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True Histories of Childhood
By Richard Melzer, Ph.D.

BOOKLIST says: “Here’s an interesting idea: tell the story of the American Southwest (specifically, New Mexico) through the eyes of its children. The author, a history professor, introduces us to a group of unknown boys and girls who, in their own ways, were as important to the region as any familiar historical figure. Here are Haroldie and Sammie Kent, two young black children who were at the forefront of school desegregation in the 1950s; here’s Marion Russell, who, with her mother, Eliza, was part of a wagon train down the Santa Fe Trail in the early 1800s; here are Douglas MacArthur and Billy the Kid, before they became (respectively) a general and a gunslinger. It’s a unique and vastly informative book; drawing on oral histories, the stories are often told in the subjects’ own words, and the richness of detail tells us as much about the past as it does about childhood.” LIBRARY BOOKWATCH reports: "...a very highly commended addition to personal, school, and community library American History collections."


Historians have considered the contributions of many groups--from outlaws and lawmen to Harvey Girls and railroaders--in the making of the modern American Southwest. But few writers have considered the unique role of children in this vast region of the United States. Richard Melzer has taken a large step in filing this void by examining the diverse experiences of children growing up in different communities, in different cultures, and in different historical periods. Using New Mexico as a focus, and drawing on memoirs, oral histories, diaries, and autobiographies, Melzer has compiled the most thorough, captivating, and compelling set of true stories about childhood ever to appear in print. His collection, ranging from the experiences of Billy the Kid to those of Douglas MacArthur, is destined to become a classic in American Southwest historical literature.

RICHARD MELZER is a professor of history at the University of New Mexico/Valencia Campus. A prize-winning teacher and a popular public speaker, he is the author of many books and articles about the American Southwest. Sunstone Press is the publisher of Melzer's focused biography, ERNIE PYLE IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST, and BREAKDOWN, HOW THE SECRET OF THE ATOMIC BOMB WAS STOLEN DURING WORLD WAR II. He is also the author of COMING OF AGE IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

Inside This Book

6 X 9
ISBN: 978-1-63293-595-3
345 pp.,$38.95

6 X 9
ISBN: 978-0-86534-338-2
345 pp.,$22.95


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