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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.

Reckoning, The: Triumph of Order on the Texas Outlaw Frontier
By Peter R. Rose. Texas Tech University Press. 288 pp. Index. Texas Rangers rid the Edwards Plateau of outlaws in this fast-paced and spell-binding real life history of the 1870s. Author Peter Rose makes fact more exciting than fiction in this highly fascinating chapter of Texas history. . $34.95.

Texas Rangers rid the Edwards Plateau of outlaws in this fast-paced and spell-binding real life history of the 1870s. Author Peter Rose makes fact more exciting than fiction in this highly fascinating chapter of Texas history.
Remembering Miss O'Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu
By Margaret Wood. Museum of New Mexico Press. 63 pp. .
In her last years renowned painter Georgia O’Keefe relied on housekeepers to help her cook, take walks in her garden, shop, read to her, and even to paint. Margaret Wood, then age 24, was one of these helpers, and she writes lovingly about those days and her employer who became a friend. No dark secrets are told, but the admiring stories buoy the legend, much as one remembers a distant but endearing grandmother. The book fits smoothly in the hand and the stories fit closely in one’s heart. The book deserves an award for its simple, elegant design, including lovely photos of O’Keefe at her home by the author’s father. []

Retrieving Tribal Memory: Mantids, Ungulates as Symbols of Death and Resurrection, Shamanism, and DNA
By Mardith Scheutz-Miller. Blue Arts Books. 379 pp. $39.95.

World-wide in coverage and interpretations Schuetz-Miller’s final chapters, from a lifetime of study, provide many connections to Navajo and Hopi symbolism, as well as to other Pueblo cultures.
Rim Country Exodus: A Story of Conquest, Renewal, and Race in the Making
By Daniel J. Herman. University of Arizona Press. 408 pp. Index. $60.00.
Herman continues the exploration of themes of conscience and honor he began in "Hell on the Range" (2010 Top Pick) with this thoroughly researched and confidently written account of Yavapai and Apache (Dilzhe'e) displacement and the impact it had upon Native and Anglo cultures across central Arizona. While scholars will profitably debate Herman's hypotheses regarding resistance, accommodation, and race, general readers are offered a well-told story of the sometimes tragic, and often surprising, ways in which the West was "won." This is revisionist history of the highest order. []

Rock Bottom
By Sarah Andrews. Minotaur Books. 291 pp. $24.99.
Em Hansen, forensic geologist (yes, there is such a profession, Google it), sets off with her husband and 13 others, most of them strangers, on a 3-week trip down the Colorado from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Bar, and murder, as well as other crimes, happens along the way. I venture to say that Andrews has rafted the Colorado River. She gets the locations, the rapids, the scenery and the frequent disharmony of such trips just right. It’s an excellent mystery and, if you have never been on a rubber boat on a big river, it might encourage you to consider signing up with one of the commercial companies that run many such trips each year. []

Rope, The
By Nevada Barr. Minotaur Books. 357 pp. $25.99.
Almost 20 years ago Anna Pigeon arrived in the Southwest. In this engrossing tale of her first job in a National Park (actually Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area) we see the thirty-something woman take on a seasonal job then disappear on a weekend hike. Recognized by her co-workers as a “drifter”, no one worries much about her disappearance and Anna must overcome a monster and a monstrous plot to survive. The best Barr in years. []
This new Ann Pigeon mystery goes back to her first experiences as a seasonal at Glen Canyon National Recreational Area. Newly widowed and fresh from a career in NYC theatre, she wakes up naked, drugged, dumped in a solution hole, with an unflattering epithet carved at her thigh. Thus begins a summer rife with deaths, harrowing adventures, the challenges of being female in a male-dominated profession, the need to become stronger physically, and finally a realization that this totally different world is where she fits in. The books is fascinating for its lore about Glen Canyon, insightful characters, descriptions of the boating crowd, Anna’s progression from tenderfoot to first class, but most of all, for the page-turning, heart-stopping scrapes and mystery. []

Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America's Main Street
By Rick Antonson. Skyhorse Publishing. 359 pp. Index. $16.95.
Top Pick
To paraphrase Ecclesiastes: “Of the making of books about Route 66 there will be no end!” Here is this year’s submission. And it’s a very good addition. With a friend, Peter Armstrong, and a Mustang ragtop he called Shadow, Antonson set out to drive as much of the original Route 66 as possible. Beginning in Chicago and crossing east to west across both New Mexico and Arizona before ending at the Pacific Ocean, the three of them have high adventures and some low ones too, all of which are recounted with gusto. []
This is the excellent adventure of two guys who took off from Chicago in a rented, top-down convertible Mustang to explore the length of Route 66. They set out with agreed-upon Rules of the Road: there would to be no GPS or computerized mapping screen, they would not eat the same meal twice and they would stay at motels with the lowest rates. More significantly, they would never shortcut abandoned sections of the road no matter what conditions they encountered. This is where the 2400-mile adventure truly began, as they found themselves on roads that would stall a jeep. The “Mother Road” history provided by the adventurers may encourage readers to pack up and take off on their own before it all disappears. []

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