Books

Margaret Loghry's Picks

Across the Great Divide: a Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture
While a graduate student at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Price visited communes in New Mexico and Colorado during the summer of 1969 and later in winter 1970, photographing members, buildings, scenery, and everyday life. Later she took up
residence at the Libre commune in Colorado where she stayed for six years and created more photographs. The photos and text in her volume triumphantly capture the hope, creativity and energy of the youth of that era. It is fascinating not only as a slice of history, but is also a testament to the power of the human spirit. Highly recommended with one small reservation: I wish Price had included a map showing locations of the various settlements.
Death of Josseline, The: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands
Margaret Regan has covered border issues for ten years as a reporter for the Tucson Weekly. She has interviewed crossers, humanitarian rescuers, ranchers, and traveled with the Border Patrol. Given her credentials as a journalist, it’s not surprising that she writes economically and clearly. This book delineates the problems and realities of the troubled border. All concerned citizens should read this collection to better understand the issues in the Borderlands today.
Gift of Angels, A: The Art of Mission San Xavier del Bac
Not only is San Xavier Mission the gift of angels, this book is a gift of angels, offering readers/viewers an opportunity to understand the history, the artistry, and love which have gone into the mission as it stands today. It begins with floor plans and proceeds through the church from façade to sacristy, minutely detailing the art, iconography and background. The stunning photographs, which perfectly capture their subjects, are works of art in themselves, many presenting unusual angles and lighting. This labor of love is a crowning achievement for Fontana and McCain. It couldn’t be better.
Innocent Until Interrogated: the True Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre and the Tucson Four
This nonfiction account about the incompetence and inhumanity of the team investigating the Phoenix-area Buddhist Temple Massacre almost 20 years ago should be required reading for all American citizens. It’s a page-turner worthy of Grisham, but frightening in that it really happened. Four people, initially pleading innocent, subsequently confessed to crimes they did not commit, all because they were exhausted, brain-washed, sleep-deprived and ignorant of their basic rights. The case is still not settled. One perpetrator got a plea bargain; the other, only seventeen at the time, may have his verdict overthrown because of the way the case was handled. The author has done his research, and he’s a great writer.
Lonely Polygamist, The: a Novel
Polygamist Golden Richards’ life is clearly not golden. His four wives bicker, his 28 children are hungry for attention, he’s in desperate financial straits, his construction job out of town is behind schedule; his boss is a low-life; and he’s hankering for the boss’ seductive wife. I wanted to hate this whole scene, but somehow Udall got me hooked on these comic-tragic Dickensian characters and outrageous plot sequences. Many of these characters are victims of abuse or ignorance and while I wanted to shake them, I grew to respect and empathize with them, warts and all.
Moctezuma's Table: Rolando Briseño's Mexican and Chicano Tablescapes
Rolando Briseno, a contemporary Chicano artist born in San Antonio, gives a whole new definition to table artistry. This lavishly illustrated book shows the breadth of his work. Interpretive essays enhance understanding. Briseno’s subject matter is food and its presentation; the food represented is Precolumbian, Mexican, and Tex Mex, often in a single work of art. Not only does he use table dressing such as cloths, towels and napkins as his canvases, he actually mixes traditional foods such as masa, chocolate, or peppers with the paint or alone for sculptures. It would a treat to view his work firsthand, but this book is the next best thing, with the added bonuses of helpful essays and an interview with the artist.
Santa Fe Nativa: a Collection of Nuevomexicano Writing
This extraordinary compendium of literary writings from 1630 on promotes the theme that the blending of Hispanic and Native Americans has created the unique historical, artistic and cultural center Santa Fe is today. Selections are chosen to share history, creativity, and diversity, all with Santa Fe as the heart, the metaphor for what New Mexico stands for, as opposed to what modern Santa Fe with its upscale galleries and restaurants represents. The “nuevomexicanos” have been left out of the equation and these writings help to set the record straight. This collection is superb with its organization around love for the city, history, neighborhoods, and enduring traditions. Included are 38 short biographies of contributors, editor and the photographer
Turquoise Ledge, The: a Memoir
Silko writes a memoir fueled by her speedwalks along Tucson Mountain trails near her home. Nature’s plants and critters, weather phenomena and objects found, such as turquoise rocks, become springboards for reminiscences and commentary about life, past and present. We learn some biographical details, but that’s only part of it. This is a book to be savored in small portions, much like the poetry of Emily Dickinson, whom Silko admires. She perfectly captures the rhythm of Tucson’s seasons and reverence for its plant and animal inhabitants, and includes the whole universe in her musings.
We Will Dance Our Truth: Yaqui History in Yoeme Performances
This modern analysis of Yaqui history and resilience is based on years of field work conducted while the author was a student at Arizona State University in the 1990s. He proposes that scholars have been overly dependent on written records rather than considering performance, ritual and oral traditions. The book is thoroughly researched and clearly presented. For me the best parts were six transcriptions of interviews between the author and unnamed respondents, and quotes from the author’s informal field notes. This work is a major contribution to the body of Yoeme study.
Yellow Dirt: an American Story of a Poisoned Land and People Betrayed
This account of the effects of uranium mining in the Navajo Nation during the 1940s through the early 1960s, and the negligence of mining companies and government agencies, both U.S. and Indian, is appalling and spellbinding. It is a story of greed, apathy, and buck-passing. Safety precautions were not taken. Warnings were not heeded. It was years after exposure that miners died of lung cancer, and other cancers and birth defects rocketed on the reservation. Sadly, the dangers had been documented through earlier studies. Wrongs have only recently begun to be righted. This clearly and concisely written piece is more than an expose: it also captures the enduring spirit of the Navajos.

About Margaret Loghry

Loghry is a former teacher of language arts, high school teacher-librarian, and library administrator for Tucson Unified School District. She is currently a docent for the Tucson Museum of Art. “Coming to the Southwest was an instant love affair, one of the happy accidents of my life.”

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