribes. Two appendices add further value: the first lists some 20 animals reported by both Spanish and French expeditions; the second includes 40 wild and domesticated plants to 1722. The book will be welcomed by teachers, anthropologists historians, and scholars. []

Hohokam Millennium, The
By Paul R. Fish, Suzanne K. Fish. School for Advanced Research Press. 154 pp. . $24.95.
Top Pick
This book is a laudable effort to share what is known about the people who dominated central Arizona from about A.D. 450-1450 in what is called the Hohokam Millennium. These were the famed canal builders of the Salt River Valley, who at one time irrigated 70,000 acres. This volume assembles the experts to share the latest archaeological findings and to put that culture into modern perspective. The excellent photos and extensive maps breathe life into people who are now gone--- or are they? Some believe that modern tribes are their descendants, making the culture that much richer. It’s a beautiful book with stimulating reading. And the shadow of the collapsed irrigation technology looms like a vulture over modern cities and farms--- if drought and depletion could happen to the grandest ancient farmers of the Southwest, could it happen to us? []
What happened to the prehistoric Hohokam? Evidence of a flourising and rich culture is still apparent in the Salt River Valley: hundreds of miles of canals that furnished life-saving water for nourishing lives and farms; remains of platform mounds; ball courts; shell jewellry; and pottery featuring the unforgettable Kokopelli. A number of anthropologists/archaeologists have contributed expert analyses of every aspect of the culture also suggesting that the modern Pimans are their descendants. Added to the understanding of the Hohokam cultural tradition are fine color and black and white photographs accompanied by numerous sketches. In addition to scholars and students, this is one book that a general public will enjoy. []

Honorable Intentions
By Donna MacQuigg. Five Star. 301 pp. . $29.95.

In this historical western romance, Lydia Randolph, future Duchess of Wiltshire, leaves the safety of the world she has always known, as she falls in love with a wanted man.
By Susan Cummins Miller. Texas Tech University Press. 280 pp. . $24.95.
Life in the sleepy little southeastern Arizona communities of Portal and Paradise has never been as exciting as when geologist/amateur sleuth Frankie McFarlane arrives with her class on a field trip and stumbles upon a series of murders. Readers learn about rock formations, local history, birding, jaguars, mining law, and even African genocide as McFarlane literally assembles the pieces of a complex puzzle that identifies the killer and the motive. []
In her fourth outing (remember Detachment Fault, Quarry and Death Assemblage?) Francesca “Frankie” McFarland, now teaching geology at a Tucson university, takes a small group of students on a field trip into Cochise County and the Chiricahua Mountains. When they discover a body, obviously murdered and arranged in a ritual-like position, Frankie is drawn into an effort to find the murderer and protect herself and her life-long friend Joaquin. Lots of local color around the small communities of Portal and Paradise as well as virtual geology lessons concerning the rocks and landscape of Southern Arizona. []

Horses that Buck: the Story of Champion Bronc Rider Bill Smith
By Margot Kahn. University of Oklahoma Press. 194 pp. Index. . $24.95.
A good biography about a champion bronc rider and western rodeos. The only southwest in the story is one line about a rodeo in Tucson. []

I Choose Life: Contemporary Medical and Religious Practices in the Navajo World
By Maureen Trudelle Schwarz. University of Oklahoma Press. 380 pp. Index. $24.95.

Navajo patients balance traditional healing with modern cures. A must read for first nation doctors and nurses.
If I Die in Juarez
By Stella Pope Duarte. University of Arizona Press. 328 pp. . $16.95.
Top Pick
Someone asked me why I liked this book. I don’t. I hate it, just as I hate that it had to be written, and I hate what is happening to our border communities and citizens. I hate wasted lives, disintegrating society, absolute corruption, loss of freedom and basic safety. And I hate that I feel powerless to stop it. But the world must know what is happening here. And this book drives the reality home.
In a deft tale about the deprived meeting the depraved, Duarte draws three Mexican girls to the festering border city, Cuidad Juárez, where in real life, and death, hundreds of young women have been viciously tortured and then murdered. Evita, age 14, dreams of peace and draws butterflies with out-sized wings so it can fly away. Beautiful Petra, 19, rapidly advances in her job at the maquiladora but deals with the devil. And Mayela, 12, a precocious painter is compared to Frieda Kahlo. They are spun into the vortex of desperation and human predators that are as true as tomorrow’s newspaper headline. With the help of family and friends, they find courage and hope. It may be the most important book you read this year. Your family may be next. News at ten. Nightly.
See the photos in Charles Bowden’s Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future or his Exodus if Duarte’s sensitive, understated prose isn’t graphic enough for you.
Nearly 15 years after local rights workers began documenting the Juarez deaths, over 500 young women have been brutally murdered, the killings continue and few of the crimes have been solved. Organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that crimes against women are on the rise in much of the world, but Mexico is one of the worst cases anywhere. After years of investigation, Southwest author Stella Pope Duarte concluded that she could best express the full reality of the story in a fictional format. Her poignant eulogy to the brutalized women and their devastated families is so sad on so many levels that it is difficult to read. It vividly reflects, in the very human struggles of the families, the horrific effects of poverty, lack of education and opportunity. It is a war zone in Juarez and Duarte has stunningly realized in her novel a place and a people trying to survive amidst the greed, avarice and predation of a failed state and two failed governments. []

Images: Jack Dykinga's Grand Canyon
By Charles Bowden, Jack W. Dykinga, Wayne Ranney. Arizona Highways. 110 pp. Index. $39.95.
Wow! I just returned from a hike in the Grand Canyon and here I am gazing at a book about the place as caught on film by master photographer Jack Dykinga. Each page evokes an old memory and a new perspective. Among my many favorite photographs are the subtleties of Mather Point in sun and snow (pages 38-39), the sweeping grandeur of Point Sublime (pages 62-63), the vertigo of Cape Royal (pages 68-69), and the stout but balanced rock (page 95). Excellent essays by prose-poet Charles Bowden and geologist Wayne Ranney provide words after Dykinga's photos have left us speechless. []

In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein
By , Elizabeth J. Cunningham, Peter H. Hassrick. University of Oklahoma Press. 399 pp. Index. $34.95.
Top Pick
Much more than just a retrospective, the beautiful color (mostly) reproductions here become a complement to five chapters providing us with a clear view of how Blumenschein's art developed during a productive career that exceeded six decades. He came early to the Southwest and by accident to Taos and is noted as one of the founders of what has been dubbed the Taos school [officially the Taos Society of Artists]. He was recognized by his middle years for his innovative use of color and his ability to convey a true “sense of place” without sublimating his art to photographic detail. This book is art and biography beautifully blended. []

Incredible Grand Canyon, The: Cliffhangers and Curiosities From America's Greatest Canyon
By Scott Thybony. Grand Canyon Association. 127 pp. Index. . $14.95.
Thybony is a fine writer and this book proves once again that he is a fine researcher as well. []

Colorful Canyon lore and tales of the trail from a long-time Grand Canyon explorer and nationally-known travel and adventure writer.
Indian Country: Sacred Ground, Native Peoples
By John Annerino. Countryman Press. 127 pp. . $29.95.

With the help of many Native Americans, award-winning photographer John Annerino goes on a spiritual journey into Indian Country and returns with a new appreciation of their culture, as well as beautiful photographs of some of the Southwest’s most mysterious and legendary places.
Inherited Sins
By Paula G. Paul. University of New Mexico Press. 245 pp. $18.95.
Her mother dying in a hospital a young woman "discovers" a diary, actually two diaries, which partly explain her past and the "secret" life of her mother and the local preacher! The angst-ridden dialog reads well, but there are some missing pieces in the explanations. []

Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents
By Jim Malusa. Sierra Club Books. 321 pp. $16.95.
This immensely enjoyable chronicle captures the spirit of exploration: go someplace new and have fun learning about it. The author bicycles to the lowest points of ground on six continents, including Death Valley, with minimal equipment and fanfare. He keenly observes the countryside and delights us with tales of the local citizens and customs along the way, all told with a child-like curiosity and off-beat humor that bring us back for more. Although the title plays off John Krakauer’s masterpiece Into Thin Air, Malusa’s anti-expedition ranks with the best of travelogues. []

Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker
By Ellen Buie Niewyk. Southern Methodist University Press. 208 pp. Index. . $35.00.
Bywaters left his archive of southwestern drawings, paintings, and prints to Southwestern Methodist University. In addition to a brief biography, the volume contains reproductions of his work with a detailed description of each item. He was a skillful illustrator and leader of what became known as the Dallas Nine. In addition to teaching duties at SMU, he also directed the Dallas Museum of Art for some 20 years. The coffee table-sized book belongs in every southwestern repository and art museum for the use of both artists aned scholars. []

Jim Burns' Arizona Birds: From the Backyard to the Backwoods
By Jim Burns. University of Arizona Press. 239 pp. Index. . $16.95.
The last thing you or I need is another bird book on the shelf. But I bought this one with my own money, for it features wonderful discussions and stories about Arizona’s birds. As the author notes, it is a “before and after” book, not a guide to identifying or finding birds. It is for evenings beside the fireplace or summer days under the cooler, when birds themselves are sitting out the heat. The author writes an Arizona Republic column called “Bird is a Verb,” and his prose is enthusiastically wiry and mobile. It will tell you more about the birds you already know, as well as those you may want to meet. Well done, well done. []

John Ringo: King of the Cowboys: His Life and Times from the Hoo Doo War to Tombstone
By David Johnson. University of North Texas Press. 366 pp. Index. . $29.95.
Johnson draws on significant new research to correct errors and flesh out details presented in his 1996 study of the legendary cowboy/outlaw whose life and mysterious death continue to spark debate. Hardcore Wyatt Earp and Tombstone scholars will appreciate Johnson's meticulous attention to sources and his careful dissection of conflicting theories about happenings in Texas and southeastern Arizona. Still, it's a measure of Ringo's historical legacy that he casts a shadowy figure even in his own biography. []

Journey Through Northern Arizona, A
By Victoria Clark. Schiffer. 128 pp. Index. $24.99.

A native Arizonan Clark provides reproductions of at least 200 postcards showing Arizona people and places arranged in subject groupings (for example, the Hopi, the Painted Desert, Flagstaff and Hoover Dam) with captions that include the identity of the scene, the name of the publisher and a suggested range of dollar values.
Juan the Bear and the Water of Life=La Acequia de Juan del Oso
By Juan Estevan Arellano, Enrique R. Lamadrid, Amy Cordova. University of New Mexico Press. $$17.95.

