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The Land of My Fathers

A Son's Return to the Basque Country

Robert Laxalt

Publication Year: 2012

In 1960, renowned Nevada writer Robert Laxalt moved himself and his family to a small Basque village in the French Pyrenees. The son of Basque emigrants, Laxalt wanted to learn as much as he could about the ancient and mysterious people from which he was descended and about the country from which his parents came. Thanks to his Basque surname and a wide network of family connections, Laxalt was able to penetrate the traditional reserve of the Basques in a way that outsiders rarely can. In the process, he gained rare insight into the nature of the Basques and the isolated, beautiful mountain world where they have lived for uncounted centuries. Based on Laxalt’s personal journals of this and a later sojourn in 1965, The Land of My Fathers is a moving record of a people and their homeland. Through Laxalt’s perceptive eyes, and his wife Joyce’s photographs, we observe the Basques’ market days and festivals, join their dove hunts and harvests, share their humor and history, their deep sense of nationalism, their abiding pride in their culture and their homes, and discover the profound sources of the Basques’ strength and their endurance as a people. Photography by Joyce Laxalt.

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece

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pp. 2-13

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Author's Note

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pp. xiii-xv

In these mountains and on these shores dwell an ancient people called Basques. Where they come from, nobody knows. They probably wandered into the Pyrenees millennia ago. Many Basques claim they are the pure descendants of Cro-Magnon man, who evolved in an isolated setting here, fiercely resisting all invaders. This assertion has received some support from...

A Flight Of Doves

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pp. 1-5

Words

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pp. 6-25

On Market Day

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pp. 7-16

Common Goal

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pp. 17-36

The Fishing Fleet

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pp. 18-19

Law

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pp. 20-39

Invaders

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pp. 21-40

Tree of Gernika

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pp. 22-24

Tragedy

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pp. 25-44

Weakness

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pp. 26-45

Fete Dieu in Iholdy

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pp. 27-30

Basque Troubadours

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pp. 31-32

Good and Evil Joust on a Wine Glass

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pp. 33-35

Contrabanders

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pp. 36-55

Frills and Fandy

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pp. 37-56

High Mountain Chapel

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pp. 38-57

Curiousity

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pp. 39-58

The Pilgrimage

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pp. 40-46

A Mean Woman

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pp. 47-66

Open Doors

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pp. 48-50

High Country / Low Country

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pp. 51-70

The Priest at Arneguy

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pp. 52-55

An Audition

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pp. 56-75

Duty

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pp. 57-76

Sorgina

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pp. 58-59

Work

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pp. 60-79

The German Occupation

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pp. 61-68

Penance for a Collaborator

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pp. 69-72

The Street of the Americans

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pp. 73-74

Reputation

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pp. 75-94

A Lion Tamer

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pp. 76-95

The Village Gossip

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pp. 77-96

Let it Go By

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pp. 78-97

Pantasha

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pp. 79-80

Bohemes

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pp. 81-82

Arretalephd

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pp. 83-102

Drink

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pp. 84-103

Untitled

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pp. 85-89

The Basque Character

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pp. 90-109

Fishwives

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pp. 91-92

The Wind and the Rain

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pp. 93-112

Dawn

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pp. 94-113

Station

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pp. 95-114

Marriage

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pp. 96-115

Winter

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pp. 97-116

Contraband: Matching Wits and Wiles

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pp. 98-104

Old Woman's Admonition

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pp. 105-124

Neither a Basque Heart Nor Song

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pp. 106-109

Old Woman with A Car

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pp. 110-111

A Diffusion of Light

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pp. 112-131

The Man at Aldudes

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pp. 113-132

The Land is Their Life

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pp. 114-116

Equality

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pp. 117-136

A Complicated Transaction

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pp. 118-119

Village Churchyards

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pp. 120-139

A Bargain with the Devil

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pp. 121-140

Pace of Life

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pp. 122-123

A Bond Of Blood

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pp. 124-127

Betrayal

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pp. 128-147

The Founding Father

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pp. 129-131

The Grand Chateau

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pp. 132-133

Trust

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pp. 134-153

Duty

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pp. 135-154

Poor and Proud

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pp. 136-139

Epilogue: Agur

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pp. 141-144

An Album of Photos from the Basque Country

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pp. 145-165


E-ISBN-13: 9780874173956
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874173383

Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 34 b/w photos
Publication Year: 2012