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Best living western nonfiction writers can be found at NMSU

New Mexico State University emeritus faculty members Charles Harris and Louis Sadler have been named the best living, western, non-fiction writers by "True West" magazine's "2010 Best of the West" source book.

New Mexico State University emeritus history professors Louis Sadler (left) and Charles Harris (right) were named the best living, western, non-fiction writers by "True West" magazine's "2010 Best of the West" source book. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Both emeritus professors in the Department of History at NMSU, Harris and Sadler were recognized for the "Best of the West" title for their work on the books "The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910-1920" and "The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920.

"This was a happy surprise," said Sadler, "You don't get too many of those. It was a nice Christmas present and a nice compliment."

The pair based the book "The Secret War in El Paso" on archives, spending years researching 80,000 declassified documents from the FBI and Mexican secret agent reports from the Mexican Revolution. The book describes the conspiracy and spying of the Mexican Revolution that took place in El Paso housing revolutionists, adventurers, smugglers, gunrunners, counterfeiters, propagandists, secret agents, double agents, criminals and confidence men.

"Most writers don't consider the Mexican component, usually only one perspective is shown. We looked at documents in which the FBI and Mexican consulates were reporting on each other which gave a balanced view of what went on," said Harris.

Harris and Sadler also co-wrote the book "The Archaeologist was a Spy: Sylvanus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence." Their collaboration on "The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution," gained them the Western Writers of America Spur Award in 2005 and the T.R. Fehrenbach Award from the Texas Historical Commission.

"We write for the fun of it. There is nothing riding on our writing, there is no competing, no promoting, no campaigning, just writing," Sadler said.

The "True West" publication is a monthly magazine relating history back to the present day to show readers the important role that heritage plays in keeping the spirit of the West alive during everyday travels and adventures out West. This is the eighth year in which "True West" has published their annual shopping guide, the "Best of the West Source Book."