Recounts the birth and youth of the prodigiously large and strong Juan del Oso who, legend has it, built the acequias in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Just Add Water
By Jim Koweek. Gardners Books. Index. . $17.50.
The long title itself pretty well summarizes the contents of this folksy, rambling conversation with a dedicated plantsman. If you listen long enough, you’ll hear useful and interesting information. []

Kartchner Caverns: How Two Cavers Discovered and Saved One of the Wonders of the Natural World
By Neil Miller. University of Arizona Press. 215 pp. Index. . $15.95.
How do you discover a world-class cave and keep it a secret until it can be protected for the public? This is that story, the discovery of Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts. The plot involves the Kartchner ranching family, a governor, legislators, snoopy reporters, and dedicated cavers. Much of the story has been hidden until now. Alluring color photos dress the book where mere words would fail to describe the glory of the cave. The author interviewed 37 of the principle players in this intriguing and well-told story. []

Kenneth Chapman's Santa Fe: Artists and Archaeologists, 1907-1931: the Memoirs of Kenneth Chapman
By Kenneth Milton Chapman, Marit K . Munson. School for Advanced Research Press. 189 pp. . $29.95.
Top Pick
Searching for better health Chapman left the damp Eastern seaboard for New Mexico at age 25 in 1899. In then-thriving Las Vegas he had the luck to become employed by Edgar Lee Hewett at the university. He soon moved to Santa FE where he spent most of his long life Fe at the Museum of New Mexico and the Laboratory of Anthropology. In his 60s began to write an autobiography, a mammoth manuscript, never published. Munson’s editing provides an excellent sense of Chapman’s entire life while focusing on those active years, age 32 to 57, during which Chapman’s antipathy for his former mentor and friend, the more famous Hewett, turns his text into a hostile diatribe about Hewett’s life and professional standards, which he deemed quite low. Enjoyable reading about the era in which Santa Fe decided to become “the city different.” []

Kenneth Milton Chapman: a Life Dedicated to Indian Arts and Artists
By Karen Barrie, Janet Chapman. University of New Mexico Press. 370 pp. Index. $34.95.
Top Pick
This thorough and very well-written biography is a fascinating look at a little-known but important figure in the early developement of Santa Fe as a focus of Native American and Western art. One of the authors is a relative of the subject and this no doubt colored her writing, but the resulting text has the feeling of truth, sometimes "unvarnished". The authors provide a lively portrait of a man whose nearly 70 years in New Mexico and tireless interest in Native American arts made him an important figure in the revival of those arts. This excellent piece of scholarship--accurate, thoroughly researched and readable--is a fitting complement to Marit Munson's editing of Chapman's autobiography listed elsewhere in this year's best books list. []

La Clinica: a Doctor's Journey Across Borders
By David P. Sklar. University of New Mexico Press. 234 pp. $26.95.

Dr. David Sklar steps out of his modern hospital into the medical clinic of a rural village in Mexico and finds surprising insights and relationships.
Land and Light in the American West
By John Ward. Trinity University Press. 136 pp. . $29.95.
A 30+ year retrospective of Ward's workman-like black and white images in large, horizontal format. []
John Ward gives us a sumptuous folio of black and white photographs depicting scenery and historic buildings across the West. My favorites are cottonwoods at Capitol Reef, a decrepit building at Terlingua, and eroded walls at Dos Cabezas. The images are reproduced in Fultone, giving them enormous eye appeal. The introduction by William R. Thompson provides a biography of the photographer.


Last Supper of Chicano Heroes, The: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga
By Daniel Chacón, Mimi Reisel Gladstein. University of Arizona Press. 232 pp. $16.95.

This first and only collection of Burciaga’s work features thirty-eight illustrations and incorporates previously unpublished essays and drawings, including selections from his manuscript “The Temple Gang,” a memoir he was writing at the time of his death.
Law on the Last Frontier: Texas Ranger Arthur Hill
By S. E. Spinks. Texas Tech University Press. 264 pp. Index. . $28.50.
Texan Arthur Hill was a Garrison Ranger serving under Colonel Homer Garrison, who shaped his troops into an elite crime-fighting unit. Hill's territory covered the rugged Big Bend Country of west Texas Working from personal records and interviews, the author vividly re-creates the excitement and danger as Hill, patrolling both sides of the Rio Grande by foot, horseback, and auto, rounded up smugglers, cattle thieves murderers and bad men. Here is an important addition to the 20th century history of a Texas Ranger and of the Big Bend as well. A fine read, which was hard to put down. []
Although he did spend some time in Dallas, it was the Big Bend and the southern Rio Grande border that attracted lawman Hill and Spinks captures the excitement of Hill’s life there. Using personal interviews and a wide variety of printed and archival sources his text takes the reader to the scenes of the crimes, so to speak, with a narrative that is compulsive reading.

Legacies of Camelot: Stewart and Lee Udall, American Culture, and the Arts
By L. Boyd Finch. University of Oklahoma Press. 194 pp. . $24.95.
Top Pick
A touching, personal, and thoroughly enjoyable reading pleasure, this biography-cum-history covers, for the most part, events that occurred in Washington D.C. when Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, but the long-term tenure of the Udalls in New Mexico makes it a southwestern book and Finch’s careful research and writing makes it excellent reading. Anyone who was an adult at the time of Kennedy’s inauguration will probably remember Robert Frost’s part, and Finch gives us an insider’s perspective on that event as well as other cultural “happenings” of the time. The significant role of Stewart and his wife Lee in the flowering of government support of the arts in what came to be known as the American Camelot makes the title word legacies especially appealing. []
Finch, an aide to Interior Secretary Stewart Udall during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, has written an elegant insider's portrait of a small-town Arizona couple and their transformative impact on art and culture in national life. Drawing on exhaustive research in the Udall papers at the University of Arizona and his own vivid recollections, Finch paints memorable portraits of John and Jackie Kennedy, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and other figures drawn into the Udalls' intimate Washington circle. He also traces the trajectory of Stewart Udall's evolving views on history and on the environment, and highlights Lee Udall's underappreciated role in preserving and promoting Native American folk art. This important and compulsively readable book explains how the Udalls drew on their southwestern backgrounds to shape the core of what we now nostalgically refer to as "Camelot." Scholars and general audiences alike will find it a pleasurable and rewarding read. []

Life of a Soldier on the Western Frontier
By Jeremy Agnew. . Index. . $ .
What was it like to be a soldier serving in the frontier West? Food, quarters, uniform, weapons, routine, pay, duties and drills, on patrol, and off duty: it’s all here in an authoritative, very smoothly written account that offers a sense of the soldier’s lot. For the most part soldiering was hard, dreary work. Although this book covers the entire West, much of it applies to the Southwest. A fascinating and enlightening book. I learned something on every page. []

Lillie Davenport: Pioneer Mother
By Mary Lou Midkiff . Oleo Publishing. 344 pp. Index. $29.95.

Chronicles the life of female pioneer Lillie Davenport as she marries a cowboy, moves to west Texas, and raises 12 children.
Line from Here to There, The: a Storyteller's Scottish West Texas
By Rosanna T. Herndon. Texas Tech University Press. 133 pp. . $24.95.

Eighteen stories covering several generations of Scottish West Texans, some of which are the author’s own ancestors, family and friends.
Listening to Cougar
By Marc Bekoff, Cara Blessley Lowe. University Press of Colorado. 200 pp. . $24.95.
Four of these short essays, mostly reprinted from other sources, are set in Arizona and New Mexico. The remainder are far outside the Southwest. For anyone with an interest in puma, cougar, catamount, and any other name by which this big cat goes this will be an interesting read with contributions from such well-knowns as J. Frank Dobie, Barry Lopez and Rick Bass. []
If cougars could talk, these 19 essays are what they might say. Essays by Rick Bass, J. Frank Dobie, and Barry Lopez are joined by experts such as Linda Sweanor, Janay Brun, and Marc Bekoff, as well as relative newcomers Steve Edwards and Steve Pavlik. The essays are inspiring and the message cautionary. How can our society so love domestic cats and dogs but tolerate the ruthless slaughter of its wild cats and canines? Also helpful are a “map” of stakeholder values, a chronicle of the few incidents where cougars killed humans, and safety tips in case you meet a cougar. []

Literary Nevada: Writings From the Silver State
By Cheryll Glotfelty. University of Nevada Press. 831 pp. Index. $29.95.
Forgive me. The title of this book drew a guffaw of laughter and a rude comment about the apparent oxymoron of “literary Nevada.” Those two words seem to crash. But after an hour browsing among the 200 plus selections, I found the anthology interesting, entertaining, and educational. Of particular interest for us in the Southwest are chapters on Las Vegas, contemporary poetry, contemporary fiction, and lessons of the land. The editor has done us a big favor by including first-rate biographies of the authors as well as photos of many. Although many of the authors are not Nevadans per se, they do render the state with affection or at least begrudging respect. Most of the literary terrain is beyond the Southwest, but it covers enough to make it worth your look. Considering the book’s size and range, it is a reading bargain. And the editor did me a favor, because her enterprise has convinced me that there may be a literary Nevada.


Little Big Bend: Common, Uncommon, and Rare Plants of Big Bend National Park
By Roy Morey. Texas Tech University Press. 329 pp. Index. . $34.95.
Top Pick
This especially beautiful plant book features 252 of Big Bend’s plants. It may be the best of a recent bouquet of superb books about Texas plants. Roy Morey’s definitive photographs and clear text bring life to the landscape and its wondrous plants. Readers will especially enjoy the sections on photography and where to see certain plants within the park. My only quibble is that the title does not begin to do the book justice. []

Lost Architecture of the Rio Grande Borderlands
By Eugene George. Texas A&M University Press. 105 pp. Index. $35.00.

Scheduled to be “full” by 1955, the Falcon Reservoir on the Rio Grande filled up two years earlier because of heavy rainy seasons, the impounded water covered homes, ranch houses, churches, cemeteries, etc. Dry years in recent decades have exposed many of these “lost” places and George’s text and photos bring together both archival information and more recent data to reveal what was indeed lost.
Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die
By Robert J. Randisi. Thomas Dunne Books. 262 pp. . $23.95.
Standard mystery fare set in Las Vegas with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack playing standard roles. []

Lucky Billy: A Novel About Billy the Kid
By John Vernon. Houghton Mifflin Co.. 294 pp. $24.00.
Top Pick
Vernon’s The Last Canyon, which retold Powell’s historic 1869 voyage through Grand Canyon in fictional form was on our “Best Books” list a few years back. Now he gives us a fictional rendering of the saga of Billy the Kid, and a wonderful accounting it is. Skipping back and forth in time, and among characters, Vernon provides dialog that gives us insight into events (such as Billy’s escape from jail) while never giving in to the temptation to simply tell the story. And he uses some historic documents, for example Pat Garrett’s autobiography, to give counterpoint to the events. Near the end we meet both Billy’s reputed father (a man of the theatre, of course, whose name is spelled Bonne with an accent over the “e”) and a small red-headed boy who might be Billy’s persona, still alive.

Made in the U.S.A.
By Billie Letts. Grand Central Publishing. 355 pp. . $24.99.

It begins in South Dakota, but much of this book is set in Las Vegas, Nevada, as teen and pre-teen Fate and Floy leave their keeper dead or dying on the floor in Wal-Mart and go in search of their father. Letts writes excellent dialog allowing the reader to understand the characters while moving the story along briskly.
Many a River
By Elmer Kelton. Forge. 335 pp. . $24.95.
Kelton proves why he is the dean of Western writers in this tale of adventure and reconciliation set in Civil War west Texas and New Mexico. Two boys, separated when their parents are killed in an Indian attack, follow different paths: one is taken captive by Comanches and eventually swept up in the Confederate invasion of the Southwest; the other is adopted by a Unionist couple who are forced to flee into Mexico. The story of their trials and eventual reunion is steeped in history and highlighted by the frontier experiences that forged boys into men. []

Map of the Lost
By Miriam Sagan. University of New Mexico Press. 136 pp. . $24.95.
Vivid images of the Southwest fill this book of 89 poems. The details evoke cultures and relations, family and dreams, maybe even your own. Sagan ranges widely in her quest to revisit and “map” her memories. Her eye is keen, her words gentle but probing. My favorites include “Biblioteca,” “Clovis,” and “Panhandle.” And perhaps from her lines in “Each Thing Has Its Own Meaning,” we find the central theme of her fine collection: “You stitch onto fabric/A tapestry of survival/Quilting the journey.”


