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NMSU archivist's book touted as one of New Mexico's best

New Mexico State University archivist Martha Shipman Andrews's book "The Whole Damned World: New Mexico Aggies at War 1941-1945" has been selected as one of New Mexico's 100 Best Books.

Dean of Engineering Daniel B. Jett. (NMSU photo)

The list was created by the New Mexico Book Co-op to honor the top 100 best books as part of the New Mexico Centennial, which is coming up in 2012.

"I can't quite get my head around being on a list with Willa Cather and Tony Hillerman," said Andrews, "I am surprised, amazed, honored and humbled. It's an incredible list."

"The Whole Damned World" was edited by Andrews and it consists of 250 letters written to NMSU Dean of Engineering Daniel B. Jett by former students serving in all branches of services and every theater of World War II. The entire collection of 5,000 letters is held by the Archives and Special Departments of the NMSU Library.

"It is the most rewarding project I've ever been involved in. It reveals a part of New Mexico history that hadn't been told and the love these young men had for the university," Andrews said.

The stories found in the letters range from everyday stories to engineering problems.

"It struck me how much these kids loved Dean Jett, he was a mentor and always full of advice for them. Dean Jett wrote back and the fact that we can bring these stories to the public is a great opportunity to learn about our own history," Andrews said.

"The Whole Damned World" was previously awarded the New Mexico History Book Award, the first-ever Best New Mexico Book Award and the Caliente Award from Reading New Mexico. For information visit http://nmbookcoop.com/Projects/Best-Books/Best-Books.html. "The Whole Damned World" is available at local bookstores and online at Amazon.com. For more information, contact Andrews at 575-646-5028 or mandrews@lib.nmsu.edu.