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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.

J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind
By Steven L. Davis. University of Texas Press. 284 pp. Index. $24.95.
The near-mythological stature of the great Texas folklorist (much of it his own making) has diminished in the half-century since his death. In this critical-but-admiring biography, Davis takes an honest measure of the man and his contributions to southwestern regionalism. The Dobie who emerges from these pages is by turns provincial, opinionated, occasionally bigoted, and ultimately a courageous and open-minded champion of intellectual freedom and progressive ideals. Academics and general readers will find much to admire in this book and its subject. []

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West
By Jon Hunner. University of Oklahoma Press. 248 pp. Index. $24.95.

A biography of the famous atomic scientist that is the first to emphasize his connetions with the Southwest, how he was influenced by the region and his influences upon the region.
James Drake
By Jimmy Santiago Baca, James Drake, Steven Henry Madoff, Cormac McCarthy. University of Texas Press. 252 pp. $55.00.
Drake’s art, mostly photographs but usually modified, is somehow both familiar and peculiar. Although in no sense “border art” it does remind us at times of the U.S.-Mexico border and of other borders, both real and metaphysical.
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Jedediah Smith: No Ordinary Mountain Man
By Barton H. Barbour. University of Oklahoma Press. 288 pp. Index. $26.95.
It is hard to believe that the adventures described in this book are true--they are not only the stuff of legends but surely would provide an exciting story that would delight producers looking for something new. And they would not have to addd material to improve the story--Jedediah Smith's life is something out of this world. He had guts. he was determined. His three expeditions covered unexplored areas of the west between 1826 and 1831 when the young trapper was killed by Indians. Up to that time, he had survived long treks without food or water, battles with Indians, upset keep boats, gad weather, and a ferocious attack by a bear. The question to ponder is, "What kept him going back for more?" []
Jedediah Smith ranks with Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett before him, and Kit Carson after, as a seminal figure in the exploration of new lands and America’s expansion to the West. A leader of the fabled mountain men, he traveled all over the West, overcoming extraordinary hardships and dangers, and was one of the first to document and tell about it. In particular, he was the first to discover and map the key route that later became known as the Oregon Trail. He was also the first American to reach California overland, rather than by sea. While Lewis and Clark were the first to go overland to the West coast, Jedediah Smith was the one who filled in the map. Using newly discovered journals, documents and other material, this fascinating biography not only describes the life and times of a remarkable man at a key time in our history, it also offers striking insight into how the difficulties arose among Americans, Indians, Mexicans and Europeans in the West, which remain with us today. While written as a history, this fascinating book reads like an adventure story, as indeed it is. Readers who enjoy this book might also be interested in these books, both previous Southwest Books of the Year: Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West, by Hampton Sides; and
Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride, by Michael Wallis. []

John MacKay: Silver King in the Gilded Age
By Michael J. Makley. . .
The financial shenanigans of the 21st century appear to be nothing new compared to the 19th century when men made and lost fortunes. One immigrant Irishman, John Mackay, rose to the top as one of the wealthiest and respected men in the world as an important business leader in the Gilded age. At first linked to the Comstock Lode and development of the Big Bonanza in Nevada, he founded the Bank of Nevada, and was responsible for laying the cable between the U.S. and the Pacific countries. He fought against financial monopoly and stood up to Jay Gould and his Western Union. Gutzon Borglum sculped the statue of Mackay that stands before he Mackay School of Mines on the University of Nevada campus. []

Journey of Dreams
By Marge Pellegrino. Frances Lincoln Childrens Books. 250 pp. $15.95.
Top Pick
Among the catalysts to a lifelong love of reading, being fortunate enough to experience a really good book when you're young is high on the list. Journey of Dreams is a really good book. It’s the story of 13-year-old Tomasa and her family, their tradition-rich lives in the Guatamalan highlands, and their community. It’s also the story of what can happen to a family, to a community, when a government turns on its own people, as Guatamala’s did in the 1980’s. Faced with extermination, Tomasa’s family undertake a perilous journey away from their home and north to an uncertain future. Along the way, they endure horrific experiences and devastating set backs. They also meet true heroes – ordinary, brave individuals willing to help despite personal risk. The details of the journey make this a gripping story. Marge Pellegrino’s expressive, poetic writing makes it art. What an amazing tool language is in the hands of a gifted writer! Journey of Dreams accurately relates a tragic episode of history, and makes it accessible to readers of all ages. Without sentimentality, it teaches that hope, love, and generosity can withstand evil. Fortunately, it accomplishes this in sublime language that can only encourage readers to read more, in hopes of finding another such book. []

During the 1980's Guatemalan genocide, 13-year-old Tomasa and her family flee north in search of safety and a new home in America.
Juan and the Jackalope: a Children's Book in Verse
By Rudolfo A. Anaya, Amy Córdova. University of New Mexico Press. 32 pp. $18.95.

Hopeful of winning the hand of the lovely Rosita, Juan enters the Great Grasshopper Race riding a Jackalope.
Just Coffee: Caffeine with a Conscience
By Mark S. Adams, Tommy Bassett. Just Trade Center. 128 pp. $20.00.
Rising from an idea in 1999 to the opening of a store/shop in Agua Prieta (the Sonoran town just south of Douglas, Arizona) Café Justo/Just Coffee is a success story where cooperation counts. Faith-based and supported by religious organizations from its beginning, Just Coffee sold more than 46,000 pounds of organically grown coffee beans in 2007, nearly four times the amount in its first year, 2003. Good color photos and clean text tell the story. []

Chronicles the founding of the Cafe Justo Salvador Urbina Cooperative and its efforts to promote fair trade.
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