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From the moment he arrived in New Mexico in 1964, Gus Blaisdell (1935–2003) was a legendary presence. Famous in Albuquerque as a writer, teacher, publisher, editor, and especially as the proprietor of the Living Batch bookstore, Blaisdell was also a brilliant critic whose essays influenced readers throughout the country and across the Atlantic. This long-awaited collection of Blaisdell’s critical writings includes essays on literature, art, and film, along with moving tributes by some of the distinguished writers who numbered Blaisdell among their friends. Introductory essays by philosopher Stanley Cavell and literary critic David Morris join colleague Ira Jaffe’s poignant memoir to provide perspectives on the man by friends who knew him well. Glimpses of Blaisdell’s vivid personality can be had from the many photographs included, and the diligently researched chronology compiled by Nicole Blaisdell Ivey tracks the course of her father’s complicated life.
Fray Alonso de Benavides's History of New Mexico, 1630
The most thorough account ever written of southwestern life in the early seventeenth century, this engaging book was first published in 1630 as an official report to the king of Spain by Fray Alonso de Benavides, a Portuguese Franciscan who was the third head of the mission churches of New Mexico. In 1625, Father Benavides and his party traveled north from Mexico City to New Mexico, a strange land of frozen rivers, Indian citadels, and mines full of silver and garnets. Benavides and his Franciscan brothers built schools, erected churches, engineered peace treaties, and were said to perform miracles.
Benavides’s riveting exploration narrative provides portraits of the Pueblo Indians, the Apaches, and the Navajos at a time of fundamental change. It also gives us the first full picture of European colonial life in the southern Rockies, the southwestern deserts, and the Great Plains, along with an account of mission architecture and mission life and a unique evocation of faith in the wilderness.
A Self-Portrait of a People
First published in 1980 and now available only from the University of New Mexico Press, this classic compilation of New Mexico folk music is based on thirty-five years of field research by a giant of modern music. Composer John Donald Robb, a passionate aficionado of the traditions of his adopted state, traveled New Mexico recording and transcribing music from the time he arrived in the Southwest in 1941.
From the Colonial Era to the Present
For twenty-five years, Kendall Brown studied Potosí, Spanish America’s greatest silver producer and perhaps the world’s most famous mining district. He read about the flood of silver that flowed from its Cerro Rico and learned of the toil of its miners. Potosí symbolized fabulous wealth and unbelievable suffering. New World bullion stimulated the formation of the first world economy but at the same time it had profound consequences for labor, as mine operators and refiners resorted to extreme forms of coercion to secure workers. In many cases the environment also suffered devastating harm.
All of this occurred in the name of wealth for individual entrepreneurs, companies, and the ruling states. Yet the question remains of how much economic development mining managed to produce in Latin America and what were its social and ecological consequences. Brown’s focus on the legendary mines at Potosí and comparison of its operations to those of other mines in Latin America is a well-written and accessible study that is the first to span the colonial era to the present.
Four Centuries of Urban Change in Western North America
From the Gulf of Alaska to the Mississippi River and from the binational metropolis of San Diego-Tijuana to the Prairie Province capitals of Canada, Carl Abbott explores the complex urban history of western Canada and the United States.
A Practical Guide to Life in the Wildfire Danger Zone
A fire fighting tool for homeowners and firefighters alike, this guide discusses both the properties of wildfires and ways to minimize damage. Authored by an environmental journalist with advanced degrees in forestry, it is a must-have book designed to help westerners understand the Wildfire Danger Zone.
Susan McSween and the Lincoln County War
The events of July 19, 1878, marked the beginning of what became known as the Lincoln County War and catapulted Susan McSween and a young cowboy named Henry McCarty, alias Billy the Kid, into the history books. The so-called war, a fight for control of the mercantile economy of southeastern New Mexico, is one of the most documented conflicts in the history of the American West, but it is an event that up to now has been interpreted through the eyes of men. As a woman in a man’s story, Susan McSween has been all but ignored. This is the first book to place her in a larger context. Clearly, the Lincoln County War was not her finest hour, just her best known. For decades afterward, she ran a successful cattle ranch. She watched New Mexico modernize and become a state. And she lived to tell the tales of the anarchistic territorial period many times.
Based on more than thirty years of ethnographic fieldwork in Highland Guatemala, this study of Maya diviners, shamans, ritual dancers, and religious brotherhoods describes the radical changes in traditional Maya religious practice wrought by economic globalization and political turmoil. Focusing on the primary participants in the annual festival in the K’iche’ Maya village of Santiago Momostenango, the authors show how older religious traditionalists and the new generation of “cultural activist” religious practitioners interact within a single local community, and how their competing agendas for adapting Maya religiosity to a new and continually changing political economy are perpetuating and changing Maya religious traditions.
Strategies for Empire Unification
The Inka empire was the largest pre-Columbian polity in the New World. Its vast expanse, its ethnic diversity, and the fact that the empire may have been consolidated in less than a century have prompted much scholarly interest in its creation. In this study, Besom explores the ritual practices of human sacrifice and the worship of mountains, attested in both archaeological investigations and ethnohistorical sources, as tools in the establishment and preservation of political power.
Besom examines the relationship between symbols, ideology, ritual, and power to demonstrate how the Cuzqueños could have used rituals to manipulate common Andean symbols to uphold their authority over subjugated peoples. He considers ethnohistoric accounts of the categories of human sacrifice to gain insights into related rituals and motives, and reviews the ethnohistoric evidence of mountain worship to predict locations as well as motives. He also analyzes specific archaeological sites and assemblages, theorizing that they were the locations of sacrifices designed to assimilate subject peoples, bind conquered lands to the state, and/or justify the extraction of local resources.
Heritage and Carnival in San Antonio
Fiesta San Antonio began in 1891 and through the twentieth century expanded from a single parade to over two hundred events spanning a ten-day period. Laura Hernández-Ehrisman examines Fiesta's development as part of San Antonio's culture of power relations between men and women, Anglos and Mexicanos.