by Don Bullis
Published in collaboration with Albuquerque Westerners and with funding support from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs
Selected as a Finalist in the 2009 New Mexico Book Awards
Author Don Bullis is well known for the depth of his knowledge and research regarding New Mexico history, law enforcement, and politics. In New Mexico & Politicians of the Past, he gathers together some of the state’s lesser known politicos and provides a short vignette of each man’s life (there are no women included in this collection, which is more likely due to the fact that women were not allowed to be part of politics in the past and not a case of the author’s chauvinism). The period represented is from the 1500s to the early 20th century.
Bullis made some rather interesting choices as to who was included in the book. Several of the snippets, such as those which relate farcical political fiascos and shady associations, are quite entertaining. Many give the reader a glimpse into a past era where garnering political position based purely on return favors and personal relationships was the norm.
For those who are truly addicted to New Mexico’s political history, this book will certainly be entertaining. It cannot be argued that Bullis knows his history and has done extensive research. I, for one, however, would have liked the selection of biographies to be just a bit more stimulating and exciting -- Reading New Mexico, March, 2009
For better or worse, politics have always played an important part in New Mexico life, beginning with the first Spanish explorers and conquerors in the 16th century. New Mexico Spanish Colonial Governors Juan Bautista de Anza and Fernando de la Concha, made and maintained peace with the Comanche, in the later years of the 18th century. Mexican Governor Albino Pérez, on the other hand, was murdered by his constituents in 1837. American Territorial Governor Lew Wallace left New Mexico in favor of Turkey in the face of his inability to deal with the violence of the Lincoln County War. Judge Joab Houghton had no legal training, and it showed. Judge Kirby Benedict consumed enough alcohol that President Abe Lincoln felt compelled to comment. Texas Judge Spruce Baird attempted to singlehandedly claim most of New Mexico for the Lone Star State. Judge David Leahy was shot, but not killed, by newspaper editor Carl Magee in a Las Vegas, New Mexico, hotel lobby. This book is a sampler of New Mexico political figures beginning in 1598. Most are uniquely New Mexican.
Talks & Presentations
Don Bullis has scheduled several talks and presentations on the topics of New Mexico’s history, politicians, and statehood. These are all open to the public.
December 8, 2008 - 1pm - OASIS at Macy’s, Coronado Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico
December 13, 2008 - 1pm - Lincoln State Monument, Lincoln, New Mexico
February 1, 2009 -- 3pm -- Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico
April 5, 2009 - 2pm - Sandoval County Historical Society, DeLavy House, Bernalillo, New Mexico
April 16, 2009 - 6pm - Albuquerque Westerners, MCM Elegante Hotel, 2020 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico (call 505/892-9177 to reserve a space for the dinner)
April 24, 2009 -- 5:30pm - World Book Day, Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque
May 1, 2009 - 8:30 am - Historical Society of New Mexico, Santa Fe Convention Center, Sweeney Room B, Santa Fe, New Mexico
May 30, 2009 - 10am - Book signing at 5th Annual Chama Book Fiesta, Chama, NM
June 18-19, 2009 - Book display at Western Writers of America Conference in Midwest City, OK
July 10-12, 2009 - Book display at Lavender at the Village Festival, Los Ranchos, NM
TABLE OF CONTENTS