Southwest Books of the Year
Browsing All Nonfiction Books - C :
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.
- Calexico! True Lives of the Borderlands
- By Peter Laufer. University of Arizona Press. 211 pp. $19.95.
- Peter Laufer examines issues inherent in life on the Mexican-United States border, as he travels through Calexico.
- Canyon Crossing: Experiencing Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim
- By Seth Muller. Grand Canyon Association. 259 pp. Index. $16.95.
- Ever wonder what it is like to hike to Grand Canyon’s Phantom Ranch? Then shoulder Muller’s book as you would a backpack and make the trek with him. Along the way you’ll meet fellow hikers and park rangers, hear canyon stories, and feel the trail under your feet. A fun read for first-time hikers as much as trail-wise veterans. [ ]
- Captain John R. Hughes: Lone Star Ranger
- By Chuck Parsons. University of North Texas Press. 400 pp. Index. $29.95.
- Parsons has combed through a mountain of manuscript and published sources to produce this meticulously detailed account of Hughes' nearly three-decade career, mostly in far West Texas, that earned him legendary status as one of the "four great Texas Ranger captains." Remarkably, Hughes survived repeated brushes with a colorful and dangerous assortment of outlaws and border bandits to die, apparently by his own hand, at age ninety-two, in 1947. An excellent assortment of rare photographs bring to life Hughes and his world. [ ]
- Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars
- By Sylvia Longmire. Palgrave Macmillan. 242 pp. Index. $26.00.
- Former senior intelligence analyst Sylvia Longmire explores the reasons behind the increasing threat to the United States posed by the Mexican drug cartels.
- Case of the Indian Trader, The: Billy Malone and the National Park Service Investigation at Hubbell Trading Post
- By Paul Berkowitz. University of New Mexico Press. 376 pp. Index. $34.95.
- Berkowitz, a former criminal investigator and self-described "certified troublemaker," explains how he uncovered collusion and wrongdoing in National Park Service and Western National Parks Association efforts in the mid-2000s to bring criminal charges against a veteran Indian trader on the Navajo reservation. We are all heroes in our own stories, and Berkowitz pulls no punches in his crusade against the abuses he believes are rife in one of America's most respected federal agencies. In the process, he paints a revealing portrait of a whistleblower fighting against a system that tends toward shades of grey where Berkowitz sees only black and white. [ ]
- It is hard to believe that the National Park Service conducted a criminal investigation against Billy Malone, beloved and trusted Navajo Trader who was fired for what was considered his eccentric business practices running the historic Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado, Arizona. After two years on what appeared to be a sloppy investigation, Paul Berkowitz, Criminal Investigator for the NPS tells his side of the story and writes about evidence of dirty politics and incompetence.The story is not yet finished. [ ]
- Cheery: The True Adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog
- By Elizabeth W. Davidson. Five Star Publications. 39 pp. $15.95.
- Cheery is a Chiricahua Leopard Frog living in a pond in the Arizona mountains. His species is threatened with extinction by crayfish, bullfrogs and disease and many of his friends don’t survive. Luckily, Cheery is rescued by 'zoo people' who take him to a tank full of other leopard frogs and care for him until he can be taken back to a pond with his friends and new tadpoles. This is an informative short story for early grade readers. I felt happy and relieved that the 'zoo people' are watching out for the best interests of this species, so leopard frogs can continue propagating. [ ]
- Cinema Southwest: An Illustrated Guide to the Movies and Their Locations
- By John A. Murray. Canyonlands Natural History Association. 195 pp. Index. $22.95.
- What makes this guide special is its organization by location, so western movie buffs can see the areas where favorite films were made. This book also inspires one to watch classic westerns. Unfortunately this second edition of the 2000 publication has added only 30 pages of new films done in the interim, again organized by location but as an added section at the end rather than integrated with the selections from the earlier edition. Most of the appendices have not been changed, although some lists, notably the contact information for film contacts, have been updated. This is a fascinating reference book, but if you have the first edition you may not need the new one. [ ]
- Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish
- By Cynthia Weill. Cinco Puntos Press. $14.95.
- Another Cynthia Weil folk art wood carving picture book. This bilingual book shows 14 basic colors in English and Spanish.