Martín de Léon: Tejano Empresario
By Judy Alter, Patrick Messersmith. State House Press. 71 pp. . $14.95.

Meat: a Love Story
By Susan Bourette. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 274 pp. $24.95.

A “compassionate carnivore” travels far and wide in her quest to debunk myths about the raising, cooking and eating of meat. One leg of her trek takes her on a Texas cattle drive, and it is the only segment of this book with southwestern content.
Mediating Knowledges: Origins of a Zuni Tribal Museum
By Gwyneira Isaac. University of Arizona Press. 207 pp. Index. . $50.00.
Establishing a museum in the pueblo of Zuni was not an easy endeavor. The people didn't want the Anglo concept of a museum, which stored objects and catered to tourists. Instead, they wanted something that met the community's needs and follow Zuni cultural ways. Thus, the concept of an ecomuseum developed -- a museum mainly without walls, indicating that many exhibits and teaching activities would be within the community itself. The A:shiwi A:wan Museum was ultimately established in 1992 with a goal toward integrating all aspects of the comunity such as the natural environment, along with economic and social relationships. []
How can a Native American community balance privacy of religion and families with scholarship and scrutiny by outsiders? That is a tough mission, as the Zuni found out when the nation decided to build a museum and heritage center. This book is the story of that evolving relationship. The author, now an assistant professor at Arizona State University, participated in that long and sometimes painful discussion, but along the way discovered many concepts that may help other cultures bridge trust and understanding. She learned that knowledge brings responsibility. My “passage from student to professor was immensely difficult, not because it was harder … work, but because for the first time I was wholly accountable for the knowledge that I acquired and transmitted.” []

Medicine Bags and Dog Tags: American Indian Veterans from Colonial Times to the Second Iraq War
By . University of Nebraska Press. 287 pp. Index. $45.00.
Here is the story of Native men and women who have participated in wars from colonial times to the second Iraq War. The author suggests that the reasons for enlistment of Native people are varied and complex, but often connected to the relative strength of the warrior tradition within communities. He also shows how Native people have influenced U.S. military tactics, symbolism, and basic training. The story would have been enhanced with illustrations. []

Merde Happens: a Novel
By Stephen Clarke. Bloomsbury USA. $24.99.
Clarke takes a hilarious look at British, French, and American customs as his fictional hero Paul West sets out in a Mini automobile from New York to Los Angeles in a competition to promote Great Britain as a tourist destination. A stopover in Las Vegas, "where anything is possible" (even the Eiffel Tower in the Nevada desert), gives this rollicking yarn its southwesern twist. []

Mexican National Identity: Memory, Innuendo, and Popular Culture
By William H. Beezley. University of Arizona Press. 206 pp. Index. . $24.95.

The author asserts that a Mexican national identity was created during the 19th century by an unrelated mix of ordinary people and everyday events.
Mining Law of 1872, The: Past, Politics and Prospects
By Gordon Morris Bakken. University of New Mexico Press. Index. $45.00.
The federal Mining Law of 1872 has exerted enormous influence on the economy and environment of the West. Gordon Bakken, a mining law historian, explains the law in terms of American mining, mining history, and its effects, especially its unintended consequences. Some of the egregious abuses of the law have affected the Quechan and Hopi, although the book ranges far beyond the Southwest. The book is especially timely as corporations seek to expand operations in the Southwest, for example a proposed copper pit near Tucson. Readers may wish to start with the chapter on modernizing the law (ch. 11), for the next session of Congress may hear proposals to greatly modify or repeal the law. []

By Chris Hannan. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 304 pp. . $24.00.

Nineteen-year-old Dol McQueen is an intelligent, strong-willed hooker with a weakness for liquid opium, called "Missy". When she comes into possession of a crate of pure opium, Dol's adventures begin as she flees across the arduous wagon trails of the Southwest to stay ahead of the crate's owners.
Moon Lily
By Susan Lang. University of Nevada Press. 249 pp. $21.00.

More Zeal than Discretion: the Westward Adventures of Walter P. Lane
By Jimmy L. Bryan, Jr.. Texas A&M University Press. 250 pp. Index. $35.00.

This biography of Walter Paye Lane follows him through three wars, and traces his involvement in the westward expansion in the 19th century U.S.
Mustang: the Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West
By Deanne Stillman. Houghton Mifflin Co.. 338 pp. . $25.00.
This wonderful volume traces the history of the descendants of the hardy horse of the western plains, which was reintroduced by the Spanish in the 1500s. What a story there is to tell! Each chapter s almost a book i itself and recreates relationships with the American Indian, the United States Army, Buffalo Bill's wild west, and the cowboy and the cattle trade. A chapter is devoted to Comanche, the lone survivor of the Battle of Little Bighorn. Although wounded and scarred, he was petted and cared for and to ease his pain, ed a diet of whiskey and bran mash throughout his life. Hollywood is not forgotten and the fast-paced western introduced man paired with his horse including William Hart and Fritz; Gene Autry and Champion; Roy Rogers and Trigger; and the Lone Ranger and Silver. Finally, the author recounts stories of the massacre of wild horses and the efforts to same them to roam wild and free. Unfortunately, most activity is not in the southwest. []

Mysterium Fidei
By Michael M. Brescia, Daniel Martin Diaz. Last Gasp. 120 pp. $35.00.

Names on a Map
By Benjamin Alire Saenz. Harper Perennial. 426 pp. . $14.95.
In this poetic novel set in El Paso at the height of the Vietnam era, Saenz explores the morality of the Southeast Asian conflict through the eyes of three generations of the Espejo family whose draft-age son struggles with the decision to serve or to flee to Mexico. Saenz vividly recreates the turmoil of the sixties, while penning a stinging indictment of the personal and social consequences of an unjust war. []

Natural Environments of Arizona: From Deserts to Mountains
By Owen K. Davis, Peter F. Ffolliott. The University of Arizona Press. 196 pp. Index. $19.95.
This revision of Charles Lowe’s Arizona’s Natural Environments features nine essays by acknowledged experts in the fields of climate, soils, water, flora, fauna, and geology. It presents an overview of the state’s resources and may help some readers better understand and appreciate the state’s diverse landscapes, fascinating plants and wildlife, and looming problems. The writing is scientists speaking to scientists; for example, “Sustaining flows of high-quality water becomes problematic when vegetation on the contributing watersheds has been inappropriately removed, burned by wildfires, or impacted by other actions causing elevated physical, chemical, and biological pollutants in streamflow regimes” (page 160). The information is precise but general. Maps would have helped. []

Nature at Your Doorstep: a Nature Trails Book
By Gloria A. Tveten, John L. Tveten. Texas A&M University Press. 178 pp. $24.95.

The best of twenty years-worth of articles about local flora and fauna by popular Houston Chronicle columnists John and Gloria Tveten, with illustrations by John Tveten.
Nepantla: Essays From the Land in the Middle
By Pat Mora. Univ Of New Mexico Press. 181 pp. $19.95.

In twenty essays, Mora explores the issues of cultural preservation; preservation of her own Mexican American culture, which she views as a source for her creativity and for her sense of self.
New Mexico in 1801: The Priests Report
By Rick Hendricks. Rio Grande Books. 206 pp. Index. $17.95.

In 1792 the Merchants Guild in Guadalajara was granted trading rights separate from the official traders in Guadalajara and a decade later they asked the local priests (20 all told) to report on the situation vis-a-vis “commerce” in the Pueblos. Hendricks has translated their reports, some as short as half a page, some as long as several pages into practical English aimed at accuracy rather than literary style.
New Mexico Territory During the Civil War: Wallen and Evans Inspection Reports, 1862-1863
By Andrew Wallace Evans, Jerry D. Thompson, Henry Davies Wallen. University of New Mexico Press. 304 pp. Index. $34.95.
Major Henry D. Wallen and Captain Andrew W. Evans report on conditions at military posts garrisoned by the Union Army following the Confederate evacuation of New Mexico. Published here for the first time, with an introduction and detailed notes, these reports provide valuable information for military historians and students of the Civil War in the Southwest. []
The first thing I notice when reading the inside flaps of the book jacket was that the information on the front flap was partially repeated on the end flap, ending mid-sentence. Someone goofed here. The book contains a collection of Major Henry Davies Wallen's 1862-1863 inspection reports of nine New Mexican forts and Captain Andrew Wallace Evans' inspection of four New Mexican forts in 1863. The results suggest that because Western posts were isolated, they were almost ignored by those involved in the war. This included lack of supplies, poor care of the animals, even absence of sleeping sacks. The book is heavily annotated and includes biographies of individuals mentioned. There are sketches of the various forts but maps and other illustrations would have been welcome. []

New Mexico's Crypto-Jews: Image and Memory
By Cary Herz. University of New Mexico Press. 153 pp. . $39.95.
In what she describes as a "photographic diary," Herz captures in evocative black-and-white images the faces of descendents of 16th-century refugees from the Spanish Inquisition and displays cultural artifacts reflecting the secret Jewish heritage of the Southwest. Herz's subjects describe how Judaic practices were passed down to present generations and explain how awareness of their Jewish ancestry has influenced their identity. A haunting and uplifting look into a hidden corner of southwestern history.


New Mexico: a Biographical Dictionary 1540-1980, Volume II
By Don Bullis. Rio Grande Books. 408 pp. Index. $19.95.
This second volume provides short biographies for about 500 “New Mexicans” (half of them shown in photographs) missed in Bullis’ biographical dictionary of a few years ago. Such names as photographer Lee Marmon (father of the much more famous New Mexican writer Leslie Marmon Silko) and Santa Fe resident actor Alan Arkin. We can quibble with some choices, but most readers will just wonder how some names were missed the first time around; names such as Mangas Coloradas (Apache war chief); Allan Houser (world class Native American artist); Nancy Lopez (world class golfer); Lozen (Apache warrior, sister of Victorio); and Mike Todd (Hollywood mogul and Liz’s first!). Good catch-up volume, Don. []

New Stories from the Southwest
By D. Seth Horton. Swallow Press/Ohio University Press. 285 pp. . $32.95.
Top Pick
Editor Horton, a University of Arizona graduate, has selected some 19 stories, all previously published in journals during 2006. The subjects are as varied as the authors who wrote them and are guaranteed to provide pleasurable reading. Patrick Tobin created an imaginary story about what might have been on the other side of Zzyzx Road near Baker, California. How did the cornfield appear next to the Pow Wow Hotel in West Texas? Dennis Fulgoni was entranced by the fact that a "Deadman's Nail" could be transplanted from a cadaver, while Donald Hurd found some interesting ways for Guadalupe to put a hex on the taxman. []

No Settlement, No Conquest: A History of the Coronado Entrada
By Richard Flint. University of New Mexico Press. 358 pp. Index. $376.
Thanks to the Spaniards' obsession with record-keeping, historians have long had a pretty good idea of what occurred during the 1539-42 exploration of the present-day Southwest. Now, archaeologist Flint draws on three decades of research and publication (with his wife, Shirley) to explain "how" and "why." Although this book lacks the narrative sweep of Herbert Bolton's classic account, Flint performs an immense service by detailing the background and context of the Coronado expedition and assessing its immediate and enduring legacy. []

Nobody's Horses: the Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands
By Don Höglund. University of Nebraska Press. 264 pp. $17.95.

