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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.

Illegal
By Paul Levine. Bantam Books. 367 pp. $22.00.

In My Father's House: a Memoir of Polygamy
By Dorothy Allred Solomon. Texas Tech University Press. 310 pp. $21.95.

An update of the author’s 1984 memoir of her experiences as the 28th of 48 children, growing up in a extended Mormon family with one father.
In the Heart of the Canyon
By Elisabeth Hyde. Alfred A. Knopf. 336 pp. $24.95.
Hyde combines novelist's sensibilities with an intimate knowledge of commercial river rafting in this compelling story of a disparate group of tourists thrown together on a two-week boat trip through the Grand Canyon. Life lessons abound as Hyde faithfully captures day-to-day experiences that work their transfomative magic in the majestic canyonlands. []
A Grand Canyon raft trip with focus on the three rowers, especially the lead, who must deal with large egos, red ant bites, and ultimately a pregnant teenager, so fat and unhappy that she does not know she is pregnant! []

In the Sun's House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation
By Kurt Caswell. Trinity University Press. 299 pp. $17.95.
Following a year of teaching in Japan, Kurt Caswell moved to the Navajo Nation, where he hired on at Borrego Pass School near Crownpoint, New Mexico. He soon discovered an ocean of difference between the Japanese culture and that of the Navajo.The author was not prepared for dealing with unruly Navajo students and didn't understand this bilagaana from a foreign country they knew nothing about. The students didn't like him and he responded angrily to their efforts. Gradually as the year moved on, he author wrote about his emotional growth as he began to deal with his own problems.One delightful sketch unfolds when Caswell decides that his Navajo students should become familiar with Romeo and Juliet by acting out the various scenes. []

Indian Alliances and the Spanish in the Southwest, 1750-1750
By William B. Carter. University of Oklahoma Press. 312 pp. Index. $34.95.
Here we have a very good overview of the peopling of the Southwest by Athapaskan and pueblo peoples. It covers the building and settlement of culture areas, ceremonies, alliances, and social and environmental changes long before the arrival of the Spanish and the missionaries. Included are the effects of Spanish occupation, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the departure and return of the Spanish. The book should be required reading for those beginning studies in Southewest history and culture. It should also be of interest for the general reader. []

Inland Fishes of the Greater Southwest: Chronicle of a Vanishing Biota
By Paul Marsh, W. L. Minckley. University of Arizona Press. 576 pp. Index. $75.00.
This large-format, handsome production updates and vastly expands Minckley’s 35-year old Fishes of Arizona by presenting in-depth accounts of nearly 170 fish species throughout the American Southwest and ranging down into northern Mexico. While the descriptions of habitats, behaviors, and biological aspects are the center of the book, it is perhaps more important in today’s world for its detailed discussion of the bad times ahead for these fish if we do not change our ways and stop destroying their environment. As Jim Deacon says in the foreword “This book makes it obvious that human-induced loss of biodiversity is not...restricted to tropical rain forests.
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This remarkable life-long labor of love catalogues the native and non-native fishes of Arizona, Sonora, and selected drainages and gulf waters in neighboring states. Replete with a thorough bibliography and extensive citations, the book is meant for serious ichthyologists and fisheries specialists. The entries are detailed, with descriptions, discussions, and histories. Color plates or drawings of each species, distribution maps, and identification keys accent this major contribution to our knowledge of Southwest fishes. []

Innocent Blood: Essential Narratives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre
By Will Bagley, David L. Bigler. Arthur H. Clark Co. 508 pp. Index. $45.00.
In September 1857, a handful of Paiutes and about 70 men of he Mormon Church disguised as Indians assaulted a peaceful group of Arkansans on their way to California. It became known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In an attempt to search for motives for what some say was the most notorious crime in the southwest, the authors assembled hundreds of documents in an effort to provide evidence of what happened and why. In searching for motives and have suggested answers to the following: Was John Lee acting alone? Did Brigham Young order the atrocity? Did the emigrants provoke the Utah settlers? How and why did this come about since the crime was against Mormon beliefs. There is plenty of evidence here for the reader to ponder. []

Insects of Texas: A Practical Guide
By David Hugh Kattes. Texas A&M University Press. 215 pp. Index. $27.00.
This handy guide to insects is sure to lead to exclamations “Oh, so that’s what that bug is!” Stilt bugs, stink bugs, lady bugs, walkingsticks, springtails, harvestmen, tiger moths, robber flies, whirligig beetles, and ant lions: they and dozens of others are all here. We too seldom know, or remember, the names of our arthropod friends, and we are the poorer for it. This book, one of the excellent Texas A&M nature series, helps us identify insects to the family or genus level, which is as close as most of us need to get; only experts can tell most species apart. Now if it would only help me remember them. This is a handy dandy guide to all of Texas. []

Into the Beautiful North: a Novel
By Luis Alberto Urrea. Little, Brown and Company. 352 pp. $24.99.
In the village of Tres Camarones, somewhere near the southern border of the Mexican state of Sinaloa, 19-year old Nayeli suddenly realizes that all the men have “gone north” as her father did years before. Organizing a motley group composed of her two best female friends and an older, gay male chaperone, Nayeli leads her band just where the title says they should go: Into the Beautiful North. Funded by contributions from the village women, including the newly elected mayor, the first female to hold that position, they go in search of males to repopulate Tres Camarones, and Nayeli secretly wants to find that rascal, her father, who stopped sending money a long time back. A glorious piece of storytelling moved along by superb dialog. Urrea never misses a beat.
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This novel is a farce comedy that will delight Southwest readers even though it does not take place in the Southwest. With flawless dialogue Urrea seamlessly tells the story of a merry band of Mexicans who venture to the United States to recruit seven retired Mexican cops or soldiers who will come to Sinaloa and save their village from narcos (banditos) in the style of The Magnificent Seven (or The Seven Samurai, one of whom magically appears in a Tijuana domp). Led by strong women, Nayeli Cervantes and Aunt Irma, mayor of her fishing village in Sinaloa, the characters are huggable and the plot predictable, but who cares. This romp reads as crisp as a stage play and deserves to become a movie. Along the way there are a few scares and many laughs about both cultures – movies, blonde actors, restaurants, NAFTA, Johnny Depp, immigration, apparel, and a junkyard “dawg” name Atómiko. If you’re looking for fun reading, this is the book. Let's hope a sequel is in the works. []

Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends
By Allen Barra. University of Nebraska Press. 426 pp. Index. $1995.
The popular concept of Wyatt Earp that we know and love is the stuff of legend, one that is continually reinterpreted in books, movies and television. Sifting through a large portion of all that material to try to sort fact from fiction, this provocative study is interesting not only for the historic picture that emerges, albeit murkily, but also for its insight into how legends are formed and how much of the popular stories of Wyatt Earp and his associates was the product of many imaginations. The is an updated paperback edition of the 1998 edition. Readers who enjoy this book might also be interested in this book, a previous Southwest Book of the Year: Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend, by Gary L. Roberts.
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A reprint of the original 1998 title with a new introduction in which the author coments on facts and fallacies about Earp that have surfaced in the intervening years.
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