Copyright 2014. Robert J. Alvarado Books. All rights reserved.
The author begins with a preface detailing the castration and shooting of two Mexican men by ruthless and rowdy cowboys - an excellent start to grab the reader's attention from the onset!
This is the true story of a brave man named Elfego Baca whose gunfight should have gone down in the history books as one of the greats of all time, even surpassing that of the O.K. Coral fight involving Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holiday against the Clanton and McLaury Brothers.
Elfego Baca singlehandedly fought and avoided being shot during this 4,000-bullet gun battle against 80 Texas cowboys using only a small shack for shelter. So why hasn't much been written in the history books about this courageous man who sought to stop the injustice during the late 1880s? If truth be told, it is most likely because he was considered a "Mexican" and his story was not considered important by mainstream America.
The author does a fantastic job of providing the reader with enough historical background of how the state of Texas and New Mexico became part of the United States and also detailing the atmosphere of prejudice and biases against people of color during that time - especially for Mexican and Spanish U.S. citizens. In addition, he does a magnificent job of providing the reader with a chronological history of how the Spaniards conquered the Americas (Cortez and other explorers of that time). This gives insight into Elfego Baca's ancestral lineage to the Vaca/Baca clan and possibly to his bravery and risk taking. In this history book, the author further details some of the Spaniard practices such as the importance of baptismal priests and the corruption that existed within this practice, as well as the bigotries amongst the Spaniard's own society; Penisulares versus Criolles versus Mestizos and how these inequalities possibly carried on over to new generations.
The author's purpose was to provide historical data and light to the life of the man named Elfego Baca and who just happened to be of Mexican and Spanish ancestry. It is a story that should be in history books today, but has been selectively omitted. The book is written in historical sequence; however, the author makes the book exciting and it is easy to read. The author's intent was to provide both a historical perspective, but yet to give insight into this one man's life who was very much a part of American history. The photographs included, also provide the reader with a good perspective on life during the time of Elfego Baca.
The intended audience is both for young adults and adults. The writing style leans more to a formal approach; however, it is sprinkled with so much interesting facts and history that it reads like a novel. If the author was trying to engage the reader to read about persons who contributed to the development of this nation, then he achieved his goal. The theme was about the old west and the bravery of one man and the author did a good job of carrying this throughout the book. The book is very nicely done and I would recommend it to anyone who likes American history and wants to be better informed about the contribution of all people that helped make this nation great.
Reviewed by Corina Martinez Chaudhry, The Latino Author, December 2013, www.thelatinoauthor.com/reviews