A history of the wild horses living on New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, and a riveting account of the author’s organization of their rescue and relocation to safety.
Northline: a Novel
By Willy Vlautin. Harper Perennial. 192 pp. $14.95.
Escaping her abusive boyfriend in Las Vegas Allison stops in Reno, adopts-out her "unwanted" baby and settles down to a less than perfect life. Vlautin writes "gritty" and "lost" very well, making this a fascinating, though perhaps not enjoyable, read. He also writes music and is lead singer for a band (a CD of his music is included in a pocket at the back of the book).

Notes From Texas: On Writing in the Lone Star State
By W. C. Jameson. TCU Press. 254 pp. Index. $27.95.
Fourteen contemporary authors reflect on why they write and how place shapes their craft. Contributers include Judy Alter, Robert Flynn, Don Graham, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Paulette Jiles, Elmer Kelton, Larry L. King, James Ward Lee, James Reasoner, Clay Reynolds, Joyce Gibson Roach, Red Steagall, Carlton Stowers, and Frances Brannen Vick. This entertaining glimpse into the creative process will appeal to readers and budding authors (or "arthurs," as Larry King calls them) alike. []

Notes on Blood Meridian
By John Sepich. University of Texas Press. 216 pp. Index. $45.00.
Sepich has updated, and added two new essays to, his seminal study of Cormac McCarthy's masterwork. Originally published in a small edition a quarter century ago, this essential sourcebook explores the historical and literary inspirations, imagery, themes, motifs, and assorted minutia McCarthy drew upon to paint his inspired portrait of scalphunters in the post-Mexican War borderlands. A "must read" for those, like myself, who consider Blood Meridian the great southwestern novel. []

Now Silence: a Novel of World War II
By Tori Warner Shepard. Sunstone Press. 307 pp. $26.95.

Captures the mood of World War II Santa Fe, as the city awaits the return of citizens held in Japanese prison camps.
Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future
By , Melissa K. Nelson. Bear & Company. 359 pp. . $18.00.

This collection of presentations from the annual Bioneers conference shares the ideas of the world’s indigenous leaders for restoring our ailing planet.
Oro Valley
By Barbara Marriott. Arcadia Publishing. 127 pp. $19.99.
Oro Valley has long been one of the more interesting and scenic suburbs of Tucson, Arizona. A number of local characters have lived there, including rancher Buster Bailey, florist Hal Burns, heiress Daisy Field, hunter Bee Dee Adkins, sheriff John Nelson, and pioneers Matilda and William Sutherland. The stage coach route has become a highway, the old ranches have become apartments and malls, and homes stand where prospectors once searched for gold, but the history lives as photographs of this book. []

Otero Mesa: Preserving America's Wildest Grassland
By Gregory McNamee, Stephen Capra, Stephen Strom. University of New Mexico Press. 92 pp. $24.95.
Top Pick
Solid account of the past and foreseeable future (bleak) of a vast grassland lying between El Paso and the Guadalupe Mountains which run north for about 100 miles from a spot well into the Texas Panhandle to a place well-north of the New Mexico-Texas border. []
Otero Mesa is 1.2 million acres of one of the largest remaining natural Chihuahuan Desert grasslands left in the U.S. It is also one of a diminishing number of large public lands in the Southwest that are not open to oil and gas exploration. As we go to press, the outgoing administration plans to change that. The move is opposed by the government and people of New Mexico. This book’s story is important because it is representative of the on-going battle over the long term management of public lands and choices between development and extraction or preservation and nature, old paradigm consumption or new paradigm sustainability, corporate influence vs. public interest. Thanks to award-winning nature writer Greg McNamee, and the remarkable photography of scientist Stephen Strom and naturalist Stephen Capra, it is a story well told. Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and former U.S. Secretary of Energy, wrote the forward. []

Other Side of Silence, The: a Novel of Suspense
By Bill Pronzini. Walker and Co. 216 pp. $24.00.
Pronzini's hero, anti-hero really, is a recently divorced (following the death of his son) loner named Rick Fallon who likes desolate places such as Death Valley. There, on a solo trip, he encounters a woman, curled up and waiting to die, who has tried to commit suicide by abandoning her car and starting to walk across the desert without food, water, or any protection from the sun. After reviving her, Rick is drawn into her story of brutal rape committed to convince her not to try again to find her son who has been kidnapped by her vicious ex-husband. []

Out of His League
By Pat Flynn. Walker & Co. 304 pp. . $16.99.

18-year-old Ozzie Eaton, a rugby player from the Australian Outback, moves to Hope, TX for a year and becomes enmeshed in the religion that is west Texas high school football.
Out of the Limelight: An Autobiography
By Shaw Kinsley, Jane Constance Loew. Jane Loew. 287 pp. . $27.00.
The granddaughter of motion picture pioneers Adolph Zukor and Marcus Loew recounts her privileged childhood in New York, her teenage years at Tucson High and the University of Arizona, and her adult life connected with charity work and the movie industry. Although Loew focuses mostly on her personal relationships with family, husbands, and celebrities (the index reads like a Who's Who of twentieth-century Hollywood), readers of her plain-spoken autobiography also receive an intimate view of Tucson from the 1930s to the present--particularly through her connections to the Old Tucson movie set with second husband Robert Shelton. []

Patterns of Exchange: Navajo Weavers and Traders
By Teresa Wilkins. University of Oklahoma Press. 231 pp. Index. . $34.95.
Top Pick
The traders, specifically Lorenzo Hubbell of Ganado, had an enormous influence on Navajo weaving by encouraging the women to create new designs that would attract Anglo-American buyers. He also commissioned artists to paint rug designs that Hubbell thought would please buyers, then asked the weavers to copy them (the framed paintings adorn one wall of the Hubbell rug room). the author interviewed a number of weavers for their point of view and it appears that some liked the idea, but always had the final say on the end product, perhaps adding something of her own. The Hubbell family operated some 36 trading posts, mainly in Arizona and New Mexico, thus creating a market for his weavers. Now in the new millenium, we see change over time. Weavers have become enormously creative and produce fine work. They travel to shows and museums and market their own rugs, in many cases, over the Internet. Who would have believed that their market is now global as collectors around the world buy and cherish a Navajo rug. Another topic for consideration is how Hubbell at the same time, was doing much the same thing to promote the Navajo silversmith, whose works have also become collectors' items. []

Pearl's Redemption
By C. H. Admirand. Five Star. 351 pp. $25.95.

After Pearl Lloyd’s husband died, she transformed their ranch from a house of ill-repute to a safe haven for the women living there. Trouble begins when a stranger from Boston arrives, claiming to have purchased the ranch.
Pecans: the Story in a Nutshell
By Jane Manaster. Texas Tech University Press. 104 pp. $19.95.

Although not native here, pecan orchards are spreading all over the Southwest. This small book tells about this wonderful native American nut and how it came to be so popular.
Photography: New Mexico
By Thomas F. Barrow. University Of New Mexico Press. 284 pp. $95.00.

This prominent expert has assembled a representative album of photographs of 25 outstanding contemporary photographers to illustrate the state of the art in New Mexico
Place of Refuge, A: Maynard Dixon's Arizona
By . . .
Finally settling in Arizona for the last decade of his life Maynard Dixon had traveled and painted throughout the American West supporting himself with commercial art projects and jobs for newspapers and magazines. As his unique style developed and his work became better known he was offered commissions for private and public murals and this recognition brought him sales of individual works. This book is a wonderful display of his Arizona art beginning in 1900 and ranging across four-and-a-half decades. Two essays provide the reader with an understanding of chronology and of Dixon's place in Western Art. Hagerty's chapter titled "Sky and Sandstone" frames his life chronologically while Smith's essay titled "Evading Conflict" helps us analyze the art itself. []

Post-War Dream, The: a Novel
By MItch Cullin. Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. 237 pp. . $24.00.
Hollis and Debra have retired to a comfortable new home in the Tucson suburbs with pool, gardening space, even a little “house” where Hollis can retreat. Pushed by Debra to begin an autobiography Hollis thinks (more than he writes) and we readers begin to see the outline of their past lives. During the Korean War a soldier Hollis detests was killed near him and a series of events leads him to Texas where that soldier’s family takes him in. Meanwhile, in the present Debra develops breast cancer and her slow decline despite every possible treatment, including experimental drugs, is a counterpoint to Hollis’ memories. Clever dialog (Debra, for example, calls mastectomy “a tonsillectomy for the aged”) and vivid descriptions (of Tucson, of Korea, of Texas) make for a memorable reading experience. []
Cullin tackles themes of love and loss, war and remembrance, and the tragedy of unintended consequences in this bittersweet novel set in a retirement community outside Tucson. Korean War memories and his wife's battle with cancer force Hollis Adams to weigh the past and present, and take painful measure of life's gains and losses. It is a tribute to Cullin's considerable talent that these large themes seamlessly play out in mundane events poetically rendered - a desert snowfall, a golf course stroll, the touch of a hand. Cullin's poignant story captures the soul of a generation not his own. It's a notable achievement for a young writer. []

Pottery of Zuni Pueblo, The
By Francis Harvey Harlow, Dwight P. Lanmon. Museum of New Mexico Press. 604 pp. Index. $150.00.
Top Pick
Here is an unprecedented study of seven hundred years of Zuni pottery. The highly illustrated volume of over 600 pages contains a brief history of the Zuni people followed by illustrations of designs and shapes.Included are photographs of an incredible variety of designs on paint pots, boxes, freestanding figures and special forms. Zuni potters are featured along with their creations. Vicarious pleasure awaits those who love pottery and can own them all with this book. It is for all those interested in Native art, museum specialists, artists, ceramicists, and archaeologists and anthropologists. []

Preceramic Subsistence in Two Rock Shelters in Fresnal Canyon, South Central New Mexico
By Vorsila L. Bohrer. University of Arizona. 252 pp. . $24.95.
This technical archaeological report analyzes the plants that prehistoric people used at Fesnal Canyon rock shelter and High Rolls Cave northeast of Alamogordo, New Mexico. []

Pueblos, Spaniards, and the Kingdom of New Mexico
By John L. Kessell. University of Oklahoma Press. 232 pp. Index. $24.95.

