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460Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril Wester and Proctor do not take full advantage of the potential these accounts provide, but the book does include some interesting vignettes—especially memorable is one with a pre-fame, short-haired Willie Nelson receiving a clause in his performer's contract to allow him to "get there early and practice calf roping" (39). More of a focus on similar stories would enhance the appeal of die book. From die peculiarities of running a business in die 1960s with a party line to an unfortunate incident involving roping a coyote (and subsequent rabies inoculations ), Wester and Proctor provide a personal tale of promoting and running die Ken Lance Sports Arena. Still, for a book written by two women and focused in large measure on all-girl rodeo competitions, the issue of gender remains surprisingly elusive and the book fails to examine any of die more obviously gendered elements of rodeo culture. This omission seems even starker considering diat the memoir-related sections stress a number of stories that relate direcdy to a business run by a married woman, female singers performing on stage, and young women competing within the masculine world of rodeos. Overall, the blend of institutional history and memoir provides for an interesting look at an underrepresented cultural phenomenon. To be sure, Ropin' the Dream is not an academic book—the writing is too casual and the history too anecdotal—but die authors do tell the often-overlooked story of the interconnected worlds of competitive rodeo and country music from a personal and sometimes poignant point of view. Stephen E Austin State UniversityCourt Carney Taking on Giants: Fabián Chavez Jr. and New Mexico Politics. By David Roybal (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008. Pp. 320. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 9780826344366, $27.95 cloth.) Ambitious in both its scope and purpose, political journalist David Roybal's new book Taking on Giants: Fabián ChavezJr. and New Mexico Politics, offers what is, and undoubtedly will remain for some time to come, the most comprehensive study of the life and political career of one of New Mexico's most prominent and influential Democrats, Fabián ChavezJr. Though Roybal treats thoroughly the narrative of Chavez's career, which included stints as Majority Leader for the New Mexico State Senate, failed campaigns for U.S. Congress and New Mexico's governorship, oversight of an expanding and evolving tourism industry in the 1970s, and an appointment as Assistant Secretary of Commerce during the Carter administration, it is when addressing Chavez's youth that Roybal is most effective. Not so much rebellious as restless and intellectually curious, Chavez, one of eleven siblings, traveled to Los Angeles, alone and without parental permission, at the age of twelve. Soon after Fabian's return to Santa Fe, his father decided to enroll the precocious youdi in the Springer boys' school, which was essentially a juvenile correctional facility. Roybal's use of Springer as a framing event—one that reemerged as a political issue later in Chavez's life—stands as one of the book's best moments and structural successes. 20ogBook Reviews461 Unfortunately, Roybal's skill in utilizing Chavez's own words to recapture die visceral power of a youdiful social and political awakening is rarely applied elsewhere in the narrative, which often seems aimless, disorganized, impersonal, and inadequately contextualized. Nevertheless, some readers already familiar with Chavez and New Mexico politics will find much of interest in Roybal's account. Political scientists, for instance (or even self-identified "political junkies" for that matter), will likely find significant utility in Roybal's vivid recreation of intra-party squabbles and backroom legislative debates. For many others, however, conclusions as to the book's broader value and utility are slightly more ambiguous. Historians interested in understanding Chavez's or New Mexico's placement within an emerging Sunbelt or die transformations in partisan identification and power during die last several decades of the twentieth century will likely come away disappointed. Roybal repeatedly alludes to significant national trends or developments, out of which some comment on New Mexico's role would be quite valuable. Unfortunately, Roybal consistently brushes past these moments in favor of a more detailed...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 460-461
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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