Frontier Cavalry Trooper (University of New Mexico Press, $55)

frontier-calvary-trooper-douglas-mcchristianFrontier Cavalry Trooper: The Letters of Private Eddie Matthews, 1869-1874, edited by Douglas C. McChristian, is a rarity amidst the books, diaries and journals written by soldiers who served in the West after 1865.

Since most of the enlisted ranks were made up of illiterate Irish and German immigrants, few records from their viewpoint were left for posterity.

Private Eddie Matthews is an exception. His insightful letters paint an engaging and riveting account of daily life in garrison and in the field in New Mexico and Arizona Territories, recording events as they happened; they are not reminiscences clouded by time and faded memories.

McChristian has done an excellent job of editing and adding helpful commentary to introduce each chapter. I highly recommend Frontier Cavalry Trooper for anyone wanting a comprehensive history of the enlisted soldier in the Frontier Army.

Marshall Trimble, author of Arizona: A Cavalcade of History

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at