Sub­texts Don Bullis, au­thor of New Mexico His­tor­i­cal En­cy­clo­pe­dia, dis­cusses his new work at Op.Cit Books

Tome on the range

Pasatiempo - - NEWS -

Don Bullis’ New Mexico His­tor­i­cal En­cy­clo­pe­dia (Río Grande Press) is a fat new book fea­tur­ing de­scrip­tions of more than 700 events and places, start­ing with the Río Abajo and end­ing with Zuzax, a bump in the road east of Al­bu­querque that was named af­ter a lo­cal cu­rio shop. Some en­tries are full of de­tail — the au­thor de­votes five pages to Baca Lo­ca­tion No. 1 (the Valle Grande or Valles Caldera Na­tional Pre­serve, as it is called today) — while oth­ers are lit­tle more than men­tions. Look up “Ghost towns in New Mexico” and you are told there are “far too many to be listed on these pages.” There are en­tries on some ghost towns, but you have to look them up by name — for ex­am­ple, Chlo­ride, Ha­gan, Shake­speare, and Waldo. In his fore­word, Bullis ac­knowl­edges that while the leg­end of Billy the Kid has proven stim­u­lat­ing fod­der for dozens of books and movies, “small at­ten­tion is given to the out­law on these pages, which in the con­text of New Mexico his­tory, is what he de­serves.” But the book is still a wealth of in­for­ma­tion. Look up “San­tos,” and you’ll learn that the area’s early Catholic bish­ops den­i­grated their parish­ioners’ keep­ing of lo­cally pro­duced, wooden paint­ings (retab­los) and carved fig­ures (bul­tos) of saints. There is an en­try on the coy­ote and its char­ac­ter in Navajo mythol­ogy, but there is no ar­ti­cle on the road­run­ner. But there are plenty of en­tries that in­vite ex­plo­ration, among them the Aubry-Weight­man Duel, Fort Nasty, and the for­got­ten 19th-cen­tury “road ranches” that were known for their saloons, broth­els, and out­law pa­trons. Bullis dis­cusses and signs copies of New Mexico His­tor­i­cal En­cy­clo­pe­dia at 1 p.m. Satur­day, May 14, at Op.Cit Books in the DeVar­gas Cen­ter (157 Paseo de Per­alta, 505-428-0321). — Paul Wei­de­man

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