In seven “linked stories,” one of the Southwest’s pre-eminent borderlands historians describes the complex colonial relationship between Spaniards and Native Americans that culminated in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt and the subsequent Spanish reconquest of New New Mexico.
Pure Goldwater
By John W. Dean, Barry Goldwater, Barry M. Goldwater. Palgrave Macmillan. 399 pp. . $27.95.
This is a good read resulting from assembling personal thoughts that Goldwater entered in his personal journal over a period of 50 years. He mused about individuals, events, political positions -- all of it. And he could say what he wanted since these were his private thoughts not being considered for publication. Though this is an important book about a notabl4 Arizonan and American, it has little southwestern content. []

Radiant Curve, A: Poems and Stories
By Luci Tapahonso. University of Arizona Press. 93 pp. $35.00.
Top Pick
You’re welcome to approach this as the poetry of a Diné (Navajo) woman, but you’ll be short-changing yourself if you limit it to that. Her work, as revealed in the 29 prose and poetry selections here, reaches across designations. Family is foremost and we can all relate. The most revealing and deepest selection was the patriotically powerful “The American Flag” but not for reasons that you’d predict. One, “Festival of the Onion,” tells about “losing” author Scott Momaday, but he is found: “can a man be lost if he accompanied by three women?” And if you need a heartfelt laugh, try “New Boots;” I’m still grinning. The title of this volume, number 64 in the Sun Tracks book series, derives from a line about the Holy People: “We exist within the radiant curve of their care and wisdom” (page 19), as Tapahonso so touchingly reminds us. A bonus is the CD of her reading from this and her two previous books. Take her with you; she’ll make the trip more enjoyable. []
Five short narratives, the title of one of which provides the title of the book, are distributed among Tapahonso’s poems, and in fact her words flow poetically no matter which designation we choose to give to them. Reading carefully crafted words such as these always makes me want to say “Why don’t we all read more poetry?” I always answer myself “Because we are too lazy! We mostly want our writers to tell us everything; poetry makes us think.” And Tapahonso makes us think, and feel, and care, and wonder, and... []

Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920: Socialists, Populists, Miners, and Wobblies
By David R. Berman. University Press of Colorado. 386 pp. Index. . $39.95.

Berman studies the socialist and populist movements to trace the rise and fall of radicalism in the west.
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond. Volume 2, Water-harvesting Earthworks
By Brad Lancaster, Joe Marshall. Rainsource Press. 419 pp. Index. $35.95.
Top Pick
Tired of seeing rain water from your roof and yard run down the street while you pay more and more to water your shade trees and garden? Brad Lancaster offers a rain barrelful of tested ideas on how to harvest that runoff with berms, basins, diversions, swales, and mulching. The ideas range from simple morning projects to master plans involving major landscaping, but as with most good notions, the key is to start somewhere. This bountiful book, the second in a trilogy of books of consequence for the Southwest, will help us rethink how we obtain and use water. []
Tucson and the Southwest have a problem: we live in a desert, we have used water like there was no end to it, and now we realize there is. What can we do? Thanks to the pioneering work of Brad Lancaster and others, there are good solutions to that with little or no cost. In this, his second volume of three, Brad shows in a easy to understand manner, supported with lots of illustrations, how to re-form yards, parks and other landscapes to capture rainfall and care for landscaping in natural ways. Because the average urban home in the Southwest uses more potable water on the yard than in the house, these measures can easily cut water bills in half for most people. For putting practical sustainability to good use, this is a top pick for those who live in the Southwest, and elsewhere []

Rare Plants of Texas: a Field Guide
By Jackie M. Poole. Texas A&M University Press. 640 pp. Index. . $35.00.
Clear, direct, interesting, and useful are good things in a book, and this one is especially good. From an opening sentence , “Texas is a big state,” to the sections on the state’s natural regions, to a cogent explanation of what makes a plant rare, endangered, or threatened with extinction, this book excels. But its centerpiece is coverage of several hundred plants, giving taxonomy, habitat, descriptions, sketches and photos, and maps of their range. The authors ably argue that for these plants to survive, the public as well as scientists must be able to recognize and appreciate them. They admirably introduce this diverse and until now largely hidden segment of Texas’s 5,100 species of plants. New species, nodding yucca (Yucca cernua) and Matt Turner’s aster (Arida mattturneri) have been discovered in the 21st century. []
The book is a botanists dream and one that naturalists, academics and environmental consultants will find enormously valuable. Although, don't count on finding all these plants since many are described for which there are no living samples. That however, does not detract from a magnificent effort to describe rare plants that have or do exist in Texas' eleven natural regions. In addition to sections on history of plant conservation and management and restoration of rare plants, there is a glossary and some 80 pages of references. Included are hundreds of photographs and accurate sketches of plant parts and a map of Texas that highlights the various counties in which each species can be found. []

Redrawing Boundaries: Perspectives on Western American Art
By Peter M. Hassrick, Laura Caruso. Denver Art Museum. 80 pp. $22.50.

Controversy abounds in the art world over the place of Western American art. This book of essays continues that discussion, with essays by eminent authors in the field.
Reflections of Grand Canyon Historians: Ideas, Arguments, and First-Person Accounts
By Todd R. Berger. Grand Canyon Association. 224 pp. $15.00.
Top Pick
There are hundreds of art books on the Grand Canyon. Now it is time for a book that tells its stories by people who lived them. Thirty-two writers have revived its history which includes new evidence of the disintigration of the Powell expedition. We learn about the Carnegie-Caltech and Nordenskiold expeditions, Native peoples and their relationship to the canyon,mules and trails, John Muir and Gifford Pinchot,women in the canyon, challenges to early medical care, cowboy camps, and running cattle on the North rim. These papers were presented by 34 participants in the Second Grand Canyon History Symposium held at the Canyon in January 2007. Enjoyable reading for all. []

Remarkable Curiosity, A: Dispatches from a New York City Journalist's 1873 Railroad Trip Across the American West
By Amos J. Cummings, Jerald T. Milanich. University Press of Colorado. 371 pp. Index. $26.95.

A collection of nineteen articles, originally published in the New York Sun, includes an interview with Mormon prophet Brigham Young and his wife, Anna Eliza Young, in Salt Lake City and comments on a failed LDS expedition to colonize central Arizona.
Reminiscences of Major General Zenas R. Bliss, 1854-1876, The: From the Texas Frontier to the Civil War and Back Again
By Ben E. Pingenot, Thomas T. Smith, Jerry D. Thompson, Robert Wooster. Texas State Historical Association. 519 pp. $39.95.
In this detailed memoir, Bliss recounts two decades of military service in West Texas and during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Although Bliss eventually achieved high rank more through endurance and longevity than stellar accoumplishment (Fort Bliss is named for a distant cousin), he was a meticulous, good-humored observer of people and customs along the U.S.-Mexico border and a reluctant participant in the surrender of U.S. forces in Texas following secession. The editors, experts in frontier military history, do an exemplary job in placing Bliss' reminiscences in their historical and social context. []

Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West
By Joseph Courtney White. Island Press. 210 pp. Index. . $25.95.

Although cattle ranching is the stuff of western lore, the reality is that it produces only a very small portion of the meat we eat and has been one of the largest single causes of environmental destruction in the West. This is the story of how some people are working on changing that.
Richer Dust, A
By Amy Boaz. Permanent Press. 212 pp. . $26.00.
Here is a first novel. Admitting to extracting ideas from Trotsky, D. H. Lawrence, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and others, the author has created a setting in Taos during the twenties. It is here that Doll, a British painter, finds herself in spite of life's many setbacks. []

River Apart, A: the Pottery of Cochiti & Santo Domingo Pueblos
By Valerie K. Verzuh. Museum of New Mexico Press. 185 pp. Index. $45.00.
Another fine book from the Museum of New Mexico Press, dealing with the history of pottery from Santo Domingo and Cochiti pueblos a few miles apart on the Rio Grande. We learn that in the beginning the pottery of the two villages was virtually undistinguishible. Hundreds of color photos illustrate the two traditions and how they changed over time. The photographic catalog of collections includes date of various bowls, jars, cups, pitchers, and figures along with measurements. Artist is listed if known. Appendices discuss basic materials, tools, and techniques used for the pottery, a glossary, and time line of events in the Southwest. []

Road From La Cueva, The: a Novel
By Sheila Ortego. Sunstone Press. 140 pp. $26.95.

A constrained woman finds fulfillment via friendship and an extra-marital affair.
Rock Art of Arizona, The: Art for Life's Sake
By Ekkehart Malotki. Kiva Publishing, Inc.. 194 pp. Index. . $35,00.
Malotki, professor emeritus at NAU, has produced during his decades in Arizona more than a dozen scholarly books about Hopi symbolism, oral tradition, rock art, and similar topics. The present volume, while not limited to Hopi by any means, represents a culmination of years spent afield throughout the state with camera in hand. More than 400 color photos are supplemented by substantive texts suggesting how and why rock art is important, first covering those sites dating prior to 1000 B.C., then those sites after that date concluding with a chapter of “interpretation”. []

A comprehensive book, lavishly illustrated with full-color photos and line drawings, on the rock art in Arizona.
Sacred Feast, A: Reflections on Sacred Harp Singing and Dinner on the Ground
By Kathryn Eastburn. University of Nebraska Press. 166 pp. Includes appendix of recordings, and recipes throughout. $24.95.

Accompany the author on a culinary travelogue about non-denominational religious singing, and take a soul-searching look at the heart of America. Filled with actual recipes.
Salt Warriors: Insurgency on the Rio Grande
By Paul Cool. Texas A&M University Press. 360 pp. Index. . $24.95.

Santa Fe Dead
By Stuart Woods. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 309 pp. $25.95.

Hell hath no fury like attorney Ed Eagle's very wicked ex-wife, and the score she has to settle with her former spouse precipitates a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. This is the third in the New York Times-best-selling author's series featuring Santa Fe trial lawyer Ed Eagle.
Scare-izona: a Travel Guide to Arizona's Spookiest Spots
By Katie Mullaly, J. Patrick Ohlde. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.. 256 pp. . $14.95.
The authors first set out their bona fides and explain their methods for investigating the paranormal phenomena that interest them. Next they describe separately their interactions with Arizona “hotspots” of things that go bump in the night. This is NOT a gee-whiz collection of accounts. Mullaly and Ohlde take their work seriously describing their own experiences, as well as brief accounts of traditional stories, at 16 haunted places in Arizona. Folks who believe in spooks, ghosts and such will enjoy this serious approach to an often sneered at subject. []

Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy, The: How the Tiger Kings Tamed Las Vegas
By Jimmy Lavery, Jim Mydlach, Louis Mydlach, Henrietta Tiefenthaler. Phoenix Books. 247 pp. $25.95.

A behind-the-scenes expose on the secret lives of two Las Vegas icons, as told by their show consultant and security team members.
Secrets of a Shoe Addict
By Beth Harbison. St. Martin's Press. 340 pp. . $22.95.

This comedic tale chronicles the foibles of four housewives who become phone-sex operators to pay off unexpected debt.
Shavetail: a Novel
By Thomas Cobb. Scribner. 366 pp. . $25.00.
This gritty historical novel charts the misfortunes of a seventeen-year-old army recruit haunted by tragedy during the Apache wars in southeastern Arizona. The plot, such as it is, follows a small cavalry patrol into Mexico in search of a kidnapped white woman. Heroes are hard to find in the bleak world Cobb creates as his flawed characters wrestle with inner demons and the harsh reality of a landscape where fate is capricious and life dangles by the sheerest thread. This isn't your standard western fare, as Cobb's vivid imagery and fertile imagination underscore the brutality of frontier life. []
Shavetail: n., 1. unbroken Army mule–tail hair removed to warn of possible danger; 2. by extension, a raw Army recruit who may present a danger to other soldiers. There are no heroes in Cobb’s grim account of a company of outcast soldiers in Arizona Territory nearing the end of the so-called Apache Wars. His descriptions are, as my grandfather used to say, spang-on, his dialog rings true, and his characters run the gamut from drunken, devious and manipulative to stupid and uneducated. Told in alternating chapters from three points of view (two officers and the shavetail of the title), the events ring true to frontier life a days ride east of Tucson in the heart of Apacheland.

