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Book review: “Came Men on Horses” by Stan Hoig

The late Stan Hoig's last book, “Came Men on Horses: The Conquistador Expeditions of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and Don Juan Onate,” was published posthumously through the yeoman efforts of his wife, Pat Hoig.
BY PAUL R. LEHMAN Published: March 3, 2013
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“Most of us have been trained early in our school years to see certain historical figures in a purified, heroic sense,” said Stan Hoig in his last book, published posthumously through the yeoman efforts of his wife, Pat Hoig.

The book is “Came Men on Horses: The Conquistador Expeditions of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and Don Juan de Onate” (University Press of Colorado, $34.95). The book is organized into three major parts, each containing numerous experiences encountered by Coronado or Onate: Part One, The Coronado Expedition; Part Two, Post-Coronado Incursions; Part Three, The Onate Expedition.

The book's format gives the reader the choice to proceed in chronological order or by episode. The text reads like a narrative and keeps the reader's interest in the action. Careful attention is paid to factual accuracy, however. Hoig gives the reader a virtual treasure-trove of historical information in a variety of ways — narrative, research references and illustrations.

For early American history buffs, this book is a must, and for the general reader, it offers a deeper look into stories of our early American history. Hoig presents us with a perspective unlike the ones given during our early school years.

He reminds us that “in adult life we must recognize the inherent danger of closing our minds to the full, sometimes ugly, truth of the past. History, unlike fiction, cannot be manipulated to reach a single, pleasing, but false conclusion.”

— Paul R. Lehman