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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.

Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey
By Susan J. Tweit, Sherrie York. University of Texas Press. 177 pp. $24.95.
This is a very gentle, touching survival story about the author’s 27-year battle against a vague connective-tissue disease that threatened to kill her within five years of her first diagnosis. She fought back and rewards us with the details of her battle. She drew inspiration from nature and the stars, from love and learning to cope with everyday stresses. It is a tightly told story of Everywoman, one highly worth reading. Although much of the setting is in Wyoming and Colorado, there are episodes in New Mexico and Arizona. The author is renowned for her books about nature, and as we can see in this book, that connection goes straight to her soul. []

War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S. - Mexican War
By Brian Delay. Yale University Press. 473 pp. Index. $25.00.
Top Pick
A shift in perspective can sometimes produce new insights. This is the case with DeLay's examination of the causes and consequences of the U.S.-Mexican War that takes into account decades of mounting pressure from Indian tribes along Mexico's northern frontier. Starting with the question, why did article 11 of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo obligate the U.S. to halt Indian raids into Mexico, DeLay examines the political, economic, and cultural forces that generated widespread violence; the consequences for the struggling Mexican state; and the impact on U.S. diplomacy. This insightful and gracefully written study casts fresh light on an important and much-studied era in southwestern borderlands history. []

Water in the 21st Century West: A High Country News Reader
By Char Miller. University of Oregon Press. 312 pp. Index. $24.95 (pbk).
If you’ve even been thirsty, truly too-dry-to-talk thirsty, you know the anguish of urgency. The 44 journalist essays in this book explain that urgency, how we got here, what it means, and how we might wet our parched throats. These provocative essays originally appeared in High Country News. Especially interesting are the pieces on tribal water rights and how they may reshape western water economics. The future will not be easy. []

West of the Imagination, The
By William H. Goetzmann, William N. Goetzmann. University of Oklahoma Press. 640 pp. Index. $65.00.
Top Pick
In 41 chapters, this book displays and discusses the gamut of Western art and photography. It is much more than an art history that portrays culture and regional identity, that explains aesthetics and artistic technique, and that pays tribute to artists and photographers. In essence, it is uniquely an American history. This is the second edition and it adds five new chapters, including ones on Currier & Ives, Jackson Pollock, and postmodern Western photography. The book has a host of my old favorites by Moran, Remington, Bierstadt, and Russell, and ones new to me such as Patrick Nagatani, David Hockney, and Richard Hovendon Kern – and even a new favorite, Mark Tansey’s oil on canvas “Constructing the Grand Canyon” (pages 542-543). Your favorite will be in here someplace. The West of the Imagination will be an excellent addition to your home library. []
One of America’s foremost modern historians pioneered in exploring the imagery of Western American mythology and the people who created it, in cultural and historical context. Breaking academic bounds, his studies previously resulted in an innovative six-part documentary series that was a big hit on PBS television and a companion book of the same title. This is a major update and expansion of that work in a fascinating and beautifully illustrated volume that is highly readable and very enjoyable. It remains one of the greatest surveys of western American culture. []

When the Rains Come: a Naturalist's Year in the Sonoran Desert
By John Alcock. University of Arizona Press. 334 pp. Index. $45.00.
Readers who remember Alcock’s Sonoran Desert Summer, Sonoran Desert Spring, and In a Desert Garden will know what to expect with this latest book: well-written descriptions and personal accounts of desert life, in this case especially the Usery Mountains. In addition to his descriptions Alcock has taken his camera along on many trips and frequently gives us photographic proof of the changes that have occurred in 10, 15 or even 20 years. Self-identified as “an entomologist of sorts” he has paid particular attention to the small creatures of our region and in this regard is particularly concerned about what changes are occurring in the environment that threaten life as we know it. []

