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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.

We All Want to be Cowboys: Echoes of Wranglers, Riders and Homesteaders of the White Mountains
By JoAnn Hatch. Kymera Publishing. 112 pp. Index. $14.95.

Fun and inspiring stories of pioneer settlers and cowboys of Arizona’s White Mountains.
Weekends with O'Keeffe
By C.S. Merrill, Georgia O'Keeffe. University of New Mexico Press. 238 pp. Index. $24.95.
In 1973, Merrill asked O’Keeffe for an interview. Merrill kept a journal of what turned into a seven year weekend stint as librarian, cook, companion, and interpreter for the aging painter. The entries reveal O’Keeffe’s keen interest in the world around her, in health and nutrition, in classical music, her wisdom, and, yes, her occasional crankiness. The author, herself a poet and librarian, writes honestly and with respect. The book is not about art, but gives insights into the private life of a great artist and reveals the maturing of the author from hero(ine)-worshipping to realistic appreciation. []
A graduate student at the University of New Mexico in the 1970s, Merrill wrote a brief letter, fan mail really, to Georgia O’Keeffe at Ghost Ranch and was shocked to receive an answer and an invitation to visit! There followed many weekend treks and Merrill filled many roles that included reading to the nearly-blind artist. She realized that this opportunity was unique, and so kept detailed notes of her visits, duties, conversations, etc., and here shares those notes with us. A pleasant series of diary entries: some long, some short, all first-hand observations on the artist, but also on those around her. []

Where the Earth and Sky are Sewn Together: Sobaipuri-O'odham Contexts of Contact and Colonialism
By Deni J. Seymour. University of Utah Press. 327 pp. Index. $60.00.
If we had a category for top archaeological book, Deni Seymour would take my vote this year. Where Earth and Sky Are Sewn Together is a seminal, ground-breaking analysis of those O’odham who once lived in the vicinity of Tucson and were a major community when the first Spaniards arrived. The Sobaipuri O’odham may be the most interesting and important Arizona tribe you’ve never heard of. Their identity and history have long puzzled archaeologists and historians, and from her life-long research, Seymour offers many answers in this well-reasoned, strongly documented book that even avid non-professionals can enjoy. []

Where the West Begins: Debating Texas Identity
By Glen Ely. Texas Tech University Press. 201 pp. Index. $34.95.
Historian and documentary filmmaker Ely poses the pregnant question: "Is Texas, and more specifically West Texas, southern, western, or unique?" The answer is far from obvious. In a series of probing essays focused on the Trans Pecos, Ely builds a strong argument for a Texas divided by culture and geography whose historians need to cast off long-standing myths and confront the reality of a past rooted in both the West and the South. []
Is Texas Old South, American West, or unique? Unsurprisingly, the author argues there is no one Texas. He also finds problems with all identities (i.e., racism, range management, and Civil War dissent). He argues that Texans have chosen “mythology over history,” but holds out hope for a future in which various groups can accept reality and work toward practical solutions to critical problems. This fascinating, thought-provoking, scholarly (60 pages of notes and bibliography) presentation makes a lot of sense. []

Wild Hog Murders, The: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
By Bill Crider. Minotaur. 264 pp. $24.99.

Blacklin County Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes deals with havoc wreaked by feral hogs and feral hog hunters, while trying to solve a murder.
Wild Horses of the West: History and Politics of America's Mustangs
By J. Edward De Steiguer. University of Arizona Press. 296 pp. Index. $24.95.
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. []
First de Steiguer provides an account of eohippus, the tiny first horse, which evolved from American beginnings but migrated to Asia before becoming the creature we know today. Then he moves through prehistory outlining geographic spread, human interaction, etc. before tackling the difficult issues surrounding problems with mustangs. This is an excellent history and survey which concludes with a focus on the inadequacy of the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program. []

Wild Women and Tricky Ladies: Rodeo Cowgirls, Trick Riders, and Other Performing Women Who Made the West Wilder
By Jill Charlotte Stanford. TwoDot. 97 pp. Index. $12.95.
It took guts and a burning desire to win when a cowgirl mounted her horse and performed “cartwheels” (where the rider slips to the side of the horse and turns around before getting back on the saddle), “threw fenders” (multiple trick moves around the saddle), or tried a “Layout” (hanging horizontally from the side of the horse). There were many famous trick riders from all over the country who competed in the top rodeos around the country: Salinas, California; Cheyenne Frontier Days; the Pendleton Roundup; the Super Bowl of Rodeo in Las Vegas; and of course, the Calgary Stampede. The author provides plenty of photographs to accompany the biographies of a number of talented women who traveled the rodeo circuit in the west. Not really Southwest []
Brief accounts of 15 women (but many others are mentioned) who worked at rodeos and wild west shows throughout the 20th century. []

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