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The Great Taos Bank Robbery: And Other True Stories of the Southwest Paperback – October 2, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This collection is the essence of Hillerman, which is always instructive fun." -- --New Mexican --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tony Hillerman (1925–2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children’s books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group’s Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction’s Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (October 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937126
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tony Hillerman was the former president of the Mystery Writers of America and received its Edgar® and Grand Master awards. His other honors include the Center for the American Indian's Ambassador Award, the Silver Spur Award for the best novel set in the West, and the Navajo Tribe's Special Friend Award. He lived with his wife in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Readers expecting Leaphorn and Chee will be disappointed -- but this is a wonderful book, a collection of essays from Hillerman's journalist days. He neatly skewers Indian-wannabes in "The Navajo Who Had So Many Friends ...," although "The Messenger Birds" and the piece on Mt. Taylor prove (as if we didn't know it already) that he's highly sensitive to the Native American point of view. And although the hilarious title story is mostly of historical interest in today's post-hippie Taos, it'll strike a responsive chord with anyone who's spent time in rural NM. The essay on Reies Tijerina elucidates the (still) sore point of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and its land-grant repercussions ... and yes, we do still have bubonic plague here, although in the era of antibiotics it's not the threat it was in medieval Europe. For someone who wants a sense of what New Mexico is REALLY all about, I recommend this as far and away the best book on the subject (a good runner-up is Stan Crawford's "Majordomo").
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Dutra on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this after hearing Tony read a few passages at a lecture. The book is a series of essays Tony wrote as his Masters Thesis at the University of New Mexico. They are true tales of New Mexico, but told only as Tony, one of America's greatest yarn spinners can. Most, in particular the "unfeloneous unbankrobbery" in the title essay will have you holding your sides, while at the same time learning something about the unique culture of the Land of Enchantment. Highly recommended as well is Tony's autobiography "Seldom Disappointed".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Chase on September 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
This was a fun read about the many different faces of New Mexico. Short stories that can be read in a single sitting. The stories cover the quirky people to the scientific discoveries that are mostly set in New Mexico.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on November 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Great Taos Bank Robbery would have occurred on November 11, 1957, except the bank was closed for Veterans Day. Thus it seems appropriate to write this review tonight in the hopes that it will post on November 12th, the actual date when the robbery did not occur. Tony Hillerman makes a convincing case for the bank robbery, noting the unique elements that one of the male malefactors was dressed as a woman, that the robbers waited in line with courtesy and patience, and that the getaway vehicle was borrowed from a local resident. Actual shots were fired at the minister, but this was after the robbers left the bank where the robbery did not occur. A three day manhunt ensued, during which time some of the residents bought the robbers groceries or otherwise fed them. Hillerman equates the Great Taos Bank Robbery of 1957 with the equally Great Taos Flood of 1935, noting that Taos does not have a river and receives very little rain. Hillerman's handling of this true crime narrative is masterly, but the reader is advised to proceed with caution as it is possible to hurt oneself laughing.

So begins an excellent little guidebook to the Four Corners region of America. Some of these little essays are somber "The Very Heart of Our Country" about the Navajos return to their homeland. Another one "We All Fall Down" is scary, detailing the propensity for the Black Death to stalk the region every few years.

Tony Hillerman died on Oct 26, 2008. This review is posted by a grateful fan. Because of his writings, I was inspired to make several visits to New Mexico and Arizona to see the landscapes he writes about. Thanks for the memories, Tony!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Robertson on August 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
True stories written with Hillerman's quiet humor -- the New Mexico that was before the Yuppies turned it into Starbuck's Central and a New Mexico that still exists in quiet corners of a wonderful state. The tales are best read one or two at a time and savored. A great gift for lovers of New Mexico, the genuine Old West or an Easterner interesting in learning about the land that lies beyond the traffic jams.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darrel Drumm on December 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether the story was funny or serious, these short stories were slices of New Mexican life that otherwise might have been lost. Hillerman includes science, history, politics, geography and other slices of the state. My favorite was, oh I didn't have a favorite, they were all good. Included are 8 small 2 page articles at the end of each short story that, for the most part, don't have anything to do with the short story they are paired with. They are named:
1 The Navaho who had so many friends he couldn't get any wire strung.
2 The mountain on the guardrail at MP 164B.
3 The messenger birds.
4 The Apache who wouldn't be missed.
5 How Quemado got Quemado.
6 Black Jack Ketchum and the sixteen faithful bartenders.
7 The committee and the mule deer.
8 Keeping secrets from the Russians.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tara McCauley on October 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you have spent ANY time in New Mexico (or a lifetime like me), there is a Favor & Life Style here that is Unique. With the Modern World slithering in & changing everything, this book is a Wonderful Testament to the way things used to be. If you are here for any length of time you may still experience some of the conditions & Personalities described, but like the Roswell Aliens, they can be difficult to find. If you have no sense of Humor, don't read this-try the daily paper.
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