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The Milagro Beanfield War

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Overview

Joe Mondragon, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began-though few knew it at the time-the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to ...

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The Milagro Beanfield War: A Novel

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Overview

Joe Mondragon, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began-though few knew it at the time-the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to rally to Joe's beanfield as the symbol of their lost rights and their lost lands. And downstate in the capital, the Anglo water barons and power brokers huddle in urgent conference, intent on destroying that symbol before it destroys their multimillion-dollar land-development schemes. The tale of Milagro's rising is wildly comic and lovingly tender, a vivid portrayal of a town that, half-stumbling and partly prodded, gropes its way toward its own stubborn salvation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gentle, funny, transcent." —The New York Times Book Review
Cleveland Plain Dealer
A whollyfirst-rate comic novel.
Seattle Times
A fine, zesty novel ... compassionate, affectionate, and exciting as buman cussedness can make it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805063745
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Series: New Mexico Trilogy , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 145,251
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 10.54 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Nichols's New Mexico Trilogy, inaugurated in 1974 with the publication of The Milagro Beanfield War, has grown from regional stature to national appeal, from literary radicals to cult classics. Beloved for his compassionate, richly comic vision and admired for his insight into the cancer that accompanies unbridled progress, Nichols is the author of nine novels and six works of nonfiction. He lives in northern New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Totally amazing. Totally amazing

    I relive my childhood when I read this (Yes. I have to read it every so often to get my sense of perspective back.)

    I grew up in rural New Mexico and I know these people and the events. They are real and they are true. I laugh; I cry; my heart goes out to the villagers and I am totally on their side! This is a wonderful book. It is so much more than a story line, and all that detail is there for a reason. Just read it and love it.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Readable, funny, comfort zone, class war.

    I wanted to read this for a long time and I finally started and could not put it down, all 600 pages?!? I liked the names Amarante Cordova, Joe Mondragon and they were great characters. There are even animals a perhaps reincarnated cat and a pig that is a royal pain in the neck. And the unforgetable Herbie Goldfarb.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    Little peons win!

    seond time I've read the book. The character descriptions are the best I've ever read..but with the people he writes about how could you miss on this book. It's hilarious, does make you laugh out loud..particularly liked the one inning ballgame and the rodeo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2004

    Developers vs. poor farmers

    This Rabelaisian novel tells the story of poor northern New Mexico farmars confronting the modern age, represented by developers and large scale farming. The simply country folk stand to gain no advantage from the new developments, and their water rights have already been taken from them 30 years prior by large-scale farmers in the south of the state. So when one farmer, Joe Mondragon, dares to rebel and irrigate his field, all hell breaks loose. The humour which densely fills the novel acquires a Keystone Kops aspect after a while; also, the novels is filled with a menagerie of animals and insects, since in these country folks' lives, animals play a large role. Practically the only thing the animals don't do is talk. Predictably, in the end the different loyalties result in armed conflict, but the novel is best noted for its country humour which is pervasive, but Nichols can also be a talented writer when he writes seriously or semi-seriously as he does in describing fly fishing for trout. I have also read 'Nirvana Blues' which is this novel's sequel and which is an updated version of the same themes set 10 years later. Like its predecessor, 'Nirvana' has a slapstick quality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2003

    I don't want to finish it

    I'm at the end of the book and I don't want to finish. It's the only book that has made me laugh out loud in a long time. Everything in the book from the Smokey the Bear riots to Onofre's missing arm is important to the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    Excellent Characters!

    I loved the detailed characters in this story. They provided not only comic relief at times but also were the foundations of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2002

    Could be better

    Nichols takes too much time explaining where people came from. the book is drawn out useless parts abound. The point of the story is murky and the ending leaves something to be desired. It's around 450 pages, however the story could be told in half that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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