Whole Damned World, The : New Mexico Aggies at War, 1941-1945: World War II Correspondence of Dean Daniel B. Jett
By Daniel B. Jett, Martha Shipman Andrews. New Mexico State University Library in collaboration with Rio Grande Books. 384 pp. Index. $35.95.
What a wonderful story. College men and women go off to war and write home to a favorite professor, Dean “Dad” Jett, who by return mail sends them encouragement, news from home, and extra postage stamps. The letters are funny, touching, and inspiring. Here are the best of the letters. Never underestimate the power of a personal letter.
Interestingly designed, but the font is a smidge small or light for older eyes.
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Widow's Revenge, The
By James Doss. Minotaur Books. 290 pp. $24.99.

The 14th book in Doss’ Charlie Moon series finds the Navajo rancher and sometime tribal investigator once again involved in a mystery that seems to involve witches.
Wild Sorrow
By Sandi Ault. Berkley Hardcover. 307 pp. $24.95.
Vibrant descriptions of the northern New Mexico landscape and pueblo Indian rituals highlight Ault's third accomplished mystery featuring BLM resource protection officer Jamaica Wild. While searching for a wounded cougar, Jamaica and her wolf companion, Mountain, stumble upon the body of an elderly Anglo woman in the ruins of an Indian boarding school. The discovery unleashes painful memories of teachers' abusive treatment of Indian children, and leads Wild on a dangerous search for a killer involved in shady land dealings. Plot points don't always connect, but Ault nonetheless tells a compelling story. []

Wildlife in American Art; Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art
By Adam Duncan. University of Oklahoma Press. 287 pp. Index. $35.00.

Maynard Dixon and W.H. Dunton represent the Southwest in the National Wildlife Museum’s collection of paintings and sculptures, 145 of them shown here in full-color.
Winchester Warriors: Texas Rangers of Company D, 1874-1901
By Bob Alexander. University of North Texas Press. 402 pp. Index. $29.95.

A history of the exploits of one of the six original units of the Texas Rangers.
Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950
By Heidi J. Osselaer. University of Arizona Press. 218 pp. $45.00.
Osselaer describes the fight for political equality in Arizona through the activities of the women who waged it, from temperance and suffrage crusader Josephine Brawley Hughes to state auditor and gubernatorial candidate Ana Frohmiller. This seminal study, rich in anecdote and analysis, provides a solid foundation for future research into women's roles in Arizona politics. []
On July 12, 2009, Steve Benson's cartoon in the Arizona Republic featured Governor Jan Brewer in an outfit complete with oversized boxing gloves standing over a knocked-out GOP Hardliner musing "I hate girls," unhappy with the governor's point of view. What a long way we have come in Arizona since the beginning of time with the guys continuously rejected women's suffrage. They had numerous excuses: "married women were a detriment to public welfare," or it "might increase the Mormon vote," or "no self-respecting woman would be found in a saloon, so how could the corporations keep control of state politics if women voted?" Another asked" Why should women vote when they might eliminate vice and usher in a dry era in Arizona?" The book is replete with such stories as women stubbornly stood their ground and battled for equal rights. This culminated in 1998 when five women captured the top five positions in Arizona government. []

Wolf Tones: a Novel
By Irving Weinman. Jack Daniel & Co.. 351 pp. $16.95.
Fleeing Boston to 1) escape a pregnant young girlfriend, 2) escape a domineering father, 3) avoid a former wife he thinks of as XHelen, 4) etc., Ethan takes a one-year teaching stint in creative writing at UNM in Albuquerque. His feet barely touch the desert soil before he has drunkenly broken the department chairman’s nose and been seduced by the chairman’s wife. We might say “Angst thy name is Ethan” for he moves from one woe-is-me to another, yet there is something endearing about his struggles. Weinman’s writing of both very clever dialog and the beautiful/ugly New Mexico scenery is truly fine. Wolf Tones, by the way, are three things: the name of a folk singing group, the name of an unremembered writer, and a misnomer for a particular way of playing a piece of music.
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