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David Weber, Dedman emeritus, first-person accounts of sites explore history, identity of the West in new book First Impressions

Albuquerque Journal

Originally Posted: September 25, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico has a prominent and deserved presence in the newly released book “First Impressions: A Reader’s Journey to Iconic Places of the American Southwest.”

That prominence is marked by the fact that seven of the 15 places referenced in the book are in the state. The seven have imbued New Mexico with its recognizable enchantment ——Santa Fe, Acoma Pueblo, Zuni Pueblo, Carlsbad Caverns, Chaco Canyon, El Morro/Inscription Rock and the Taos Valley; the latter is really three iconic sites in one —— Taos Pueblo, the town of Taos and Ranchos de Taos.

As you can see, in this context “place” is broadly defined. Likewise, the meaning of book’s title. “First Impressions” refers to the initial recorded opinions of Hispanics and Anglos about the Native peoples and the startling, exceptional landscape they encountered over the centuries.

The authors are historians David J. Weber and William deBuys. They worked on the book sequentially. DeBuys completed the task started by Weber, who died in 2010.

Author David J. Weber

“Before he died, he had basically collected the first-person (historical) accounts, the first impressions that were relevant to each of the 15 sites,” deBuys said in a phone interview from his home in El Valle.