Silver and Stone: Profiles of American Indian Jewelers
By Mark Bahti. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 212 pp. Includes glossary and schedule of juried and unjuried Indian Markets and Fairs where the artists featured in the book may be found.. $40.00.
Top Pick
From interviews and often re-interviews over the years Bahti, a second generation Tucson dealer in Native American art, has selected nearly 50 individual artists and their family members to highlight with personal texts and fine color photos. Many of the artists work in other media but the focus of this book is silver jewelry and accompanying minerals such as coral and, of course, turquoise. Good color photos highlight each artist’s work and the texts explain how each one came to be an artist working in silver and stone. This book arrived early in the year but it is easy for me to predict that there will not be a better book among my choices by year’s end. []
Forty-eight talented and creative Native artists working with stone, shell, and silver, are profiled between the covers of a beautifully published volume. It must be emphasized that each item produced by these artists is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. There are no mass-produced pieces of jewellry here. Each has a story to tell about his or her background and how they came to design their works. Bernard Dawahoya, for example, is an Arizona Living Treasure, who tells how he tied coins on train tracks and let the trail "flatten them real good." The creativity of these artists knows no bounds. The book is amply illustrated showing the jewellers at work and their individual pieces of wearable art. A glossary helps understand some of the terms used in the book. A winner, I say! []

Silver of the Sierra Madre, The: John Robinson, Boss Shepherd, and the People of the Canyons
By John M. Hart. University of Arizona Press. 237 pp. Index. $45.00.
Hart, a distinguished historian of Mexico, has written an interpretive study of the rise and fall of the Batopilas Consolidated Mining Company in Chihuahua and its owner/patrons. Hart sees in the company's half-century operation a microcosm of American capitalism in Porfirian Mexico and a precursor of twentieth-century investment in Third World countries. Although directed at a scholarly audience, this interesting and accessible book will also appeal to general readers. []
This is a history book written smoothly enough to be read aloud. It tells a balanced story about American mining engineers John Robinson and Alexander Shepherd who grabbed the silver lodes of Batopiles, Mexico, from the 1860s to 1920s. No one should be surprised that the story includes greed, theft, slavery, racism, murder, and double-dealing. It is emblematic that one mine manager’s two sons died of typhoid caused by unhealthy conditions at the mines; you can only imagine how the mines affected those less privileged. If you wonder why Americans are not universally loved in Mexico, this book will offer some clues. The book is more than an interesting chapter in Southwest history—it is a cautionary tale of wider interest. []

Slavery to Integration: Black Americans in West Texas
By Paul H. Carlson, Bruce A. Glasrud, Tai D. Kreidler. Stae House Press. 168 pp. Index. . $21.95.
Here are twelve articles reprinted from the West Texas Historical Association Year Book, that attempt to cover a road history of Black Americans in West Texas. Topics include biographies of West Point graduate, Henry Flipper and the no-nonsense leader and martinet of the 24th United States Infantry Regiment,William R. Shafter; the interesting saga of the Black Seminoles lost but not forgotten treaty; the true story behind the 1900 census in Abiline; integration in San Angelo, and more. []

Smell of Old Lady Perfume, The
By Claudia Guadalupe Martinez. Cinco Puntos Press. 249 pp. $15.95.
Top Pick
Chela’s hopes are high as she enters 6th grade. She’ll be in the “smart” class with her best friend, her mean-girl nemesis has moved away, and popularity seems inevitable. Sometimes though, the transitions we expect are not the ones we face. Friends betray us, mean girls (it seems) are forever, and the people we love, like Chela’s wonderful father, will not always be with us. Setting her story in El Paso, Claudia Guadalupe Martinez gives us the gift of a real world, filled with authentic kids and family dynamics. Though the going is rough, Chela succeeds, and learns to trust herself in the process. Martinez’s prose, always animated and descriptive, is frequently quite beautiful. She is an author to watch. []

As Chela begins her much-anticipated 6th grade year, her beloved father has a stroke, leaving her family to cope with an uncertain future.
So Brave, Young, and Handsome
By Leif Enger. Atlantic Monthly Press. 285 pp. $24.00.
Enger, bestselling author of Peace Like a River, has produced an engaging tale of adventure and redemption set in the fading Old West of the 1910s. Western writer Monte Becker leaves his Minnesota home to follow oldtimer Glendon Hale to Mexico, where decades earlier Hale abandoned the love of his life to follow the outlaw trail. Enroute, they fall in with the Miller Brothers' 101 Wild West Show in Oklahoma and cross paths with real-life Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo, hot on Hale's trail to Columbus, New Mexico, on the eve of Pancho Villa's raid. Enger brings his story to a satisfying conclusion in southern California, where his characters find forgiveness and, in Becker's case, a new life and inspiration. []

Social Violence in the Prehispanic American Southwest
By Patricia L. Crown, Deborah L. Nichols. University of Arizona Press. 273 pp. . $60.00.

The nine papers brought together in this collection tackle such difficult archaeo-anthro problems as cannibalism and other forms of collective violence based on the evidence so far obtained in excavations throughout the Southwest.
Socorro Blast, The: A Sasha Solomon Mystery
By Pari Noskin Taichert. University of New Mexico Press. 320 pp. . $24.95.

After a pipe bomb explodes in her niece’s mailbox, PR expert Sasha Solomon discovers mounting evidence suggests her niece may not be a victim, but a terrorist.
Some Like it Red Hot
By Robin Merrill. Acacia Publishing Inc.. 276 pp. . $14.95.

Murder and romance in a Las Vegas RV Park.
Song of Jonah, The: a Novel
By Gene Guerin. University of New Mexico Press. 232 pp. $18.95.

In this novel inspired by the Book of Jonah, Father Jon thinks it’s the end of his world when he is assigned to Nueve Ninos, but the people of this forsaken village welcome him as their redeemer. Redemption can be a two-way street.
Sonoran Rage: a Colton Brothers Saga
By Melody Groves. University Of New Mexico Press. 256 pp. $19.95.

Stranded in the rugged Sonoran Desert, stagecoach drivers James Colton and older brother, Trace, are captured by Apaches and must fight for survival.
Southwestern Indian Jewelry: Crafting New Traditions
By Dexter Cirillo, Addison Doty. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.. 240 pp. Index. $55.00.
In this sequel to her earlier authoritative work, Dexter Cirillo introduces a new generation of Southwest Native American jewelry makers and their stunning work. Over 85 top Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and other artists are featured with gorgeous photographs of their stunningly beautiful pieces. Through innovative designs, dazzling techniques and amazing use of materials, the younger generation is taking the art in new and daring directions. In just under 250 pages, Dexter Cirillo and photographer Addison Doty delight the eye, inform the mind and expand the spirit with beautiful photographs of the artists’ work and world, a succinct but excellent history placing the current art into historical context, and in depth discussions of the numerous jewelers, with equal attention to their dazzling art. []
A perfect complement to her book of the same title, but without a subtitle, published 20 years ago, this volume brings us a new generation of southwestern Native American artists and artisans whose main products are adornment, not painting or sculpture. In all more than 60 men and women are mentioned or briefly profiled, some with photos, and the products of their creative minds and skilled hands are shown in color, often in large format. Excellent book for collectors or anyone with a yen to know more about modern Native American jewelry being produced in the Southwest. []

Spiral Jetta: a Road Trip Through the Land Art of the American West
By Erin Hogan. University of Chicago Press. 180 pp. $20.00.
Hogan, a self-proclaimed "recovering art historian," sets out from Chicago in her VW Jetta on a quest to examine the monumental landscape art that sprouted in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas in the 1970s and 1980s. For this committed urban dweller, it is also a journey of self-discovery into the unfamiliar world of solitude and self-reliance. The result is a delightful combination of astute art criticism and self-effacing travelogue that demonstrates that in art and life reality seldom conforms to our expectations. []
Playing on the name of that earth, sand, and rock art formation created at the edge of Great Salt Lake (Spiral Jetty)Hogan describes her "sabbatical" from the intensity of work and art in a metropolis (Chicago) as she drives to various "art forms" in the West. Writing unaffectedly about her own naivete and the people and events she encounters, we see from a sophisticated point of view such places as Roden Crater in northern Arizona, the Hispanic/Rancher conflict at Marfa, Texas, and Nancy Holt's Sun Tunnels. []

State Fare: an Irreverent Guide to Texas Movies
By Don Graham. TCU Press. 89 pp. $8.95.
The 37 movies listed here may not have been filmed in Texas, but they definitely dealt with all the lusty Texas men,lusty Texas Rangers, lusty cowboys, lusty big ranchers, lusty wildcats, and lusty madams and even schoolmarms. Beginning with silent fare, the pocket-sized book features chapters and critiques about some we all remember: Giant; The Alamo; Bonnie & Clyde; The Last Picture Show, and more. []

Stone Cutter and the Navajo Maiden, The
By Vee F. Brown, Johnson Yazzie. Salina Bookshelf. $17.95.
Top Pick
After accidentally breaking her mother's grinding stone, young Cinnebah sets out on a quest to find someone who can repair it. Along the way, she meets a moccasin maker, a potter, and a stone cutter, all of whom offer compassion, wise advice, and thoughtful gifts. Set in the timeless past, this bilingual English/Navajo story is itself gift of simple, solid storytelling. Johnson Yazzie's illustrations, lovingly lifelike and resplendent with the colors of the Dinetah bring the tale to life. A final note by author Vee F. Browne describes the sacredness of grinding stones in Navajo culture. This is one to treasure. []

Cinnebah, a young Navajo girl, sets out to find someone who can repair her broken grinding stone in this bilingual, English-Navajo tale.
Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-born, Soviet-trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars
By John Huddy. Ballantine Books. 364 pp. . $26.00.
A decade ago Jose Vigoa led a small group/gang on a spree of robberies in Las Vegas that included the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay netting millions of dollars and including the murders of two guards. Print and media journalist Huddy recounts the bizarre events and introduces us to all the characters in a fascinating account that brings them to life. True crime narrative at its best.

Sucker Bet
By , Erin McCarthy. Berkley Sensation. 296 pp. . $14.00.

Gwenna Carrick, a 900-year-old vampire living in Las Vegas offers her assistance in solving a case involving an Internet vampire slayers group.
Suenos Americanos: Barrio Youth Negotiating Social and Cultural Identities
By Julio Cammarota. University of Arizona Press. 199 pp. Index. . $39.95.

An examination of how Latino youth negotiate various social conditions, hostile economic and political pressures based on the author’s seven years of interviews and observations.
Supremely Bad Idea, A: Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See it All
By Luke Dempsey. Bloomsbury . 257 pp. $24.95.

