Southwest Books of the Year
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- Adventures of Salt and Soap at the Grand Canyon, The
- By Tanja Bauerle, Lori April Rome. Grand Canyon Association. $9.95.
- Two lost puppies make their way to the bottom of Grand Canyon, raft down the Colorado River, and find a home with a park ranger.
- Adversity is My Angel: The Life and Career of Raúl H. Castro
- By Jack L. August, Raúl H. Castro. Texas Christian University Press. 192 pp. $21.95.
- With assistance from historian Jack August, Jr., Arizona's first (and only) hispanic governor chronicles his life and career from his immigrant roots in southern Arizona through college and law school, his political apprenticeship as Pima County attorney and superior court judge, ambassadorships in Latin America, and his governorship marred by the Don Bolles assassination. Castro vividly recounts the discrimination he had to overcome at every step, but holds firm to his conviction that the United States is a land of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and never give up. This slender volume is both an inspiring tribute to one man's indominatable spirit and a glimpse into three decades of state and local politics. [ ]
- Albuquerque Ghosts: Traditions, Legend, Lore
- By Inara Cedrins. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.. 158 pp. $14.99.
- Curious title for a curious book. About half of the 56 very short sections have nothing to do with Albuquerque, ranging as far away as Hopi, in Arizona, with an extreme stretch to a chapter on Tibetan Migration (shades of Frank Waters!). There is a chapter on ghost towns, none of which ARE Albuquerque and most of which are many miles away. There is even a mini-essay titled “For Women: The Alchemy of Transformation”. In other words, this book is a kind of catch-all of other-wordly stuff that interested the author.
- All Aboard: the Life and Work of Marjorie Reed
- By Gary Fillmore, Marjorie Reed. Schiffer Publishing. 263 pp. $79.99.
- Two previous books about Reed concentrated on her paintings relating to the Butterfield Overland Stage and provided very little information about the artist. This volume gives us everything: detailed biographical information as well as commentary on her art interspersed among the reproductions of more than four hundred of her colorful paintings and drawings. This is a magnificent tribute to a southwestern artist who is not nearly as well-known as she should be. [ ]
- A fond remembrance of western artist, Margerie Reed, of Tombstone, nicely illustrated with her work.
- All About Saguaros: Facts, Lore, Photos
- By Leo Banks, Arizona Highways Contributors . Arizona Highways. 96 pp. Index. $19.95.
- Arizona’s iconic columnar cactus is a continuing wonder and marvel of nature for everyone - and rightly so. In so many ways, Saguaros are central to the character and ecology of the Sonoran Desert. Not many plants have national parks dedicated to them. Park rangers report that almost everyone who encounters the charismatic cacti wants to know more about them. Arizona Highway’s previous book of a similar title, by Carle Hodge, went through multiple editions. Now it has brought out a whole new book with Leo Banks. Well researched and packed with the great photography emblematic of Arizona’s renowned publication, this delightful new version does not disappoint. It is a fun and informative read that readers will want to share. Readers who would like to explore this subject further might also be interested in this book: The Great Cacti: Ethnobotany and Biogeography, by David Yetman. [ ]
- American Military Frontiers, The: The United States Army in the West, 1783-1900
- By Robert Wooster. University of New Mexico Press. 361 pp. Index. $39.95.
- The title/subtitle tells us the content of this excellent piece of history, and Wooster’s reputation for accuracy assures us of a satisfying account.
- By Oscar Casares. Little, Brown & Co.. 368 pp. $23.99.
- Casares fulfills the promise of "Brownsville," his much acclaimed 2003 short-story collection, in this debut novel in which two cantakerous old men find hope and a future at the end of the road. Seventy-something Celestino Rosales springs his estranged ninety-one-year-old brother, Fedencio, from a Brownsville, Texas, nursing home and the squabbling pair set out, in the company of Celestino's housekeeper/lover, on a bus ride into Mexico to settle, once-and-for-all, a much-disputed family story, By turns rollicking and moving, the trio's quest turns into a beautifully rendered meditation on memory and the emotional connections that defy physical and geographical borders. [ ]
- Some readers might want to think of this as a “roadtrip” novel. Alienated for many years, brothers Fidencio (he’s 90-something) and his younger brother Celestino (he’s not too old to have a housekeeper who is also his lover) set out from Fidencio’s nursing home to return to their childhood home in a small village in northern Mexico. By turns touching and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a story you will remember for a long, long time. Fidencio’s names for the staff of his nursing home are a hoot. He calls the women patients the Old Turtles and one of them is the One With Big Ones while a male staff member is the Gringo With Ugly Fingers! [ ]
- Ancient Southwest: Chaco Canyon, Bandelier, and Mesa Verde
- By David E. Stuart. University of New Mexico Press. 152 pp. Index. $18.95.
- Nearly 30 years ago Stuart was lead author on a book, Prehistoric New Mexico, Background for Survey. Intended as a guide for what was then the expanding field of salvage archaeology, it became a classic in archaeological literature of the Southwest. Subsequently he has written award-winning popular articles on southwestern archaeology published in New Mexico newspapers. This book collects 23 of those short, very readable, pieces on topics ranging from Folsom hunters and the Gila Wilderness to cliff palaces and Mimbres pottery. Enjoyable, accurate reading on New Mexico prehistory.
- Arizona Wildlife: The Territorial years, 1863-1912
- By David E. Brown. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 446 pp. Index. .
- Relying on old newspaper accounts and chapters from pioneering studies, David Brown and three capable colleagues have constructed a picture of wildlife in Arizona between 1863 and 1912. There are many surprises: pronghorn were once plentiful, our rivers and streams teemed with native fishes, and most animal species were discovered before 1865. This is a fascinating look at “the old days,” which were both better and worse than we now imagine. The book also shows why we need game and fish laws and game wardens. Especially at this time of Arizona’s statehood centennial, Arizona Wildlife is an important retrospect. [ ]
- Armed Progressive: General Leonard Wood
- By Jack C. Lane. University of Nebraska Press. 366 pp. Index. $19.95.
- A new preface calling attention to General Leonard Wood’s experience as a colonial administrator provides the occasion for reprinting this 1978 biography of early 20th-century Army commander Leonard Wood.
- Around Benson
- By San Pedro Valley Arts and Historical Society , E. Kathy Suagee. Arcadia Pub. 127 pp. $21.99.
- Latest in Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series, this volume has the advantage of being written by a long-time resident of the town who manages a local bookstore and serves on its city council! More than 200 b/w photos give a sense of what the Benson, Arizona or course, area was like from the 1880s to the 1950s.