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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.

Photographing Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide to Great Images
By Kathy Adams Clark. Texas A&M University Press. 126 pp. Index. $19.95.
This “friendly guide” is also very practical. The color photographs provided as samples are in small format but well printed. Clark, a photographer who is also a teacher of photography, frequently shows multiple images of a single scene allowing her to comment on such things as color, time-of-day, framing, even season of the year. Although she is a Texan and all the samples here are from Texas, Clark’s advice and suggestions would apply to nature photography anywhere. []
As if we need another excuse to visit Big Bend National Park, Kathy Clark takes us there to become better photographers. She reminds us that taking pictures is fun and fulfilling. She uses the park as both a classroom and a subject and offers a series of suggestions on where to shoot and how to get more out of our camera. Though the book emphasizes digital SLRs, her advice can help any shutterbug. And she helps us see the park in new ways. []

Pidge, Texas Ranger
By Chuck Parsons. Texas A&M University Press. 200 pp. Index. $29.95.
Top Pick
Parsons reprises his 1985 collection of some two dozen letters and poems published in two Austin, Texas, newspapers in 1874-75, while the author, T.C. "Pidge" Robinson, was a lieutenant in McNelly's Texas Rangers during the Taylor-Sutton feud in south-central Texas and the Cortina War along the Rio Grande. Robinson's witty correspondence, peppered with Shakespearean references and quotations from the Romantic bards, provides a unique and entertaining glimpse into frontier law enforcement. This new edition benefits from additional research that further illuminates the events "Pidge" describes, as well as his tragic death. []
You know the subject of this Texas Ranger biography is not going to make it through the last chapter (or to his 30th birthday) alive, but the more you read, the more you want to step in, shake him, and save him from himself. In 1874, young Thomas C. Robinson fled Virginia for Texas to escape some unpleasantness with a neighbor over his sister. Joining the Texas Rangers, Robinson quickly rose to lieutenant and served through three significant campaigns, but his talents lay in recording what he experienced and witnessed. Under the penname “Pidge,” he sent regular dispatches—reports, poems, parodies, articles laced with Shakespearean, poetic, Biblical, and contemporary references—to Texas newspapers. Clever, lively, often self-deprecating, they reveal a gifted wit. Unfortunately, wit couldn’t trump reckless; on leave, in a fit of misbegotten chivalry, Robinson returned to confront the Virginia neighbor, who unfortunately shot first. Historian Chuck Parson has provided excellent literary, linguistic and historic notes to support his smart, entertaining text. []

Pitching for the Stars: My Seasons Across the Color Line
By Jerry Craft, Kathleen Sullivan. Texas Tech University Press. Index. $18.95.
An interesting true story about a young white teen who was asked by the Wichita Falls/Graham Stars, an all black team to be their pitcher due to his outstanding pitching skills.
Does not fit the geographic limits for a SWBY choice though. []

Plant Life of a Desert Archipelago: Flora of the Sonoran Islands in the Gulf of California
By Richard Stephen Felger, Benjamin Theodore Wilder. University of Arizona Press. 584 pp. Index. $65.00.
Tiburón, Nolasco, San Esteban, Mártir: these midriff islands of the Gulf of California are mysterious and alluring with stories of weird plants and seldom visited canyons. Botanists Richard Felger and Ben Wilder take us up those wild canyons as they catalogue the amazing variety of plants. It is a beautiful book, including a color folio, and full of interesting information about plants as well as Seri lore and places. With its plant keys and many photos, it can be used as an identification guide. It is now the botanical benchmark for these islands. []

Polish and Russian Arabians of Ed Tween's Brusally Ranch, The
By Tobi Lopez Taylor. Screenfold Press. 212 pp. Index. $39.95.
From 1950 into the 1980s this Scottsdale ranch imported, bred and trained thoroughbreds. Taylor includes more than 200 photos of family, horses (of course), awards, and events. A roomful of ribbons and trophies attests to the success of the Brusally program. Each of the more than 25 award-winning horses is given a biographical sketch. []

Postcards from the Río Bravo Border: Picturing the Place, Placing the Picture, 1900s-1950s
By Daniel D. Arreola. University of Texas Press. 244 pp. Index. $40.00.
Make no mistake: although this book is about life along the Lower Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to the Gulf, it could be the history of any border town along the northern Mexican line. The author, a professor at Arizona State University, has an enormous understanding of the information portrayed in period post cards, and he clearly blends the visual scenes of plazas, gateways, commercial streets, neighborhoods, and recreational attractions with an appreciation of the underlying culture and the background history. Postcards helped form public perceptions of a people and a region. I enjoyed seeing the details of clothing, autos, and signs through the decades. []

Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonial Authority In Eighteenth-Century New Mexico
By Tracy L. Brown. University of Arizona Press. 248 pp. Index. $55.00.

Using new evidence and fresh perspectives Tracy Brown takes a richly detailed look at how various Pueblo Indian villages responded to Spanish colonists. Her conclusions are sure to stimulate discussion.
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