Southwest Books of the Year
Browsing All Nonfiction Books - W :
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. [ ]
- Over a period of seven years, beginning in 1973, UNM graduate student and poet, Carol Merrill, kept a detailed diary of weekends living with Georgia O’Keeffe, while she cataloged her library, acted as cook, nurse, companion, and attended to other needs as the artist’s sight deteriorated and she became quite frail. Merrill included stories perhaps formerly unknown, about visitors including Laura Gilpin, Eliot Porter, and Allen Ginsberg. She admitted to being awed by “Miss O’Keeffe” and admired her art, her work, her life, her being. She mentions Juan Hamilton frequently, an artist in his own right, who managed O’Keefee’s affairs and ultimately inherited a good deal of the O’Keeffe estate. Phone calls inviting Merrill to future weekends at Abiquiu mysteriously ceased and Merrill's relationship with the grand dame was over. [ ]
- 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.
- 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. [ ]
- After reading this book you might want to revise Ely’s title, moving the word Texas from the subtitle and placing it after West in the main title, for it is truly the part of the state west of the 100th meridian that has captured his focus. He has thoroughly documented his argument that, at least in West Texas, the common appellation “slave state” does not apply, and that both historically and contemporaneously West Texas is where the west begins. [ ]
- 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.
- 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. [ ]
- 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. [ ]
- 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.
- Brief accounts of 15 women (but many others are mentioned) who worked at rodeos and wild west shows throughout the 20th century. [ ]
- 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 [ ]