Survival Along the Continental Divide: An Anthology of Interviews
By Jack Loeffler. University of New Mexico Press. 268 pp. . $24.95.
The capstone of the New Mexico Humanities Council/Smithsonian Institution's Between Fences Project, this collection of seventeen interviews (conversations really) presents the viewpoints of leading (mostly New Mexican) authorities on cultural, sociological, political, environmental, and historical forces that divide and unite people along the continental divide. Special attention is devoted to the Great Depression and New Deal. Although none of the interviewees is afforded enough space to explore their speciality in depth, readers come away with a fair sense of the complexities of life in the modern West. []

Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon
By Drew Signor, Kate Horton. Ocotillo Publishing. 236 pp. . $ .

Tailwind Both Ways: A Cowman's Chronicle
By Laurence M. Lasater. Bright Skyk Press. 304 pp. . $29.95.

A Texan and Princeton graduate, Lasater, who can surely be called a flying cowboy, tells of the people and adventures in a forty year career raising beef cattle and pioneering ways to make money in the difficult business of cattle ranching.
Texas Country Singers
By Phillip L. Fry, James Ward Lee. TCU Press. 87 pp. $8.95.
Here's lots of Texas in this 6 x 4-inch package, just right to keep in a pocket or purse while shopping for country music. It features biographies of 25 singers -- all Texans -- and include such favorites as Gene Autry, Babara Mandell, Buck Owens,Tex Ritter, and Willie Nelson. Sing along with a country song. []

Texas Journey, A: The Centennial Photographs of Polly Smith
By Evelyn Barker. Dallas Historical Society. 216 pp. Index. . $49.95.
The volume contai8ns he photographs that Polly Smith created in honor of the 1936 Texas Centennial Central Exposition. The goal was to make a photographic survey of the state. I would like to have seen more photographs of the Native people, Big Bend country, the Llano Estaado9 and perhaps that wondrous slice in the earth, Palo Duro Canyon. Lack of index is of little help in identifying and finding photographs. []

Texas Rangers, The: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900
By Mike Cox. Forge. 478 pp. . $25.95.
The Texas Rangers, according to the author, existed for only one purpose and that was to protect the people of Texas and make the state a safer place to live. In the beginning, that meant ridding the state of the Indian population. These were a tough breed of men and an individual didn't want to be on the other side of the law with a ranger in the neighborhood. At first, this was a volunteer force that transitioned to a parliamentary arm of government in 1835, and ultimately to a law enforcement agency in 1874. Though it reads like fiction, a fine bibliography and numerous endnotes show the result of prodigious research which the author uses to tell his story. Those looking for specific incidents will have trouble finding them since there is no index. []

Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen
By Michael P. Spradlin, Roxie Munro. Walker & Co. . $16.95.

Recounts the history of the Texas Rangers from their inception in 1823 to the present, highlighting famous rangers and the process of becoming a ranger today.
Texas Water Atlas
By Richard A. Earl, Lawrence E . Estaville. Texas A&M University Press. 131 pp. Index. $24.95.
Texas has water: 2.1 million surface acres of bays and estuaries, 1.26 million surface acres of freshwater in lakes, and 80,000 miles of rivers and waterways. No wander that it needs an atlas as thorough and graphic as this one, which depicts topics from rainfall to historic droughts, from public aquariums to popular tubing spots, from aquifers to live streams and rivers. This significant volume covers the entire state, not just the Southwest, and it represents a splendid amount of research on one of our most crucial resources: water. []

Through the Grand Canyon from Wyoming to New Mexico
By E. L. Kolb, Emery Clifford Kolb. Grand Canyon Association. 344 pp. Reprint of an old volume. No review.. $16.95.

Tohono O'odham and Pimeria Alta, The
By Allan J. McIntyre. Arcadia. 127 pp. $19.99.

Toquop the Warrior Stallion
By Mike Prince. Cowboy Miner Productions. . $14.95.

On one momentous day, cowboy Flint Pierce encounters Toquop, a wild mustang, and Laura, a rancher's granddaughter. In the story that ensues, Flint competes in a rodeo, falls in love, and ventures out on a dangerous quest to retrieve Laura's filly from Toquop's herd. Ultimately, Flint must choose between his dream of taming Toquop and helping an adversary in need.
Traces of Forgotten Places: An Artist's Thirty-year Exploration and Celebration of Texas, as it Was
By Don Collins, T. Lindsay Baker. TCU Press. 162 pp. . $19.95.
Don Collins’ sketches of old buildings and memorabilia across Texas have appeared on Miller Blueprint calendars. This nostalgic volume presents 70 of them, along with brief essays about the places, such as Fort McKavett ruins, the adobe church at Ruidosa, and the Terlinga mansion. The variety of architecture is astounding.


Tradition and Heritage: a History of the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Peña Blanca, New Mexico
By Virginia E Quintana de Ortiz. LPD Press. 78 pp. $30.00.

This history of the multicultural congregational parish in Pena Blanca, NM discusses the area and each Catholic church within the parish. There are many illustrations, some in color.
Trail of the Red Butterfly
By Karl H. Schlesier. Texas Tech University Press. 238 pp. . $27.95.
Schlesier, a retired anthropologist and author of the 1998 novel "Josanie's War," vividly recreates Plains Indian life and culture as he follows a small band of Cheyenne and Kiowa men and women from eastern Colorado in 1807 to rescue one of their tribesmen taken captive during a raid into northern Mexico. Schlesier's grasp of detail and his ability to depict the Spanish Southwest through he protagonists' eyes make this an engrossing and enlightening read. []

Written by an anthropologist knowledgeable about the Cheyenne, this is a historical novel of the adventures of a Cheyenne band that travels from the Black Hills into Mexico to rescue a brother, a faithful and sympathetic depiction of native American life and the interaction with European cultures circa 1807, shortly after the Louisiana Purchase.
Training Ground, The: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War 1846-1848
By Martin Dugard. Little, Brown and Co.. 446 pp. Index. . $29.99.

Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land
By Amy Irvine. North Point Press. 361 pp. . $25.00.
Anguished autobiography. Irvine, daughter of a "mixed marriage" (Mormon/non-Mormon) moves to southern Utah (Moab area) not sure if she wants to get away from or attract the man who seems to love her. Heavily involved in the environmental movement, she learns and relearns many of life's lessons about friends and enemies. []

Trincheras Sites in Time, Space and Society
By Paul R. Fish, Suzanne K. Fish, M. Elisa Villalpando. University of Arizona Press. 288 pp. . $55.95.
Never heard of the prehistoric Trincheras Culture? You’re no alone. It has been largely ignored and underreported compared to its Southwestern neighbors, the Hohokam of central Arizona, or even the Patayan of the Lower Colorado River. This book, a compilation of nine expert expositions on specific sites and culture, is a major contribution. Their sites typically are rock-walled terraces contouring along mountain slopes and summits. Aerial color photos by Adriel Heisey help us appreciate the Trincheras, and the chapters each open new doors to appreciating a lost world now being rediscovered. Never been within a thousand miles of the Trincheras? Think again, for Tumamoc Hill just west of downtown Tucson is a major Trincheras site. A fitting and optimistic beginning to the Amerind Series. []

Truth, The
By Geoff Rips. New Issues Press. 196 pp. . $26.00.

Tucson was a Railroad Town: The Days of Steam in the Big Burg on the Main Line
By William D. Kalt III. VTD Rail Publishing. 345 pp. Index. . $54.50.
This profusely illustrated history is more than just another train catalogue; it is a flesh-and-blood book about railroaders themselves. It narrates how the railroad affected the lives of its employees as well as local citizens. For example, the advent of diesel locomotives and of automated wheel bearing oilers eliminated many jobs. Or, several locomotive engineers who had lost vision in one eye could no longer make regular runs, but they were allowed to keep their jobs and work the a spur line that ran from Tucson to Nogales between about 1910 and 1950. The book is filled with human faces and interesting stories about those who proudly served the railroad. To understand Tucson, you must know the railroad, and this book is a fascinating place to start. []

Tucson's River of Words: Youth Poetry and Art Contest 2008
By . Pima COunty Natural Resoueces, Parks and Recreation. 32 pp. .

This volume collects winning poetry and art from the 2008 Tucson's River of Words Youth Poetry and Art Contest, sponsored by Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation.
Unbridled Cowboy
By E. R. Fussell, Joseph B. Fussell. Truman State University Press. 278 pp. . $19.95.
In this intriguing memoir, completed in 1947, Fussell describes his experiences on the rails and cattle trails of Texas and the Southwest from the 1880s through the Great Depression. A sixth-grade dropout with "itchy feet," Fussell left his east Texas home as a teenager to sample life in the dives of Fort Worth and El Paso, work the railroads from the Rio Grande to the Great Plains, operate undercover for the Texas Rangers, and drive cattle along the border and into Mexico, before settling down as a yardman for the Santa Fe line in Winslow, Arizona. Along the way, Fussell confesses to a dozen killings, more or less, including nine in cold blood. It seems uncharitable in so engaging a book, but in this age of James Frey and Jason Blair, readers will inevitably wonder, along with Fussell's grandson and editor, where fact leaves off and storytelling begins. It's a terrific read, but caveat emptor. []

Uncle Ernie's Guide to Old Time Rodeo
By Ernie Bulow, Ernest Franklin. Sidewinder Publishing. 64 pp. $14.95.

Enjoy a wild and wacky ride through the golden age of rodeo with author Ernie Bulow and close collaborator, artist and illustrator Ernest Franklin, both experts on rodeos and their lore
Under the Bridge: Stories from the Border/Bajo el puente: Relatos desde la frontera
By Rosario Sanmiguel. Aarte Publico Press. 232 pp. Seven bilingual short stories. $14.95.

Rosario Sanmiguel spins seven heartfelt short stories about life on the U.S.-Mexico borderline of the Rio Grande
Unfinished Masterpiece: The Harlem Renaissance Fiction of Anita Scott Coleman
By Bruce A. Glasrud, Laurie Champion. Texas Tech University Press. 189 pp. $22.95.
Coleman, a black school-marmish young woman, lived in New Mexico when about half of these tales were written (1920s), but locale is not her subject, nor is it particularly important. Instead, she writes of people, usually in the black (or as she would have said, Negro) community, and almost always her tales relate to the connections, or lack thereof, to the white community. Simple stories with powerful, almost allegorical, lessons, a few of them with obvious connections to our Southwest.

Vanishing Borderlands: The Fragile Landscape of the U.S.-Mexico Border
By John Annerino. Countryman Press. 128 pp. $29.95.
Top Pick
Many of us love the Southwestern borderlands for their stirring landscapes and timeless people. In transfixing photos and enchanting essays, John Annerino ably brings us both. He reminds those of us who live here why we love the Southwest, and to those who live elsewhere, he explains why. But, though beautiful land enchanting, the borderlands are fragile and at times perilous. He reminds us what is at stake along the border. Annerino knows both sides of the line and this book is exceptional. []

Virgin River
By Richard S. Wheeler. Forge. 320 pp. . $25.95.

