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The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
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The Milagro Beanfield War (original 1974; edition 2000)

by John Nichols (Author), Rini Templeton (Illustrator)

Series: New Mexico Trilogy (1)

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1,1291917,450 (4.13)45
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

The Milagro Beanfield War is the first book in John Nichols's New Mexico Trilogy ("Gentle, funny, transcendent." â??The New York Times Book Review)
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.… (more)

Member:bherner
Title:The Milagro Beanfield War
Authors:John Nichols (Author)
Other authors:Rini Templeton (Illustrator)
Info:Owl Books (2000), 456 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:New Mexico, hispanics, politics

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The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols (1974)

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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I remember this book more than I do many others, so it must have left an impression ( )
  LGCullens | Jun 1, 2021 |
I thought this was an awful book. I know it's considered a great book. I had a reading guide and led the book group on this book. I tried so hard to like it but I really didn't even know what to say when I led the group. Other members really liked it and helped me out. Thank you! I appreciate the story and it is sad. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
In a New Mexico valley the power is held by one man and his company. Over the years Ladd Devine’s family has manipulated the indigenous peasant farmers, securing the majority of water rights for his proposed golf course / spa retreat while leaving the original residents with arid land, unsuitable for farming, or even grazing. So he’s been able to buy out the poor farmers securing more and more land and leaving less water for those that remain. Until one day Joe Mondragon decides to cut a break in the wall and divert water onto his late father’s field, so he can plant some beans.

I've had this book on my TBR "radar" for a bajillion years and I don't know why I waited so long to read it. I really liked it a lot! The quirky characters, the message, the humor, the pathos, and the landscape all made this an especially moving book for me. I could not help but think of my grandparents - we always referred to their property as a "dirt farm" - dirt being their most reliable crop. They were on their ranch / farm well into their 80s ... even after my grandfather had two strokes. He just got up and kept caring for the animals, tending the orchards, repairing the truck, doing whatever it took to keep on living.

So thank you, PBT Trim the TBR for finally giving me the "push" I needed to get to this gem of a novel. I can hardly wait to read it again!

If I have any complaint about the book, it’s about this edition’s AFTERWARD, where the author begins with: Actually, I’ve sort of had it with THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR. and goes on to explain how distressed he is that this is the only book people seem to remember him for rather all his other works, some of which he believes are superior. But my disappointment with his little tantrum doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book itself. ( )
  BookConcierge | Dec 12, 2019 |
Not a horrible book, but not very good either. Nichols was trying way too hard to be cute/clever when he wrote and, mostly, does not pull it off. The book reminds me of two others that were written about the same time: The Monkeywrench Gang and A Confederacy of Dunces. Both of the latter books were much funnier, gave a better cultural perspective of what was happening in their little corners of the world, and were infinitely more fun and easier to read. I spent this past summer working in the same area that Nichols talks about (northern New Mexico), but I don't feel that The book was particularly insightful regarding the culture, even though he prattles on for some 450 pages. I'll not be finishing the trilogy.... ( )
1 vote untraveller | Nov 3, 2016 |
After Marquez's Macondo, Milagro might be my favorite town-as-character in any book I've ever read. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
Yet if I am for myself only, what am I?
~ Hillel
Dedication
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Many people in the Miracle Valley had theories about why Joe MondragĂłn did it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

The Milagro Beanfield War is the first book in John Nichols's New Mexico Trilogy ("Gentle, funny, transcendent." â??The New York Times Book Review)
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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