History is best as historical fiction, I often think. Even such history as Mr. Perea recounts here. The events between between 1944 to 1977 are surprising and more numerous than I imagined. While I am familiar with many of the events and personages of New Mexico, and of Albuquerque, from living the last 43 years of my life here, Ronn Perea surprised me with plenty of history I never knew about. The Italian POWs right here next to the zoo. Their replacement with German POWs after Italy was liberated. The guard tower that still stands. The interaction between those prisoners and the citizens of Albuquerque. The spy ring near the old Albuquerque High School. The nuclear test blast visible in the predawn to the south of Albuquerque. Italian pastries and a new winery. Senator Pete Domenici's origins. Bill Gates. JFK's visit here. A concert by Elvis. Albuquerque's own WWII journalist Ernie Pyle. And survivors from the Bataan Death March. Albuquerque's first riot in 1971, following a population increase in the preceding three decades of almost 800 per cent from 40,000 to 315,000 in the metropolitan area. Reies Tijerina's armed raid on the Rio Arriba County courthouse in Tierra Amarilla. Celebrities galore. The filming of Easy Rider here.

It's a lot to cover, and Mr. Perea doesn't delve deeply into all of it, but it's all worth knowing, and you can find more information about all of these historical events online.

Ronn Perea's writing style is simple and accessible to most readers. He makes the past come alive through his retelling of what life was like in Albuquerque during WWII, and after. We follow a couple of families through hardship, hard work, successes, and tragedies. We are there with them.

- Terry Mulcahy

Review Source: https://goodreads.com

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