Viva Chocolate!
By Marilyn Noble. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 80 pp. Index. . $12.95.
Oh my, this sinful book is a chocolate lover's delight. Easier to take lately, since the latest health news is two Hershey's dark chocolate kisses a day for good health. How 'bout steaks rubbed with chile and cocoa powder and served with "Smokin' Hot Chile" made with helpings of cocoa, chile and chipotle? Or, one can wake up to Chocolate Chip Pecan Pancakes drizzled with warm chocolate syrup. Had enough? -- not until one tries a Grilled Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sandwich with a glass of milk. []

Walk Across Texas, A
By Jon McConal. TCU Press. 153 pp. Index. . $19.95.
Journalist Jon McConal and two friends meet people, talk history, and describe the countryside as they walk 450 miles across Texas. Their easy-going trek takes them into country stores, pastures, historic court houses, and riversides. All is told in a folksy
drawl as friendly as the people they meet and interview along the way. Marginally Southwest, their trip went from Perryton, near the Oklahoma border, to Granbury, near Fort Worth. You’ll need to bring your own map to follow their route. Instead of Ernest Tubb’s “Waltz Across Texas,” this is a stroll across Texas and almost as much fun.

Walk Me to Midnight
By Jane St. Clair. Capstone Fiction. 224 pp. . $15.95.
When Tucson therapist and host of the talk show Ask Dr. Susan learns on the radio that one of her best friends has died by assisted suicide she flies to NYC for the memorial service feeling certain that what has occurred is murder. Unable to prove her suspicions she returns to Tucson where she must deal with a rebelling son as well as a mounting listener audience who think her attitude about assisted suicide is all wet. Clever dialog, fine character development and excellent handling of a complicated (if sometimes over the top) plot set this satisfying mystery apart from the herd.

We Became as Mountains: Poems of the Pueblo Conquest
By Nancy Wood. Western Edge Press. 86 pp. $14.95.

These poems tell the story of the Pueblo Indians from the time of creation to the building of the first atomic bomb.
Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico: a Guide to Identification
By J. H. Everitt, Christopher R. Little, Robert I . Lonard. Texas Tech University Press. 222 pp. . $19.95.
If a weed is a plant out of place, then here are 189 weeds that Texas farmers and gardeners may find volunteering among, or instead of, their crops and lawns. Though some are species introduced from foreign lands, most are native plants that don’t know the rules or follow the fence lines. Some are quite beautiful, as the book’s color photos show. Put another way, this is a book about the plants that preceded the fields and that eventually will inherit the fields when the irrigation and herbicides stop. A good identification book. []

Western Echoes of the Harlem Renaissance: The Life and Writings of Anita Scott Coleman
By Cynthia Davis, Verner D. Mitchell. Universityof Oklahoma Press. 300 pp. $19.95.
Little known even in her own time, Anita Scott Coleman was an accomplished black writer whose stories and poems were published in various literary magazines both during her early residence in New Mexico and later in Southern California. Editor Davis provides an excellent short biography and reprints more than a dozen of Coleman’s published stories and many poems.

What Men Call Treasure: the Search for Gold at Victorio Peak
By Robert Boswell, David Schweidel. Cinco Puntos Press. 339 pp. $25.95.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, novelists and longtime friends Schweidel and Boswell stumbled upon the story of "Doc" Noss and the fabulous treasure he supposedly found in the 1930s, and then lost, on the present-day White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In this meandering account, they interweave their personal stories with that of Terry Delonas' herculean effort to unlock the secret presumably buried inside Victorio Peak. Sadly for treasure-seekers, and casual readers, there is no resolution to this tale, although both authors express varying degrees of skepticism. For Boswell, the search for buried gold is a metaphor for post-modern America, while for Schweidel it illustrates the power of belief to trump fact. []

Where Clouds Are Formed: Poems
By Ofelia Zepeda. University of Arizona Press. 21 pp. $14.95.
In forty poems Ofelia Zepeda captivates us with her desert homeland, the tension between city and reservation life, and the ironies of living in two cultures, Native American and modern American. She writes with subtle description and compelling insight. One moment my favorites are “An O’odham at Yosemite,” “Blacktop,” and “The Way to Leave Your Illness,” and the next moment I hang on “Landscape” with its lines “She was in constant contact with the earth. / With each shuffle she pushed the earth along, with each step she dragged time along.” Then I reread “The Other World,” with the refrain “When we get back to / our world, can we rent a video…?” The poet’s first world? The desert “of sand, rocks, mesquite, / rattlesnakes, lizards, and little rain.” This volume, number 63 in the Sun Tracks series, is sure to bring you a smile and new thought. []
Zepeda’s poetry frequently alludes to her Tohono O’odham heritage but her themes are universal and we feel/see them as if they mirrored our own lives: children, celebrations, plastic lawn chairs, a hospital I.C.U., the world, in fact, in a few words. []

Wild Flight
By Christine Rhein. Texas Tech University Press. 102 pp. . $21.50.
Only one poem is ostensibly Southwestern: “Wren’s Nest in a Saguaro,” but don’t let that stop you from holding the book. I heartily recommend read “And the Beat Goes On” and “Upon Being Asked What I Believe In.” The former is a clever, thoughtful blending of songlines and slogans that run through our heads (for example “Still crazy after all these years./ Don’t worry be happy./ My dog’s bigger than your dog./ Another day in paradise.”). The latter runs with lines like “…the word in,/ the way it dumps quicksand before / love and trouble, or after belief / and jump right!” This is Rhein’s first book of poems—expect more. []

Wild Inferno
By Sandi Ault. Berkley Hardcover. 304 pp. . $23.95.
In this sophomore effort (after 2007's Wild Indigo), BLM resource protection agent Jamaica Wild confronts the murder of a tribal elder during a wildfire that threatens Native American ceremonies at Chimney Rock in the Four Corners. An intriguing plot involving an ancient archaeological site and Ault's intimate knowledge of wildfire management and native customs make this a compelling read. []

Willard Clark: Printer & Printmaker
By David Farmer. Museum of New Mexico Press. 95 pp. . $34.95.
Top Pick
On his way to California Clark hit Santa Fe in 1928 (remember what happened in 1929!) and decided to stay. He weathered the Depression years as a commercial printer, but one with the artistic skills which allowed him to create handsome, multi-color illustrations for menus, sales brochures, and the like. WWII changed that when he went to work for the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he stayed until retirement 40 years later, then he picked up his wood-block cutting tools, bought other printing presses and began a second career as printer and printmaker. Farmer gives us a biography of both of those “printerly” years supplying dozens of color and b/w illustrations of Clark’s style which was perfectly suited to the Santa Fe that was becoming “the city different.” Handsome book, well-designed and beautifully printed. []

Wings in the Desert: a Folk Ornithology of the Northern Pimans
By Amadeo M. Rea. University of Arizona Press. 293 pp. Index. . $70.00.
Top Pick
"Piman imagination seems to have soared on the wings of birds, more so than with any other group of living things," ornithologist and ethnobiologist Rea writes in this fascinating book. For the past four decades, Rea has been a patient observer and keen listener, absorbing and assimilating what his Pima acquaintances have told him about the role of birds in their lives and culture. The result is a bird book like no other, describing species through Piman eyes while also explaining birds' place in the Piman world view and their various uses in ceremonial, religious, and everyday life. Because Rea allows his consultants to speak for themselves, this encyclopedic volume, intellectually rigorous and beautifully illustrated with line drawings, possesses an engaging informality that magically draws readers into the O'odham world. It is a gold mine of information for scholars and a joy for lay readers. []
Some books defy definition. This is one. It is a bird book about Native Peoples. It is an ethnology about living places. It is a dictionary about life. It is Amadeo Rea’s personal adventure among the complex group of Indians who live in south-central Arizona and north-central Sonora. Rea brings us gently and intimately into their world, and reminds us that our Linnaean classification system is but one way to observe and think of Nature. This book is a companion to his milestone books At the Desert’s Green Edge and Folk Mammalogy of the Northern Pimans. []

Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas
By Christina Binkley. Hyperion. 304 pp. Index. . $25.95.
Binkley, a Wall Street Journal columnist, draws graphic verbal pictures of the corporate and personal shenanigans in the casino world. The style is snappy and humorous, and she “tells it like it is”. A good quick read without much geography but lots of personality.

With Picks, Shovels & Hope: the CCC and its Legacy on the Colorado Plateau
By Elizabeth A. Green, Wayne K. Hinton. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 286 pp. Index. $30.00.
Top Pick
During the great depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a Civilian Conservation Corps that put some three million young boys to work and called it "the reclamation of natural resoures and the r3ecdlamation of young American manhood." Between 1933 and 1941, young people from all over the United States lived in various camps scattered over the Colorado Plateau and run by the military. During this time, they arrested soil erosion on twenty million acres, restored 3,980 historic buildings, planted four billion trees and fought forest fires. They built roads and bridges and strung 89,000 miles of telephone line. They developed state parks and built trails in the Grand Canyon. The results of their labors can be seen today in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. The young men learned new skills, discipline and self assurance, and at the same time helped the country recover its economy since $20 of their $25 salary went directly to their families. The book includes personal histories of many individuals helped by the program. []

Wolves at Our Door
By J.P.S. Brown. University of New Mexico Press. 295 pp. . $26.95.
Jim Kane, the protagonist of Brown's acclaimed 1970 novel, returns to do battle with a ruthless Sonoran landowner enmeshed in the drug trade and determined to extend his empire at the expense of anyone who stands in his way. Kane, now a seventy-five-year-old grandfahter, holds fast to the centuries-old code of honor that settled the southwestern borderlands as he rides (and flies) in defense of family and neighbors. Nobody knows and writes about this country better than Brown, who is in top form in this action-packed adventure solidly grounded in the world he loves. []

Women's Warrior Society, The
By Lois Beardslee. University of Arizona Press. 138 pp. . $16.95.
Beardslee fills this small book with swtor3es and poetry dealing with the ways in which contemporary Native women merge traditional and modern lifestyles. There is little to identify that these women are of the southwest. []

Wrangling Women: Humor and Gender in the American West
By , Kristin M. McAndrews. University of Nevada Press. 175 pp. Index. Explores gender roles and cultural stereotypes of the contemporary western horsewoman.. $21.95.

An exploration of gender roles, folklore, and cultural stereotypes of the contemporary western horsewoman.
Zuni Origins: Toward a New Synthesis of Southwestern Archaeology
By David A. Gregory, David R. Wilcox. University of Arizona Press. 517 pp. . $75.00.
Top Pick
Where did the Zuni come from and when did they arrive? Were they related to the Mogollon people of east-central Arizona? Who were their neighbors, and how did the Zuni come by food and conduct trade? This imposing book convenes a cast of experts to address basic questions, and in the process discusses everything Zuni. This model of inquiry and exposition is now the standard for Zuni studies and, because of its scope, is a major book about the history of humans in the Southwest. Readers, even browsers, will be richly rewarded. The chapters are clearly written. I’d start with chapter 7 on the archaic origins of the Zuni, chapter 8 on agriculture, and chapter 17 on trade networks and copper bells. It is now the benchmark of Zuni studies. []
The Zuni language is spoken only in the pueblo of Zuni and there are no known relatives to this "linguistic isolate." Thus, some 21 scholars have contributed results of research on the question of Zuni origins, and their possible link to the Mogollon culture. They have studied prehistory, archaeological evidence, rock art, settlement systems, economic systems, migration patterns, and more in their efforts. Maps, charts, drawings, and photographs are liberally placed throughout with closed to 60 pages of references. It would have been nice to see a translation of Zuni words that appear in the index, where possible. This huge, scholarly book will be welcomed by professionals in a number of fields including students. []

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