From The University of Arizona Press
Arizona Goes to War
The Home Front and the Front Lines during World War II
Brad Melton; Dean Smith
233 Pages Published 2003
It was a cold, gray morning in northeast France when Pfc. Silvestre Herrera's unit came under heavy fire from a Nazi artillery barrage. Armed with only a hand grenade and his M1 rifle, Herrera
fixed his bayonet and mounted a one-man charge, single-handedly capturing eight German soldiers, then killing two more and pinning down the enemy despite having had both feet blown off by a mine. A few months later he was back home in Phoenix when the telegram arrived notifying him that he was to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Herrera was just one of Arizona's sons and daughters who answered their country's call in World War II. Their exploits and the adventures of those on the home front are now celebrated in a book that brings that era engagingly to life. Arizona Goes to War takes readers back to a time when military installations sprang up all over the state as thousands of airmen arrived to train in Arizona's clear desert skies, and when soldiers destined for North Africa came to get their first taste of desert sands. In its pages, readers will learn not only of the green recruits who passed through Arizona, but also of the state's Native Americans who registered for the draft in record numbers, of Japanese Americans unjustly incarcerated in desert detention centers, and of ordinary citizens who did their bit for the war effort. Included in the book are some of World War II's most incredible stories, such as the testing of tank engines in Arizona dust storms for the North Africa campaign, the interrogation of Japanese consular diplomats from Honolulu at the Triangle T Guest Ranch near Dragoon, and the escape of 25 German POWs from a detention camp outside of Phoenix called the greatest escape by Axis prisoners from a U.S. compound during the war. A separate chapter pays tribute to Arizona's war heroes: not only Silvestre Herrera, but also fighter ace Grant Turley, Midway hero John C. Butler, and Pima Indian Ira Hayes, who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima. A host of profiles and sidebars bring people and events of the wartime era to life, and a useful appendix provides a traveler's guide to Arizona's World War II sites. World War II may have transformed Arizona more than it did any other state; not only did Arizona's industry blossom, its population did as well when servicemen who had been stationed there returned to put down stakes. Arizona Goes to War recaptures the glory and spirit of that era and reminds us that the people who lived through those years are well worth commemorating.
A true period piece . . . a highly accessible examination of World War II from our vantage point in the Southwest.
Arizona Daily Star
A book that presents the war and the home front in a much more relevant and exciting way. . . . An incredible collection of period photographs bring the war and action on the home front into sharp focus. Dozens of profiles and sidebars add to the rich detail, underscoring the regional flavor of Arizona during that period of history.
While providing a solid general survey of the impact of the war on the Grand Canyon state, Arizona Goes to War also provides in-depth snapshots of various aspects of the period. . . . In addition to being fascinating the book is useful, offering a visitor's guide to World War II sites in the state.
A fascinating and captivating book . . . carefully mixing in-depth analysis with excellent selections of stories.
Journal of Arizona History
From The University of Arizona Press
Bighorse the Warrior
Tiana Bighorse; Edited by Noël Bennett
115 Pages Published 1990
"I want to talk about my tragic story, because if I don't, it will get into my mind and get into my dream and make me crazy."
When the Navajos were taken from their land by the federal government in the 1860s, thousands lost their lives on the infamous Long Walk, while those who eluded capture lived in constant fear. These men and women are now dead, but their story lives on in the collective memory of their tribe. Gus Bighorse lived through that period of his people's history, and his account of it—recalled by his daughter Tiana and retold in her father's voice—provides authentic glimpses into Navajo life and values of a century ago. Born around 1846, Gus was orphaned at sixteen when his parents were killed by soldiers, and he went into hiding with other Navajos banded together under chiefs like Manuelito. Over the coming years, he was to see members of his tribe take refuge in Canyon de Chelly, endure the Long Walk from Fort Defiance to Bosque Redondo in 1864, and go into hiding at Navajo Mountain. Gus himself was the leader of one of Manuelito's bands who fought against Kit Carson's troops. After the Navajos were allowed to return to their land, Gus took up the life of a horseman, only to see his beloved animals decimated in a government stock reduction program. "I know some people died of their tragic story," says Gus. "They think about it and think about how many relatives they lost. Their parents got shot. They get into shock. That is what kills them. That is why we warriors have to talk to each other. We wake ourselves up, get out of the shock. And that is why I tell my kids what happened, so it won't be forgot." Throughout his narrative, he makes clear those human qualities that for the Navajos define what it is to be a warrior: vision, compassion, courage, and endurance. Befitting the oral tradition of her people, Tiana Bighorse draws on her memory to tell her father's story. In doing so, she ensures that a new generation of Navajos will know how the courage of their ancestors enabled their people to have their reservation today: "They paid for our land with their lives." Following the text is a chronology of Navajo history, with highlights of Gus Bighorse's life placed in the context of historical events.
A series of moving stories about an heroic and compassionate man—and the sufferings and endurance of the Navajo people.
—Studies in American Indian Literatures
A testimonial to the strength of the Navajo way of life. . . . Recommended for any reader who is interested in Native American ways.
The late Navaho warrior Gus Bighorse (born in 1846) passed stories and recollections on to his children. His colorful life, as remembered by daughter Tiana and retold in the voice of her father, is recounted in an unusual, illustrated volume. . . . This narrative makes clear those human qualities that define for the Navaho what it is to be a warrior, while also presenting the essence of Navaho culture. —Booklist
A simple story that transcends the ages. —Journal of the West
From The University of Arizona Press
287 Pages Published 1999
Bisbee, Arizona, queen of the western copper camps, 1917. The protagonists in a bitter strike: the Wobblies (the IWW), the toughest union in the history of the West; and Harry Wheeler, the last of the two-gun sheriffs. In this class-war western, they face each other down in the streets of Bisbee, pitting a general strike against the largest posse ever assembled. Based on a true story, Bisbee '17 vividly re-creates a West of miners and copper magnates, bindlestiffs and scissorbills, army officers, private detectives, and determined revolutionaries. Against this backdrop runs the story of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, strike organizer from the East, caught between the worlds of her ex-husband—the Bisbee strike leader—and her new lover, an Italian anarchist from New York. As the tumultuous weeks of the strike unfold, she struggles to sort out what she really feels about both of them, and about the West itself.
Mr. Houston disclaims scrupulous historical accuracy. But the essence of the scenario—the 'deportation'—is an ugly fact, and he brings it excitingly to life. —New York Times Book Review
Houston's prose as he details these events is graphic and fluid. The story he tells, blending factual participants with fictional characters, is an example of history in fiction at its best. —Arizona Daily Star
A highly charged, absorbing novel . . . Houston uses his literary skills to maximum advantage to create a masterful, moving and intensely involving account of a chilling, ugly chapter in American and Arizona history. —Santa Cruz Valley Sun
A vivid, carefully imagined reconstruction of what the times were like for ordinary Arizonans in the age of labor agitation and big-mining power. —Tucson Weekly