The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 448
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Barbara Jones and her family. Those professional historians who wor-
ship documentation and abhor dialogue may disapprove of the un-
orthodox research methods and fictional writing techniques used in
this volume, but anyone who picks it up will be reluctant to stop
reading. This one book says more about the experiences of a family
on the southwestern frontier than a tall stack of scholarly tomes. Much
as Andy Adams' Log of a Cowboy has become a classic in the history
of the cattle industry, so this volume may well fill an important void
in the social history of the Southwest.
Eve Ball's familiarity with New Mexico and its people no doubt
enabled her to produce this important study. Having secured a mas-
ter's degree from the University of Kansas and taught school on the
plains, she moved to the beautiful Ruidoso country of the Southwest.
An interest in history naturally led her to seek out those surviving
pioneers who helped settle the region. Not only Anglos but also
Spanish-Americans and Apache Indians provided her with the infor-
mation out of which several articles and a brief book grew. One of
those to whom she talked was Sam Jones, who in describing his own
background portrayed the courage and resourcefulness of his mother.
Interviews with several of Sam's brothers and an examination of avail-
able published and documentary materials led to the writing of this
Few western historians have made such expert use of oral history
as Mrs. Ball. Frequently the book reads like a novel with dialogue
playing as important a role as narrative in carrying the story. Col-
loquial language adds color; and carefully drawn sketches of the fam-
ily, their acquaintances, and the major figures in Lincoln County
provide a degree of intimacy seldom found in historical works. That
the resulting tale is believable and deeply moving demonstrates just
how effective these techniques can be.
As usual the University of Arizona Press has produced an excellent
book. Superior design and typography add to its general quality as do
well-selected photographs of the Joneses. It is to be hoped that the
press will make Mrs. Ball's volume available in paperback, so that an
even larger number of readers will have the opportunity to see it.
Anyone who does will have a better understanding of life in terri-
torial New Mexico.
Western Illinois University
LAWRENCE R. MURPHY
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/460/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.