In 1960, renowned Nevada writer Robert Laxalt moved himself and his family to a small Basque village in the French Pyrenees. The son of Basque emigrants, Laxalt wanted to learn as much as he could about the ancient and mysterious people from which he was descended and about the country from which his parents came. Thanks to his Basque surname and a wide network of family connections, Laxalt was able to penetrate the traditional reserve of the Basques in a way that outsiders rarely can. In the process, he gained rare insight into the nature of the Basques and the isolated, beautiful mountain world where they have lived for uncounted centuries. Based on Laxalt's personal journals of this and a later sojourn in 1965, The Land of My Fathers is a moving record of a people and their homeland. Through Laxalt's perceptive eyes and his wife Joyce's photographs, we observe the Basques' market days and festivals, join their dove hunts and harvests, share their humor and history, their deep sense of nationalism, their abiding pride in their culture and their homes, and discover the profound sources of the Basques' strength and their endurance as a people. Photography by Joyce Laxalt.
Robert Laxalt grew up in Carson City, Nevada. He attended Santa Clara University in California and later graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno. He joined the staff of the University of Nevada in 1954, serving first as director of News and Publications and later as director of the University of Nevada Press, which he founded. He was named a Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor and was the first occupant of the Distinguished Nevada Author Chair. The author of seventeen books and many national magazine articles, his work has received international critical acclaim. He lived in Washoe Valley until his death in 2001.