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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.

They Call Me Doc: The Story Behind the Legend of John Henry Holliday
By D.J. Herda. Lyons Press. 188 pp. Index. $16.95.
Purporting to be an autobiography told by Doc from the beyond, Herda takes plenty of liberties in his account of everything about the famous, or infamous, if you prefer, gunslinger. An enjoyable, spoofy read that will drive Tombstone and O. K. Corral buffs crazy. []

Tia's Tamales
By Ana Baca. University of New Mexico Press. 32 pp. $16.95.
Luz and her abuelita spend the day making tamales while abuelita tells the story of Luz’s great-grandfather, Diego cooking tamales with his tia.
Diego & his tía find the ingredients for tamales around the farm while she tells him little proverbs to help them along, like ‘have a little faith’ and ‘the universe holds many surprises.’
Tia seems to have an almost magical way of finding eggs, nuts, fish, pumpkins and more where nothing was apparent initially.

To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War
By John Gibler. City Lights Publishers. 218 pp. $15.95.
Just when you think there is nothing new to say about violence in Mexico, American journalist Gibler produces this riveting account of the chaos viewed primarily through the eyes of Mexican newspaper reporters and photographers. In harrowing detail, they relate stories of killings, torture, and intimidaton in which they walk a death-defying tightrope to do their jobs. As one of Gibler's informants points out, there are two wars going on in the country - a drug war and a war on drugs - with innocent, and sometimes not so innocent, people caught in the middle. Time will tell if Gibler's description of victims mobilizing to push back against corrupt government officials and the cartels signals a turning point that will end the bloodshed. []

Tracing the Santa Fe Trail: Today's Views, Yesterday's Voices
By Ronald Dulle. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 195 pp. Index. $22.00.
Top Pick
Dulle follows the trail from St. Louis to Santa Fe, juxtaposing his current color photographs of landmarks with historic accounts by people who made the journey. Helpful maps locating tribal groups, trade networks, and a double-page spread identifying notable spots along the way, as well as alternate routes, ease the reader’s armchair journey. This attractive and accessible volume updates information on the most important commercial trade route in U.S. history. As the foreword writer notes, “Dulle is not dull.” []
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, Choteau’s Island, Old Bent’s 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. []

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore
By Benjamin Radford. University of New Mexico Press. 216 pp. Index. $24.95.
Top Pick
This fascinating study of the chupacabra, or “goatsucker,” (an animal purported to kill domestic animals) is thoroughly researched and clearly presented. Since the first recorded sighting in Puerto Rico in 1995, chupacabra predations have been reported worldwide, with Texas having the greatest number. Through interviews, DNA analyses of corpses and his own background knowledge in the study of cryptids (creatures whose existence is unproven), the author concludes there is no hard evidence indicating that the chupacabra.exists. This is an edifying read on a topic that has captured the popular imagination, especially in the Hispanic Southwest. []

Tucson Mountains
By William Ascarza. Arcadia Publishing. 127 pp. $21.99.
As with all the “Images of America” series, this volume contains black and white photos (more than 200 of them here) with lengthy, interesting captions. The title is a bit misleading since many of the photos depict scenes at considerable distance from the Tucson Mountains. []

Turmoil on the Rio Grande: The Territorial History of the Mesilla Valley, 1846-1865
By William S. Kiser. Texas A&M University Press. 320 pp. $35.00.
The author, a talented ASU graduate student, chronicles the tumultuous political, diplomatic, and military history of southern New Mexico's Mesilla Valley from the arrival of American troops during the U.S.-Mexico War through the federal expulsion of Confederate invaders and the close of the Civil War. Kiser shows a particularly keen grasp of the sense of isolation, even alienation, felt by both Anglo and Hispanic valley residents as remote governments in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City wrestled over boundary issues and control of hostile Apaches. This well-researched study provides an important perspective for students of New Mexico (and Arizona) territorial history. []

Twelve Hundred Miles by Horse and Burro: J. Stokely Ligon and New Mexico's First Breeding Bird Survey
By Harley Shaw, Mara Weisenberger. University of Arizona Press. 244 pp. Index. $26.95.
In 1913 Stokely Ligon, a self-reliant and gentle outdoor man, rode horseback 1,200 miles around New Mexico recording nesting birds along the way. Shaw and Weisenberger develop his diary and report into a fascinating discussion about New Mexico birds, landscape changes, and ecology. It is a field trip and campfire talk rolled into a very thoughtful, reflective book worthy of attention far beyond the birding community. Ligon himself is major figure in Southwest conservation, growing from a West Texas farm kid who repaired windmills to a career with the Biological Survey (now the Fish and Wildlife Service). []

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