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Borderman

Memoirs of Federico José María Ronstadt

Born in Sonora in 1868 to a Mexican mother and a German father, Federico Ronstadt was the quintessential borderman. He came to Arizona Territory as a young man to learn a trade and eventually became an American citizen; but with many relatives on both sides of the border, Federico was equally at home in Mexico and in his adopted country. Writing proudly of his Mexican and American heritages, Ronstadt offers readers an extraordinary portrait of the Arizona-Mexico borderlands during the late nineteenth century. His memoirs provide a richness of detail and insight unmatched by traditional histories, relating such scenarios as the hardships of Yaqui hardrock miners working under primitive conditions, the travails of pearl divers in the Gulf of California, and the insurrection of Francisco Serna in 1875 Sonora. They also depict the simple activities of childhood, with its schooling and musical training, its games and mischief. Ronstadt relates his apprenticeship to a wagon- and carriage-maker in Tucson, recalling labor relations in the shop, the establishment of his own business, and the joys and anguish of his personal life. He tells of how he drew on talents nurtured in childhood to become a musician and bandleader, playing weekly concerts with Club Filarmónica Tucsonense for nine years—musical talents that were eventually passed on to his children, his grandchildren (including Linda), and great-grandchildren. Through Ronstadt's memories, we are better able to understand the sense of independence and self-reliance found today among many lifelong residents of Sonora and Baja California—people isolated from major supply sources and centers of power—and to appreciate a different view of Tucson's past. Enhanced by 22 historical photos, Borderman is a treasure trove of historical source material that will enlighten all readers interested in borderlands history.

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The Borders of Inequality

Where Wealth and Poverty Collide

By Íñigo Moré; Translated by Lyn Dominguez

Recently U.S. media, policymakers, and commentators of all stripes have been preoccupied with the nation’s border with Mexico. Airwaves, websites, and blogs are filled with concerns over border issues: illegal immigrants, drug wars, narcotics trafficking, and “securing the border.” While this is a valid conversation, it’s rarely contrasted with the other U.S. border, with Canada— still the longest unguarded border on Earth.

In this fascinating book, originally published in Spain to much acclaim, researcher Íñigo Moré looks at the bigger picture. With a professionally trained eye, he examines the world’s “top twenty most unequal borders.” What he finds is that many of these border situations share similar characteristics. There is always illegal immigration from the poor country to the wealthy one. There is always trafficking in illegal substances. And the unequal neighbors usually regard each other with suspicion or even open hostility.

After surveying the “top twenty,” Moré explores in depth the cases of three borders: between Germany and Poland, Spain and Morocco, and the United States and Mexico. The core problem, he concludes, is not drugs or immigration or self-protection. Rather, the problem is inequality itself. Unequal borders result, he writes, from a skewed interaction among markets, people, and states. Using these findings, Moré builds a useful new framework for analyzing border dynamics from a quantitative view based on economic inequality.

The Borders of Inequality illustrates how longstanding “multidirectional misunderstandings” can exacerbate cross-border problems—and consequent public opinion. Perpetuating these misunderstandings can inflame and complicate the situation, but purposeful efforts to reduce inequality can produce promising results.

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Born of Resistance

Cara a Cara Encounters with Chicana/o Visual Culture

Edited by Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell

This collection of essays interrogates the most contested social, political, and aesthetic concept in Chicana/o cultural studies—resistance.

If Chicana/o culture was born of resistance amid assimilation and nationalistic forces, how has it evolved into the twenty-first century? This groundbreaking volume redresses the central idea of resistance in Chicana/o visual cultural expression through nine clustered discussions, each coordinating scholarly, critical, curatorial, and historical contextualizations alongside artist statements and interviews. Landmark artistic works—illustrations, paintings, sculpture, photography, film, and television—anchor each section. Contributors include David Avalos, Mel Casas, Ester Hernández, Nicholas Herrera, Luis Jiménez, Ellen Landis, Yolanda López, Richard Lou, Delilah Montoya, Laura Pérez, Lourdes Portillo, Luis Tapia, Chuy Treviño, Willie Varela, Kathy Vargas, René Yañez, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, and more. Cara a cara, face-to-face, encounters across the collection reveal the varied richness of resistant strategies, movidas, as they position crucial terms of debate surrounding resistance, including subversion, oppression, affirmation, and identification.

The essays in the collection represent a wide array of perspectives on Chicana/o visual culture. Editors Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell have curated a dialog among the many voices, creating an important new volume that redefines the role of resistance in Chicana/o visual arts and cultural expression.

