Historians know that they need sympathetic understanding of the lives they are examining, but also that no one can tell them how or where to find it.
Who is telling it true, half-true, or down and dirty? In surmounting this obstacle, David Johnson offers a tightly-written, fearless look at the bloody “Horrell War” in New Mexico in The Horrell Wars: Feuding in Texas and New Mexico (University of North Texas Press, $24.95), and opens many of the formerly closed doors of the equally murderous Horrell-Higgins feud (and its aftermath) in Texas. As you read it, you’ll find yourself wondering: would these reckless men (and women) be surprised by how much we know now, or—perhaps, inevitably—how much we still don’t know?
–Frederick Nolan, author of Bad Blood: The Life and Times of the Horrell Brothers