Monday, August 9, 2010

"Telling New Mexico" Fails to Tell New Mexico's History

“Telling New Mexico” is the title of a new book from the Museum of New Mexico Press. Produced in conjunction with the opening of the new history museum in Santa Fe, the book claims to be “a new history” of our state.

Not exactly. In my current syndicated newspaper column, now in distribution to ten papers around the state, I trashed “Telling New Mexico” for its omissions such as uranium mining around Grants and for its ideological tilt with various references in the uranium-is-evil genre.

I sought uranium and other mining references for reasons unrelated to whether or not the book is comprehensive. That’s a weasely way of saying I forgot to check for some obvious other topics such as Las Cruces and chile.

First, let’s stipulate that the index is terrible. That’s means it is a poor guide to topics covered in the book. That said, Las Cruces get two index entries, both from the article by John Hunner who lives in Las Cruces. The entries mention, totally in passing, some historic project work that slightly touched Las Cruces and New Mexico State University.

Ideology entered Hunner’s article with this sub-head, “Climate Change Threatens Cultural and Historic Resources.” The section was about the Hatch flood of 2006. No proof was offered of the claim the floods were climate change related.

Chile is absent from the index.

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