Southwest Books of the Year
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Clicking on a book cover will search for the book in the catalog. If it is not part of our collection, you may request it by clicking on the Can't Find It link. An icon indicates if the book is chosen by a panelist as one of the year's best.
- Daring the Moon
- By Sherrill Quinn. Brava. 264 pp. $14.00.
- Taite Gibson works as an investigator for the Pima County Attorney’s office, and she is being stalked through the streets of Tucson by a werewolf. Which does not stop Quinn from describing her amorous adventures in detail.
- Dead in Their Tracks: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands in the New Era
- By John Annerino. University of Arizona Press. 242 pp. Index. $17.95.
- It is one of the hottest issues in America today: deteriorating conditions in other countries are driving large numbers of desperate people to attempt to enter the United State through our southern border with Mexico illegally under very dangerous circumstances. For the past decade, hundreds have died each year in the attempt. Many books have been written about this situation, but this one is special. Over many years, John Annerino has come to know the southern border regions like few others and he is an accomplished journalist and photographer. This book tells of his remarkable experiences investigating the realities of the border crisis from the points of view of both the migrants coming from Mexico and the U.S. Border Patrol personnel who apprehend and save many of them. In the process, Annerino risked his own life to travel with migrants from Mexico into the U.S. across the very desert in which thousands have died, in order to understand them and their lives. He also accompanied Border Patrol personnel in airplanes, helicopters, patrol vehicles and on foot to get to know them and the reality of their dangerous experience as well. As if that weren’t enough, he researched the subject so well that he created one of the first compilations of many related records for his extensive appendices. This update to the previous edition is an important and significant contribution to our understanding of these matters. Readers who would like to explore this subject further might also be interested in these books, all previous or current Southwest Books of the Year:
* Vanishing Borderlands: The Fragile Landscape of the U.S.-Mexico Border, by John Annerino;
* Exodus / Exido, by Charles Bowden, et al.;
* The Reaper's Line: Life and Death on the Mexican Border, by Lee Morgan; and this year’s
* Into the Beautiful North: A Novel, by Luis Alberto Urrea. [ ]
- This third edition of a Southwest classic is much revised and even more powerful. Based on extensive first-hand research, including risking death on foot in the desert, John Annerino chronicles deeply personal events for both the immigrants and for the Border Patrol. This vivid book is mandatory reading for anyone wishing to understand the human costs of illegal immigration, costs for crossers, locals residents, and Border Patrol agents themselves. Copies of both this and the first edition are on my short shelf of favorite books. It would be a pick of the year except that it was previously chosen in 1999. Dead in Their Tracks is Annerino’s finest and most noble work. [ ]
- Dead or Alive
- By Michael McGarrity. Dutton Adult. 304 pp. $25.95.
- The murder of his ranching partner brings retired Santa Fe sheriff Kevin Kearny back from his wife's military duty post in London to New Mexico, where he joins his half-Apache son, Clayton Istee, on the manhunt for a deranged serial killer. McGarrity has the police procedural down pat and creates just enough tension to keep readers turning the pages. A surprising twist at the very end will keep fans on the edges of their seats for the next installment of the well-plotted series. [ ]
- Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West
- By James lawrence Powell. University of California Press. 283 pp. Index. $27.50.
- This excellent book is about fictions, and it skillfully portrays the fictions behind western water policies over the past century. Starkly put, the Southwest faces an increasingly dry future. Think of the glass half empty, perpetually. As Powell clearly and logically explains, “We can save either Lake Powell or Lake Mead, but not both” (page 246). By extension, we can save cities or farms, but not both, and some cities but not all. Regardless, we must carve for ourselves new lifestyles that conserve water. If a neighborhood book group would select this one instead of fiction, the group’s discussion would go long into the night. [ ]
- Deadliest Outlaws, The: the Ketchum Gang and the Wild Bunch
- By Jeffrey Burton. University of North Texas Press. 504 pp. Index. $34.95.
- The Ketchum gang tallied an impressive criminal record at the turn of the twentieth-century: seven killings and seven railway heists across West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona during its two-year rampage. Tom Ketchum holds the unenviable distinction as the only man in the United States executed for attempted train robbery. Burton, an English avocational historian of the American West, leaves no stone unturned or story untold in chronicling the gang's history, including the survivors' subsequent criminal activities with Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. This version updates and expands the 100-copy limited edition published in England in 2006. [ ]
- Desert Days: My Life as a Field Archaeologist
- By Fred Wendorf. Southern Methodist University Press. 407 pp. Index. $29.95.
- Severely wounded in WWII Wendorf never fully recovered use of his right arm. His early fascination with arrow points at his Texas home led him to an undergraduate degree in anthropology at the University of Arizona and on to graduate studies at Harvard. Field work at Point of Pines directed by Emil Haury was just the first of his southwestern archaeological efforts during his early working years. He also did salvage archaeology, during those years, in New Mexico and pollen studies on the llano estacado of West Texas. Nothing stuffy and academic here; Wendorf remembers and writes with the warmth of a living room chat.
