Western History & Genealogy Blog

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New Books in Western History (5.9.10)

The past week has seen a number of reviews of new works of Western history, including several reviews of a new work on the Battle of Little Bighorn, a search for personal family history bridging the Old and New Worlds, and the murderous reality of a border city.

Award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick has returned with a new book entitled The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and what are the first of many reviews have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and Salon, along with a feature article, a video interview, and gallery in the online edition of USA Today. Reviews are generally favorable, although the Monitor's Stephen Kurczy observes that for all its many merits, "tedious minutiae and irrelevant details bog down what could be a riveting narrative." A copy of The Last Stand has been ordered for the Western History & Genealogy collection.

In the Los Angeles Times, Gregg Barrios reviews John Phillip Santos' The Farthest Home is an Empire of Fire: A Tejano Elegy, a successor to the earlier Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation. Santos continues the examination of his family's histories with an exploration of his mother's family's old world origins in what Barrios describes as less satisfying than the earlier volume, but still remarkable. Both Santos volumes are available in the Western History & Genealogy Department's collection, and circulating volumes of Places Left Unfinished are available at several DPL branches.

Charles Bowden's Murder City: Ciudad Juárez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields, the Mexican sister city of El Paso, Texas. Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oscar Villalon ultimately finds the book wanting, even as he concedes Bowden asks the right questions. What the book makes plain, Villalon continues, "is the need for an exhaustive, heavily sourced book on the drug war in Mexico." A copy of Murder City has been ordered for the Western History & Genealogy collection. Numerous circulating copies are available at many DPL branches.

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