HEROES AND VILLAINS OF NEW MEXICO
A Collection of True Stories
By Bud Russo
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Some of these tales are about genuine heroes. Some are about dastardly villains. Others you’ll have to decide for yourself: hero or villain? You’ll recognize these people, even if you don’t remember their names. They are Spanish colonials, Mexicans, and Anglos all the way to the present. They are even aboriginal Americans predating the arrival of Europeans. These are personal tales—gossip, you might say—and, when you finish a story, if you’re like me, you’ll be able to say, “I didn’t know that!” Now, don’t you think knowing the quirks and grit of those who peopled the pages of your history textbooks—rather than all those dates and places—is more interesting? The author always thought so. After a dozen years writing travel stories about New Mexico, he undertook writing yarns of adventure, intrigue, failure, and even death. Open the book to Elfego Baca’s story and learn why one Mexican had no fear of American cowboys. Or how Navajo Chester Nez, who was denied the right to speak his native language, used Navajo words to help win World War II. Or even how the haughty wife of a colonial governor was falsely denounced to the Inquisition as a Crypto-Jew. Fact or imagination? Sometimes it’s hard to know which it is, but these, at least, are true life episodes. Includes Readers Guide.
Bud Russo went to New Mexico in 1961 to go to college, then out into the world to make his mark as a journalist. Forty years later, he returned to find the sunshine. And found so much more. He writes for several local magazines and newspapers, traveling the state and exploring New Mexico’s people, places, history, and culture. Each story he finds makes him wonder time and again how he got born in Maryland, when his roots are so deeply embedded in the Land of Enchantment. So, for as long as he’s here, he intends to wander the backroads, peek around the next turn, look for surprises over the next hill, never knowing where or when he’ll encounter his next story.
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