Interpreter of the American Southwest
By Ron Hamm
"...a fine biography of a complex man..." --New Mexico Historical Review
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Many people love the American Southwest without truly understanding it. Ross Randall Calvin did and we are the richer for it. Calvin began his search as a pilgrim health-seeker, believing he had left the “known world” behind when he fled the East for New Mexico. There he soon found to our benefit that he could use his observational skills and intellect to fashion a picture that helped him and us comprehend those unique factors that make New Mexico what it is—its history, people, culture, climate, and so much more. Those lessons learned he shared with us. His books and essays can open our eyes to New Mexico if we but heed them. Calvin’s story as discoverer and interpreter unfolds in rich detail in this essential work.
Ron Hamm has written widely and extensively on New Mexico as a journalist, then later as author and biographer over some five decades. His previous books have been The Bursums of New Mexico: Four Generations of Leadership and Service and New Mexico Territorial Era Caricatures (Sunstone Press 2014). Ross Calvin gave him a fresh insight into New Mexico through Sky Determines and River of the Sun. Ross Calvin, Interpreter of the Southwest is Hamm’s most satisfying work.
“Imaginatively conceived and beautifully written, Ron Hamm’s Ross Calvin, Interpreter of the American Southwest resurrects Ross Calvin’s life and restores Sky Determines and River of the Sun to their essential space in both twentieth-century American belle-lettres and environmental interpretations of the American Southwest.” —L.G. Moses, Professor of History, Oklahoma State University and author of the Ross Calvin essay, “If There Be Sermons in Stones, I Have Not Heard Them.”
“A masterful biography of Ross Calvin, one of the American Southwest’s greatest observers. Hamm explores how family, education, religion, profession, interests, and Southwest surroundings helped shape Calvin and his finest works, particularly Sky Determines (1934). Just as the Southwestern sky determined much of the region’s history and culture, Calvin’s life experiences, filled with accomplishments and disappointments, determined the man’s genius and lasting impact. —Richard Melzer, PhD, Past President, Historical Society of New Mexico, and author of Breakdown, How the Secret of the Atomic Bomb was Stolen During World War II; Ernie Pyle in the American Southwest; When We Were Young in the West, True Stories of Childhood; and Buried Treasures, Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History, all from Sunstone Press
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