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Breaking Into the Current

Boatwomen of the Grand Canyon

Louise Teal

In 1973, Marilyn Sayre gave up her job as a computer programmer and became the first woman in twenty years to run a commercial boat through the Grand Canyon. Georgie White had been the first, back in the 1950s, but it took time before other women broke into guiding passengers down the Colorado River. This book profiles eleven of the first full-season Grand Canyon boatwomen, weaving together their various experiences in their own words.

Breaking Into the Current is a story of romance between women and a place. Each woman tells a part of every Canyon boatwoman's story: when Marilyn Sayre talks about leaving the Canyon, when Ellen Tibbets speaks of crew camaraderie, or when Martha Clark recalls the thrill of white water, each tells how all were involved in the same romance.

All the boatwomen have stories to tell of how they first came to the Canyon and why they stayed. Some speak of how they balanced their passion for being in the Canyon against the frustration of working in a traditionally male-oriented occupation, where today women account for about fifteen percent of the Canyon's commercial river guides.

As river guides in love with the Canyon and their work, these women have followed their hearts. "I've done a lot," says Becca Lawton, "but there's been nothing like holding those oars in my hands and putting my boat exactly where I wanted it. Nothing."

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Brewing Arizona

A Century of Beer in the Grand Canyon State

Ed Sipos

“Sergeant… there is a brewery here!” shouted Private Lutje into the tent of his commanding officer. His regiment had just set up camp outside of Tucson. It was spring. The year was 1866. And the good private had reason to be shocked. How could anyone brew beer in the desert? The water was alkaline (when it was fit to drink at all), grains were scarce, bottles were in short supply, and refrigeration was nearly non-existent. But human ingenuity cannot be overestimated, especially when it comes to creating alcoholic beverages.
 
Since 1864, the state’s breweries have had a history as colorful as the state. With an eye like a historian, the good taste of a connoisseur, and the tenacity of a dedicated collector, author Ed Sipos serves up beer history with gusto. Brewing Arizona is the first book of Arizona beer. It includes every brewery known to have operated in the state, from the first to the latest, from crude brews to craft brews, from mass beer to microbrews. This eye-opening chronicle is encyclopedic in scope but smooth in its delivery. Like a fine beer, the contents are deep and rich, with a little froth on top.
 
With more than 250 photographs—200 in full color—Brewing Arizona is as beautiful as it is tasty. So put up your feet, grab a cold one, and sip to your heart’s delight.

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Bright Raft in the Afterweather

Poems

Jennifer Elise Foerster

In her dazzling new book, Jennifer Elise Foerster announces a frightening new truth: “the continent is dismantling.” Bright Raft in the Afterweather travels the spheres of the past, present, future, and eternal time, exploring the fault lines that signal the break of humanity’s consciousness from the earth.

Featuring recurring characters, settings, and motifs from her previous book, Leaving Tulsa, Foerster takes the reader on a solitary journey to the edges of the continents of mind and time to discover what makes us human. Along the way, the author surveys the intersection between natural landscapes and the urban world, baring parallels to the conflicts between Native American peoples and Western colonizers, and considering how imagination and representation can both destroy and remake our worlds.
Foerster’s captivating language and evocative imagery immerse the reader in a narrative of disorientation and reintegration. Each poem blends Foerster’s refined use of language with a mythic and environmental lyricism as she explores themes of destruction, spirituality, loss, and remembrance.

In a world wrought with ecological imbalance and grief, Foerster shows how from the devastated land of our alienation there is potential to reconnect to our origins and redefine the terms by which we inhabit humanity and the earth.
 

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Bring Down the Little Birds

By Carmen Giménez Smith

How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? The dichotomy between life as a mother and life as an artist and professional is a major theme in modern literature because often the two seem irreconcilable. In Bring Down the Little Birds, Carmen Giménez Smith faces this seeming irreconcilability head-on, offering a powerful and necessary lyric memoir to shed light on the difficulties—and joys—of being a mother juggling work, art, raising children, pregnancy, and being a daughter to an ailing mother, and, perhaps most important, offering a rigorous and intensely imaginative contemplation on the concept of motherhood as such.

Writing in fragmented yet coherent sections, the author shares with us her interior monologue, affording the reader a uniquely honest, insightful, and deeply personal glimpse into a woman’s first and second journeys into motherhood. Giménez Smith begins Bring Down the Little Birds by detailing the relationship with her own mother, from whom her own concept of motherhood originated, a conception the author continually reevaluates and questions over the course of the book.

Combining fragments of thought, daydreams, entries from notebooks both real and imaginary, and real-life experiences, Giménez Smith interrogates everything involved in becoming and being a mother for both the first and second time, from wondering what her children will one day know about her own “secret life” to meditations on the physical effects of pregnancy as well as the myths, the nostalgia, and the glorification of motherhood.