- Autobiography of archaeologist Fred Wendorf, whose career took him to Egypt, Sudan, and parts of the southwestern United States.
- Desert Lost: a Lena Jones Mystery
- By Betty Webb. Poisoned Pen Press. 250 pp. $24.95.
- While running surveillance in an industrial section of Scottsdale, P.I. Lena Jones discovers the body of a woman connected to Second Zion, an infamous polygamy cult based in northern Arizona.
- Desert Rose and Her Highfalutin Hog
- By Alison Jackson, Keith Graves. Walker & Co. $16.99.
- Gritty Desert Rose is the proud owner of "the biggest, fattest hog in all of Texas." Surely he'll take the prize at the State Fair ... or, he will, IF Rose can get him to move. Can help from an armadillo, a longhorn, a bronco, a cowboy, a snake, and a lazy coyote save the day? Jackson's southwestern homage to "The House that Jack Build" will bring out your inner Texan, especially if you read it aloud. Ages 4-8. [ ]
- Desert Rose seeks help from a variety of sources to get her stubborn pig to the state fair.
- Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 4: July 3, 1880-May 22,1881
- By Charles M III Robinson. Univ of North Texas Press. 545 pp. Index. $55.00.
- Robinson performs a great service for scholars and general readers with his ongoing publication of the diaries of this preeminent nineteenth-century soldier-scientist perhaps best known for "On the Border with Crook," his classic account of the Apache wars in Arizona. In this volume, Bourke chronicles his duties as a staff officer and with the Ponca Commission on the Great Plains, and provides an insightful commentary, including ethnographic observations, on his tour of the Navajo Reservation and the Zuni pueblos in New Mexico. Robinson's annotations clarify obscure references and identify persons mentioned in the diary. [ ]
- This volume continues the series begun with volume one in 2003, expertly edited and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III. As an aide to General George Crook, and prolific journal keeper, Bourke provides details of army life during the Indian Wars, and details of Native American cultures, especially the Navajos.
- Doctor's Legacy, A: A Memoir of Merlin K. Duval
- By Linda Valdez. University Of Arizona Press. 302 pp. $29.95.
- “Monte” to all who knew him personally, Duval had a mane of white hair and the look of a TV personality. He was a quick-witted speaker and a man with the intelligence to not only found and run a medical school but the ability move with ease on the national medical scene. His professional life consumed so much of his attention and energy that only in his later years did he realize how much he had missed in the growth of his children. His memoir, smoothly presented by Valdez, builds in some sense, a life he wished he had led as well as the productive life he did lead.
- Dog Who Loved Tortillas, The = La Perrita Que le Encantaban las Tortillas
- By Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Geronimo Garcia. Cinco Puntos Press. 36 pp. $17.95.
- In this bilingual (English/Spanish) story, siblings Diego and Gabriela adopt a puppy named Sofie and nurse her through illness.
- Dolores Huerta Reader, A
- By Mario T. García. University of New Mexico Press. 350 pp. $27.95.
- Compilation of essays, interviews, and letters by and about a Dolores Huerta, who was instrumental in founding the United Farm Workers of America.
- Dorothea Lange: a Life Beyond Limits
- By Linda Gordon. W.W. Norton. 536 pp. Index. $35.00.
- Gordon turns her social historian's eyes on the woman she describes as "America's preeminent photographer of democracy" during the Great Depression. More an analysis of Lange's life and work than an intimate portrait of the woman and artist, Gordon's massive biography should appeal to scholars and serious readers who will appreciate the author's careful measuring of sources and her provocative assessment of the wellsprings of Lange's artistry (including childhood polio and her marriages to the painter Maynard Dixon and Berkeley professor Paul Schuster Taylor), as well as its historical importance and modern relevance. [ ]
- By Libby Fischer Hellmann. Bleak House Books. 344 pp. $24.95.
- Chicago PI Georgia Davis and her friend Ellie Foreman link up again, but the cry for help from a mother whose daughter has been abducted doesn’t need their efforts for the daughter turns up safe and sound. Then the mother is killed when the brakes on her car fail! Hellmann keeps the mysteries coming as the trail leads them into our Southwest. In an Arizona border town they begin to see smuggled drugs, illegal immigrants and a contract security company all converge to threaten their lives. With several mysteries to her credit, Hellmann knows how to make the reader turn the pages. [ ]
- Dr. Charles David Spivak: a Jewish Immigrant and the American Tuberculosis Movement
- By Jeanne E. Abrams. University Press of Colorado. 264 pp. Index. $34.95.
- Biography of a doctor who became a leader in the reform movement to fight tuberculosis in the late 1900's.
- Dreaming the Biosphere: The Theater of all Possibilities
- By Rebecca Reider. University of New Mexico Press. 310 pp. Index. $39.95.
- This is the story behind the story of human researchers attempting to live in an ectopian self-contained biosphere in Arizona for two years, with predictable human successes and failures.