- Cooking the Wild Southwest: Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants
- By Carolyn Niethammer. University of Arizona Press. 194 pp. Index. $19.95.
- A veteran in the field of producing cookbooks, Niethammer’s latest provides a huge variety of recipes; more than a dozen, for example, from prickly pear plants. She devotes an entire chapter to uses of wild plants as flavorings and another for wild greens. A plus for newcomers to desert cooking is the addition to each section of a discussion of general rules for collecting, preparing and storing plant parts you intend to use. [ ]
- Cow Country Cooking: Recipes and Tales from Northern Arizona's Historic Ranches
- By Kathy McCraine. Prescott, AZ: Kathy McCraine. 192 pp. Index. $29.99.
- This may be the first cookbook I’ve ever read from cover to cover, but its mix of kitchens, horses, cooks and recipes lassoed and hogtied me. I couldn’t get away from it. Authentic recipes, ranging from camp corn to chuck wagon goulash, from eggs Dijon to gingerbread with lemon sauce, can be prepared in a chuck wagon, cow camp, or ranch house. They’re designed to fill up hungry cowhands but tasty enough to delight picky guests. My favorite story was told by a cowboy-cook named Spider Dailey, who one ferociously cold winter had to sleep each night with his sourdough starter to keep it warm so it wouldn’t die. The book features paintings by Mark Kohler and splendid color photos of prepared dishes, cooks, and horses. McCraine and her husband ranch north of Prescott. This book is the real McCoy. [ ]
- Mouth-watering recipes, from appetizers to desserts, are the least of this inspired book. McCraine, a native Arizona rancher, journalist, photographer and cooking aficionado, was motivated to complete this dreamed-of project by Mark Kohler’s offer to paint accompanying watercolors. Interspersed among text about round-ups, branding and cookery are recipes, colored photos, paintings with commentary by Kohler, and humorous country-cooking anecdotes in the sidebars. Appealing art, photography, history, humor, clear and readable text, and author-tested recipes, all add up to a paean to northern Arizona ranch life, past and present. [ ]
- Crazy From the Heat: A Chronicle of Twenty Years in the Big Bend
- By James Evans. University of Texas Press. 192 pp. $55.00.
- In a certain mood this reviewer might say, of Evans’s title, that it should be “Crazy like a Fox” as his images zig and zag among subjects and styles and techniques. The range of his photographs is startling; from six young Hispanic males knee deep in water, to a Mexican hognose snake with its long shadow on a stark white background, to a double-foldout of a desert scene that is surely West Texas but could as easily be Arizona. Sprinkle in a few nudes (including one, extremely pregnant, after a mud bath) and some time-lapse shots of night sky and, finally, the adjective that I settle on to describe this collection is stunning! [ ]
- This is truly an art book of huge dimensions, with the Big Bend area of Texas the subject. One can find glorious vistas that stretch forever at any time of day or night, both in color and black and white; yards and yards of ocotillo stretching across the desert, fine portraits of the people of Big Bend, and every so often, when turning a page, watch out for a life-sized horned lizard, a desert tarantula, or a checkered garter snaking across the pages. It is a magnificent production and full of surprises. [ ]
- Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Texas, The
- By Ron Franscell. Globe Pequot Press. 221 pp. Index. $16.95.
- It’s true that most of Texas is outside our coverage of the desert Southwest, but it is hard to resist noting a book that devotes an entire chapter to Texas’ (the world’s?) most noted outlaw couple, Bonnie & Clyde! And there is an chapter devoted to West Texas which locates, among others, both Judge Roy Bean’s and Charles Goodnight’s graves. For each of more than 150 sites (graves, where robberies occurred, etc.) Franscell gives us the GPS coordinate so we can “see” it on our computer screen from a satellite even if it is on private land not open to the public. [ ]
- Crossing Borders: Personal Essays
- By Sergio Troncoso. Arte Publico Press. 201 pp. $16.95.
- They are not southwestern, per se, but Troncoso’s school years in El Paso form a constant backdrop to these sixteen essays. Always with an eye, or perhaps a mind, tuned to those things which are most real in our lives, his essays, such as “The Father Is in the Details”, speak to us all.