Historian Marc Simmons is already a favourite among scholars, students, Hispanophiles, and borderland enthusiasts for his careful, readable histories of the American Southwest. In the twelve essays collected in here, the author's topical, in-depth approach to New Mexico's colonial period is skilfully deployed. His original research and unique insights transform New Mexico's colonial history into an engaging story of real people and the real events that shaped their lives - a true journey of discovery. Simmons finds in the commonplace moments of everyday life ways to place the reader fully within the realities of the past. Immersion in details permits us to understand the behaviour and character of a people and the true tenor of their times: how the average person lived and played, how he or she made economic choices, how worship and religious concerns were integrated into daily life. The book covers such topics as the Pueblo Revolt, New Mexico sheep and cattle ranching, Spanish irrigation practices, the settlement of Albuquerque, the smallpox epidemic of 1780-81, and the Feast of St. John. The society and economy of the upper Rio Grande were complex and richly textured, and the people who sustained themselves there became resilient and stoic, fashioning their own formulas for survival and forever impacting the directions taken by history's currents.
Marc Simmons is considered New Mexico's Historian Laureate and has published over forty books on New Mexico history. Simmons is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1993 the King of Spain granted him membership in the knightly Order of Isabela la Catolica for his contributions to Spanish colonial history. He resides in Cerrillos, New Mexico.