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Press Check 2010

Recent books by NMSU faculty, staff and supporters

The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920

By Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler
University of New Mexico Press

Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler, both emeritus history professors at NMSU, teamed up to research “The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920.” They perused 80,000 pages of previously classified FBI documents on the Mexican Revolution and hundreds of Mexican secret agent reports from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations archive to examine the mechanics of rebellion in a town where factional loyalty was fragile and treachery was elevated to an art form. The book adds new dimensions to what is known about the Mexican Revolution. The Mexican Revolution could not have succeeded without the use of American territory as a secret base of operations, a source of munitions, money, and volunteers, a refuge for personnel, an arena for propaganda, and a market for revolutionary loot. El Paso, the largest and most important American city on the Mexican border during this time, was the scene of many clandestine operations as American businesses and the U.S. federal government sought to maintain their influences in Mexico and protect national interest while keeping an eye on key Revolutionary figures. In addition, the city served as refuge to a cast of characters that included revolutionists, adventurers, smugglers, gunrunners, counterfeiters, propagandists, secret agents, double agents, criminals and confidence men.

A Brief History of Venice

By Elizabeth A. Horodowich
Running Press Book

Elizabeth A. Horodowich is an associate professor of history at New Mexico State University. She has studied 16th-century Venice all her career and is particularly interested in the Renaissance. In her book “A Brief History of Venice,” Horodowich tells how Venice grew out of the swamps of Italy and became one of the great mercantile and cultural centers of the world. Horodowich tells the whole story, showing that Venice, alongside Florence and Rome, was one of the great Renaissance capitals. The book also investigates the history of Venice as a multicultural trading city where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together at the crossroads between East and West. The narrative runs all the way to the present, to the current problems with the sinking island.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West

By Jon Hunner
University of Oklahoma Press

Jon Hunner, professor of history and public history director at New Mexico State University, has written a concise account of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life and the emergence of an atomic West in his new book “J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Cold War, and the Atomic West.” Hunner explores how the West influenced Oppenheimer as a scientist and as a person, and the role he played in influencing it. Oppenheimer came to feel at home in the American West, and while extensive studies have been made of the man, this is the first book to explicitly link him with the region. In this brisk, engaging biography, the author recounts how Oppenheimer helped locate the atomic weapons research lab at Los Alamos, N.M., and helped establish leading physics departments at the University of California–Berkeley and Caltech. Interwoven into this atomic tale are insights into the physicist’s troubled growing-up years, his marriage and family life, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Oppenheimer’s eventual downfall.

Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage

By Ann Garrison Darrin and Beth Laura O’Leary
Taylor & Francis, Inc.

Beth O’Leary, assistant college professor of anthropology at New Mexico State University, is a co-editor contributing her research on space archaeology to the book, “The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage.” The book was co-edited by O’Leary and Ann Garrison Darrin of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. O’Leary teamed with Darrin who is an expert in aerospace engineering and materials science, to create a comprehensive guide to the material, culture and technological history of space. Other contributors from NMSU include Edward Staski, professor of anthropology, and Roger Gerke, who recently achieved his master’s in anthropology in May 2009. The book explores how archaeologists and engineers document and evaluate artifacts in space as part of human extraterrestrial exploration.

 

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