Sunday, December 9, 2012

Juan Patrón: A Fallen Star in the Days of Billy the Kid by Paul L. Tsompanas

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment.  What it is, truthfully, is a land of historical significance.  My husband and I enjoy visiting historical sites and reading about the people who lived in there in the past.  We have been to Lincoln and Ft. Stanton several times, but I don't recall seeing a thing about Juan Patron.  That's why I was drawn to this book.

Belle Isle Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can buy a copy from them now.

New Mexico was one of the last states to form, joining the US in 1912.  It began as a lightly populated state with Indians, Mexicans, and a few white settlers.  Cattle and horse rustling were common events.  Often it was the ranchers who stole from each other.  They hired guns to protect themselves and their stock.  This was really a piece of the wild west in the 1800's.

Kit Carson was here, Swedish and English immigrants moved in, Catholic priests wielded power and influence, and the natives fought for their own land and goods.

Juan Patron ended up under the wing of a Catholic priest who educated him and taught him to speak English. Juan was a young man who wanted to help his family, his people, and the area he lived in.  He began as a local politician and did very well at it.  Unfortunately he managed to get in the middle of the Lincoln County War.

This war was an argument between store/ranch owners.  It was a tragedy in many ways.  No one was without fault.  Many men died.  And the grudges and threats from the past never ended.

The story of Juan's life is fascinating.  He had a plan, he worked towards his goals and he had a good life.  He just managed to get caught up in alcohol one night like so many others.  One bad judgement call caught up with him.  He should not be a forgotten piece of history.  He accomplished a lot, stopped a lot of bloodshed, and did a lot of good in his short life. 

If you have an interest in local history or like biographies about interesting people, you'll enjoy this book.  It's your chance to meet a hidden part of history that shows Patron's influence on Lincoln and other southern cities.

I don't usually read non-fiction, but I enjoyed this.

Happy reading.      

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