Patricia Etter's Picks

Border Runs Through It, A: Journeys in Regional History and Folklore
A delightful read as folklorist, ďBig Jim,Ē takes us to his favorite haunts in Southern Arizona and Sonora. There are wonderful legends and real history, sights to see, even some of the more colorful graveyards. We are taken on a visit to Sonoran missions, and learn something about the cultures that make Arizona a special place. He introduces us to a variety of Southwestern characters and teases our palates with a potpourri of chilies and tamales in numerous combinations. It is about time we had a GOOD Arizona border story and this is it. Each chapter is enhanced with delightful illustrations by cartoonist, David Fitzsimmons
In Search of Dominguez & Escalante: Photographing the 1776 Spanish Expedition Through the Southwest
What would Francisco Dominguez and Silvestre Escalante think today, if they saw a coal delivery train chug by at their old campsite at the Utah-Colorado border, the pleasure boats on Lake Powell, a field of wind turbines or an auto traveling to Second Mesa on a paved road? Using Escalanteís journal, two photographers retraced the 1776 expedition through the Four Corners region and recorded the present-day condition of the expeditionís campsites. The black-and-white photographs are accompanied by dated excerpts from Escalanteís journal, along with maps of the journey. It makes one ponder changes over time to the present day as well as the possibilities for changes in the future. A fine book.
Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life
Jim Kristofic presents a compelling autobiography detailing his early years as one of the few Anglo kids attending school in Ganado, AZ on the Navajo reservation. Arriving on the Reservation with his mother, a nurse, he soon learned what it was like to be a bilagŠana (white person) and to be bullied both physically and with words he didnít understand. He recalls how he tried to fit in, and retells many of his experiences with what he calls ďa Rez accent,Ē mixed with variations of the Navajo language. Over time, Kristofic began to understand the complex world of the Navajo and appreciate his brief sojourn in this beautiful place. Ed Chamberlin, Curator of Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, has observed that this book should be used as a primer for non-Navajo newcomers needing to learn the ins and outs of living in the Navajo Nation. Included is a glossary of Navajo words and phrases and insightful questions. The book is a must for the classroom.
Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist
During a decade of research assembling material for this fine biography of Quincy Tahoma, the authors interviewed people who knew him, studied his work, and compiled a hefty list of awards and exhibits of this outstanding artist. Orphaned at an early age with one arm partially atrophied due to an accident, he entered Santa Fe Indian School. Dorothy Dunn played a major role in developing Tahomaís artistic talent. His later output was astounding and some 260 examples are reproduced in vibrant color. Tahoma painted action photos of buffalo on the hunt, horses flying through the air, delightful little animals, and Navajo women tending their flocks. Some of his Santa Fe contemporaries were Harrison Begay and Gerald Nailor, and in those early days, they often sold painting for a quarter or half dollar for spending money. Today, they auction for thousands. A problem with alcohol caused his early demise at 35. The authors have deftly told the story of how it came to be.
Tracing the Santa Fe Trail: Today's Views, Yesterday's Voices
With this volume, readers can enjoy a vicarious journey of some twelve hundred miles along the Santa Fe National Historic Trail between Old Franklin, MO and Santa Fe, NM, and relive some of the excitement and drama of the commercial and trading enterprises of the 1800s. It all began when Mexico declared its independence from Spain, and William Becknell, Josiah Gregg and the Bent brothers opened communication with their trading expeditions. The author provides a fine map of the trail that marks every site mentioned by those who wrote about it: Pawnee Rock, Choteauís Island, Old Bentís Fort, Round Mound, Rabbit Ears, Raton Pass, and Fort Union, to name just a few. Included is a photograph of each site as it appears today along with an accompanying historical vignette. An enjoyable read for every armchair traveler.
Vanishing Circles: Portraits of Disappearing Wildlife of the Sonoran Desert Region
Sixty-seven works of art illustrate ninety-three endangered or threatened species found in seven Sonoran Desert habitats. The collection was commissioned and acquired for the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum by the Priscilla and Michael Baldwin Foundation, which selected twenty-seven artists for this project based on their expertise in a particular natural area. The splendid reproductions could be mistaken for photographs, and their artful descriptions make the book a sheer treasure. Maps, notes and a glossary share space with lists of common and scientific names.
Wild Horses of the West: History and Politics of America's Mustangs
Here is history on the hoof that traces the origins of the horse in America from prehistory to the present. Included are details of years of politics involving ranchers, farmers, environmentalists, hunters, and yes, even those who track and capture horses to turn into cat and dog food. First-rate maps trace the introduction and spread of the Spanish horses from the Caribbean through Mexico into the Southwest and ultimately North America.

About Patricia Etter

Etter is a member of Arizona State Universityís Emeritus College Council and serves on the Advisory Board for ASUís University Club. She recently completed terms on the Board of Directors of the Oregon-California Trails Association and the Editorial Board of the Western Historical Quarterly. She introduced and edited the journal of William Goulding, published by the Arthur H. Clark Company, titled California Odyssey: An Overland Journey on Southern Trails, 1849. A favorite activity is talking books with the panelists of Southwest Books of the Year.

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