Franzi's holiday book list - The Explorer: Editorials

Franzi's holiday book list

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Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:00 am | Updated: 8:03 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Here’s some you may have missed.

Jane Eppinga: They Made their Mark - An Illustrated History of The Society of Female Geographers. Globe Pequot, 2008. HB $29.95.

Tucsonan Eppinga is known for her histories of Apache Junction and Nogales and her fine catalog of Arizona’s sheriffs, from Commodore Perry Owens to Joe Arpaio. Here she produces sketches of 28 females who led fantastic lives, from Amelia Earhart and Pearl Buck to Jane Goodall and Kathryn Sullivan. Heavily illustrated from the society’s archives, a worthy addition to any library of Americana.

William Heuisler: Mercenary’s Tale - Fighting Fidel Castro. Booksurge, 2008.PB $15.99. Former Marine and cop, sometime candidate for public office, and longtime local PI, Heuisler gives us his exploits as a young operative in the early days of our halfway attempts to overthrow the Castro regime. Well-written and a good action yarn.

Leighton Rockafellow: Diminished Capacity. A novel of legal suspense. IUniverse, 2008. PB $16.95. Thirty years as a Tucson trial lawyer gives Rockafellow a great background from the courtroom where you often tell a really good tale. He does here. Please welcome a new local mystery writer.

Jane Coleman: The White Dove. A celebration of Father Kino. High Plains Press, 2007. PB $12.95 A repeat from last year - Coleman’s poetry is so imaginative that it has captivated not only English speakers, but is greatly respected in Mexico where she has been honored for it and where portions have been translated into Spanish. May be the best of her many fine efforts.

Betty Barr and William Kelly: Arizona in the ‘50s. Available at www.Brockingjbooks.com, 2007 PB $15. Reprint of the 1953 University of NM edition. This is the 1850s! Young Jim Tevis arrived here in 1857, fought Indians, got captured and tortured by Cochise, lived to tell about it, left to fight for the Confederacy, returned with his family and enlarged it, dying in Tucson in 1905. His daughters published his recollections here updated by Sonoitans Barr and Kelly, Tevis’ great-grandson. A must for local historians.

The following four writers have a Tucson connection. They do the final Friday each month at 4 p.m. on Voices of the West, KVOI 690AM, with John Komrada and I where we name the Top Ten western movies in a sub-category.

Johnny Boggs and Cotton Smith are two of the leading western novelists currently writing them, and are the immediate past and current presidents of Western Writers of America. They are the western novel equivalent of Clancy and Flynn.

Michael F. Blake and Robert Nott both write about film, often westerns. Blake is an award-winning Hollywood make-up artist with incredible insider knowledge, while Nott is the arts and entertainment editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican.

For Boggs, you can start as I did with The Trial of Billy the Kid - Signet 2004 PB$5.95. I always learned more history from great novels like this one. Warning: Boggs is addictive and there’s a lot of him in print.

So is Cotton Smith. Start there with Blood of Bass Tillman – Leisure Historical Fiction 2007 PB $5.99. Horse folks will appreciate the detail he puts into the critters necessary to any western. Those who grew up on Louis L’Amour will appreciate him even more.

Both Blake and Nott produce necessary components for any western movie fan or Wyatt Earp groupie. Blake’s Hollywood and the OK Corral - McFarland, 2007 PB$39.95  - breaks down all eight Hollywood versions of the famed Tombstone encounter from Randolph Scott’s Wyatt in Frontier Marshall (1938) to Kevin Costner’s (1994).

Robert Nott tells us what ever happened to and much more with The Films of Randolph Scott - McFarland, 2007 PB $39.95. Nott is a meticulous researcher and a damn fine writer.

Most are available locally or from Amazon.com.

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