While Giménez Smith incorporates universal experiences of motherhood that other authors have detailed throughout literature, what separates her book from these many others is that her reflections are captured in a style that establishes an intimacy and immediacy between author and reader through which we come to know the secret life of a mother and are made to question our own conception of what motherhood really means.

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Broken Souths

Latina/o Poetic Responses to Neoliberalism and Globalization

Michael Dowdy

Broken Souths offers the first in-depth study of the diverse field of contemporary Latina/o poetry. Its innovative angle of approach puts Latina/o and Latin American poets into sustained conversation in original and rewarding ways. In addition, author Michael Dowdy presents ecocritical readings that foreground the environmental dimensions of current Latina/o poetics.
 
Dowdy argues that a transnational Latina/o imaginary has emerged in response to neoliberalism—the free-market philosophy that underpins what many in the northern hemisphere refer to as “globalization.” His work examines how poets represent the places that have been “broken” by globalization’s political, economic, and environmental upheavals. Broken Souths locates the roots of the new imaginary in 1968, when the Mexican student movement crested and the Chicano and Nuyorican movements emerged in the United States. It theorizes that Latina/o poetics negotiates tensions between the late 1960s’ oppositional, collective identities and the present day’s radical individualisms and discourses of assimilation, including the “post-colonial,” “post-national,” and “post-revolutionary.” Dowdy is particularly interested in how Latina/o poetics reframes debates in cultural studies and critical geography on the relation between place, space, and nature.
 
Broken Souths features discussions of Latina/o writers such as Victor Hernández Cruz, Martín Espada, Juan Felipe Herrera, Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcos McPeek Villatoro, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Jack Agüeros, Marjorie Agosín, Valerie Martínez, and Ariel Dorfman, alongside discussions of influential Latin American writers, including Roberto Bolaño, Ernesto Cardenal, David Huerta, José Emilio Pacheco, and Raúl Zurita.

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Buried in Shades of Night

Contested Voices, Indian Captivity, and the Legacy of King Philip's War

Billy J. Stratton, Foreword by Frances Washburn, Afterword by George E. Tinker

The captivity narrative of Mary Rowlandson, The Soveraignty and Goodness of God, published in 1682, is often considered the first “best seller” to be published in North America. Since then, it has long been read as a first-person account of the trials of Indian captivity. After an attack on the Puritan town of Lancaster, Massachusetts, in February 1676, Rowlandson was held prisoner for more than eleven weeks before eventually being ransomed. The account of her experiences, published six years later, soon took its place as an exemplar of the captivity narrative genre and a popular focal point of scholarly attention in the three hundred years since.

In this groundbreaking new book, Billy J. Stratton offers a critical examination of the narrative of Mary Rowlandson. Although it has long been thought that the book’s preface was written by the influential Puritan minister Increase Mather, Stratton’s research suggests that Mather was also deeply involved in the production of the narrative itself, which bears strong traces of a literary form that was already well established in Europe. As Stratton notes, the portrayal of Indian people as animalistic “savages” and of Rowlandson’s solace in Biblical exegesis served as a convenient alibi for the colonial aspirations of the Puritan leadership.

Stratton calls into question much that has been accepted as fact by scholars and historians over the last century, and re-centers the focus on the marginalized perspective of Native American people, including those whose land had been occupied by the Puritan settlers. In doing so, Stratton demands a careful reconsideration of the role that the captivity narrative—which was instrumental in shaping conceptions of “frontier warfare”—has played in the development of both American literary history and national identity.

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Burntwater

In Navajo country, where the land is thick with legends and forgotten histories, a writer sets out to find a place that no longer exists except on a few old maps: Burntwater. The story opens when two friends get stuck in a remote pocket of the desert as a winter storm moves in. They are taking a wandering route across the Four Corners region, curving through Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona on a long arc into the mythic heart of the country. As they travel, the author calls up past experiences in this land where the past flows seamlessly into the present. He remembers a medicine man whose chanting could start the cold engine of a Volkswagen. He describes an act of sabotage against an oil company by two Vietnam vets armed with deer rifles. He recalls how a winter of herding sheep for a Navajo family and a search for a Hopi known as the Sun Chief led him further into a human landscape as strange and compelling as the terrain. This book takes the backroads, crossing the Colorado Plateau from the headwaters of the Virgin River to the mouth of the Dirty Devil, from the badlands below Twin Angels to a remote mesa in Bandelier. As the miles go by and the stories unfold, there is a growing sense of mystery, of words not spoken, of messages carried on the wind. Reaching the Shrine of the Stone Lions, the writer recounts a near-fatal descent into the Grand Canyon where he finds a way to reconnect with the beauty of life. There his journey ends with an emotional punch that goes straight to the mind and the heart.

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