Books

Margaret Loghry's Picks

El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency
The author, an English reporter, has lived in Mexico researching the drug trade since 2001. He examines the history of narcotics, the politics and the players, all of which come unforgettably alive in this detailed analysis of the current bloodbath in Mexico, where the drug lords seem to be trumping government intervention. Clearly and logically written, this book enables the reader to understand the unfathomable and realize the urgency and enormity of problems that go beyond Mexico and beyond the United States.
Finding Casey
This novel has bits of lots: Santa Fe lore, cultural diversity, cookery, romantic love (both adolescent and mid-life), ghosts, suspense, family values, exposition of cult mentality and abuse, social support services, and—ultimately--renewal. The characters are well-rounded and believable, the social commentary relevant and the plot keeps readers turning pages. It’s quite an achievement to cover so much ground successfully.
Great Aridness, A: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest
This book should be carefully read by every thoughtful person in the Southwest and beyond. DeBuys, a fine writer who makes complicated technical information accessible to lay readers, presents convincing evidence for imminent global warming and climate change, which will impact the Southwest first, but other areas of the globe as well. The realities of limited water, overpopulation, and man’s seemingly limitless capacity for self-denial make the need for education imperative. This is not a “feel-good,” but a “do-something-about-it” book.
Hard Country
This saga of the settling of the Kerney family in the Tularosa Basin covers the years 1875-1918. The title is apt as the characters endure drought, floods, Apache raids, rustlers, financial woes, untimely death of loved ones, two wars, and political skullduggery, all based on what seems to be accurate research. For me the real strength is the characters: John Kerney, who is doggedly determined to provide a future for his son; Patrick, who can’t admit weakness or show emotion; and his wife Emma, equally stubborn. The language flows; the dialogue rings true, all in all an outstanding historical novel.
Hard to Have Heroes
In the late 1950s, fourteen-year-old Oregonian Noah recounts the year he spent living with his mother and cantankerous Uncle Bud on a hard scrabble ranch outside of Tularosa, NM. The hot, lonesome, rattlesnake-infested country is the perfect place for a boy to develop self-reliance, courage, rodeo skills and life-long friendships. All of these things Noah does and has exciting adventures along the way, including a stand-off between his uncle (aided by Apaches) and the US Military, which wants to take his “kettle wrench” for missile testing. Fascinating descriptions of desert creatures are a bonus in this heartwarming coming-of-age novel for adults.
Orphaned Land, The: New Mexico's Environment Since the Manhattan Project
Price, a journalist and New Mexico transplant since 1960, paints a grim picture of his adopted state’s present and future economy and the health and well-being of its citizens. New Mexico is especially vulnerable on a number of levels because of past uranium mining, nuclear experimentation, careless waste disposal, prolonged drought, exploitation of lower socioeconomic minorities, political mindsets that more development is better, overly optimistic assessments of water reserves and a tendency to sweep problems under the table. However, it doesn’t take a genius to realize these problems are not unique to the Land of Enchantment. Carefully researched and clearly presented, this is an important wake-up call.
Shadows on the Mesa: Artists of the Painted Desert and Beyond
This stunning large format art book focuses on artists who loved and took inspiration from the landscapes and people of northern Arizona in the first part of the 20th Century. Most were guests at the Wetherill-Colville Guest Ranch in Kayenta. The author has researched the various artists, painters, cartoonists, authors, and movie icons, and while their stories are fascinating and their art illustrations mesmerizing, what makes this book special is their shared love of this unique land. This is a marvelous collection of work from the still famous to the now obscure men and women who portrayed this amazing Colorado Plateau landscape.
Soledad Crucifixion, The
It’s circa 1897 in a remote Indian village in New Mexico’s Sangre Cristo Mountains. Priest Lorenzo Soledad has chosen to be crucified in order to save the primitive village from takeover by the government. The priest, tortured by doubt and conflicted between the teachings of the Church and the beliefs of the natives, is further agonized by the internal struggle of his lustful nature against his yearning for holiness. Cast out by the Church but yet not understood by the Indians, Soledad will eventually be canonized. Lyrical, mystical, original, irreverent, philosophical, and comical, this novel captures the essence of culture clashes in New Mexico.

Virgin of Guadalupe, The: Art and Legend
The author has created a modestly-sized but lavish book focusing on the iconic Black Madonna. Art lovers, students of Mexican history and aficionados of southwestern lore will appreciate this bilingual volume, the largest part of which is given over to photos of various renditions of the Virgin throughout Mexico and the Southwest, some from private collections. The photos are often juxtaposed with famous quotes, such as the patriotic ‘Cry for Independence’ of Father Hidalgo. Annerino gets into the mood of reverence by virtue of his own experience witnessing miraculous stones in a rural Mexican community. This is a beautiful book.
With Blood in Their Eyes
This historical novel is based on the true story of the Power family of Graham County, AZ, who, in 1918 were assaulted at dawn in their cabin by members of the sheriff’s department. Survivors, two brothers seriously wounded and a hired man, flee to Mexico. The bulk of the action is their heart-stopping journey. Unbelievably, the dialogue among these tough, gritty, uneducated men is lyrical and the characters are clearly differentiated. Cobb reveals what was behind the early morning massacre in flashbacks. This is an absolutely riveting account.

About Margaret Loghry

Loghry is a former teacher of language arts, high school teacher-librarian, and library administrator for Tucson Unified School District. She is currently a docent for the Tucson Museum of Art. “Coming to the Southwest was an instant love affair, one of the happy accidents of my life.”

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