Reviews

Publishers Weekly Review

John Nichols Review

John Nichols Review

“The Gallup 14 is a fascinating ‘true’ novel about a time of passion and great interest and importance in New Mexico. It is written with verve, and has an amazing control of complex details. The courtroom drama had me on the edge of my seat; I couldn’t stop turning pages. Gary Stuart has created a memorable, thrilling, and also compassionate book about his home town, filled with insights to our rich and often traumatic history. I learned a lot and had great fun doing so.”

John Nichols
October 28, 1999

Tony Hillerman Review

Tony Hillerman Review

In the dark days at the rock bottom of the Great American Depression, something very dangerous, and very important, happened in the coalfields of Gallup, New Mexico. It involved rioting and murder, and culminated in a tense court drama, but no one knows about it. Gary Stuart has finally filled that gap in our history with The Gallup 14.

Tony Hillerman
September 15, 1999

Octavia Fellin Review

Octavia Fellin Review

“The Gallup 14 is a compelling tale of a bleak event in the history of Gallup and New Mexico in the 1930’s.  As the story unfolds Gary Stuart shows his keen understanding of the law and of human nature in a clear, enlightening and dramatic manner. We Gallup citizens, who lived through this Gallup riot and subsequent trial, have our own impressions, but Stuart brings these events in focus in a masterful story. This novel should be on everyone’s reading list for its insightful slice of social, racial and class Americana.”

Octavia Fellin
November 5, 1999

Peter Baird Review

Peter Baird Review

“With the detail of an historian, the insight of a trial lawyer, and the authenticity of a native son, Gary Stuart powerfully recreates the deadly riot in Gallup New Mexico that erupted from the racism, Greed and economic desperation of 1935 and that, for sixty years, left persistent questions unanswered, until now. A rich and rewarding read.”

Peter Baird, Esq.

UNM Press Review

UNM Press Review

It was April 1935 and Gallup, New Mexico, along with the rest of the nation, was in the depths of the Great Depression. The fear generated by economic collapse fueled suspicion of Communists, unions, immigrants ,and anyone who disrupted the status quo. In Gallup, a misleading calm hid decades-old racial and class tensions that erupted in violence and death when the largely Mexican population of coal miners were evicted from homes that they believed they owned.

Gary Stuart brings to life depression-era Gallup, the Old West mentality of its law enforcement, the pride and anguish of the unemployed miners, and the susrprising outcome of a trail that most citizens expected to result in speedy convictions and death penalties. Based on actual testimony, affadavits, and transcripts, and newspaper clippings, the factual account is enhanced by imagined characters and dialogues. The result is a dramatic story of a watershed legal event in New Mexico history.

Gary L. Stuart is a lawyer in private practice in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Albuquerque Journal Review by Carolyn Appleman. March 19, 2000

“The Gallup 14”

A Novel by

Gary L. Stuart

Politics in New Mexico can be a can of worms, a squirmy mess of suspicion, coercion and blatant abuse of power. And, sometimes, people in the way end up bankrupt, dead, or worse, in a desert jail in the mid-1930’s.

In The Gallup 14, author Gary Stuart takes a little known part of New Mexico’s political history and brings it to life. Stuart weaves a fictional story in and out of a real-life event. He tells the tale through the eyes of local lawyer Billy Wade and his girlfriend-schoolteacher, Mary Ann Shaughnessy, and in her conversations with her diary, Madame Journal.

One can smell the dusty, sooty smell that hung over Chihuahuaita, the camp set up by Mexican strikebreakers during the labor strike of 1917. With a coal strike under way, and a labor union with communist backing holding the mines hostage, Gallup was a power keg. All that was needed was a spark and the town was going to blow.

A riot explodes when a local senator buys the shantytown out from under the striking mine workers, sends out eviction notices and some of the Chihuahuaita evicted residents go to jail.

In an alley where the evicted are being escorted to jail, seven people are wounded; two left for dead and the longtime Sheriff “Mack” Carmichael is killed by a rioter’s bullets. But whose?

Law enforcement rounds up the striking Chihuahuaita miners and sends them to a jail in cattle cars. Fourteen immigrants are initially charged in the murder of the sheriff and three go to trial.

Stuart uses court records and newspaper clips of the 1934 murder trial to put readers in the front-row seat in Judge McGhee’s courtroom. One can see state-appointed defense lawyers Hugh Woodward and John Simms facing the prosecution team of J.R. “Dick” Modrall, Frank Patton and David Chavez. When the verdict is read, not only are the accused on the edge of their seats, so is the reader.

The Gallup 14 is a powerful tale of racism, exploitation, labor union politics, and a legal system charged with somehow finding justice.

The book is a must for New Mexico history buffs and for fiction lovers.

 

The Albuquerque Journal, March 19, 2000

Review by Carolyn Appleman

The Gallup Independent Review by Sally Noe. March 11, 2000

“The Gallup 14”

A Novel by

Gary L. Stuart

 

GALLUP — Before opening Gary L. Stuart’s newest publication, “The Gallup 14,” I paused to think about the passage of time since April of 1935. Memories of scattered incidents during the two-year road to riot and murder have nagged at me periodically for 67 years. How might Gary, who grew up in Gallup, treat a long buried riot and murder trial that happened four years before he was born?

I already knew the book was a novel. Novels mean imaginary characters involved in a particular historic episode. Certainly the most prolonged and violent labor confrontation in the history of New Mexico and the resulting trial could be a setting for great fiction. Thinking “The Gallup 14” wold be another romant9icized New Mexico mystery, filled with authors license, some fact, and a lot of fiction, I opened the book to the first page, surprisingly titled, “The Author’s Disclaimer.” To my delight my original thoughts were totally wrong.

“The Gallup 14” is a real mystery sprinkled with the speculation of fiction. Gary’s book is an accurate account of a series of real happenings in a real town; a strike, a riot, a trial. No names have been changed “to protect the innocent.”

The real town IS Gallup; filled with neighborhoods of real people who participate in real actions resulting in real murders and real harassment raging through the community. The real trial in another community is before a real judge appointed by the state. The real jury decision is based on the equally real testimony7 found in the court records of San Juan County and transcribed by Eve Ellen Sabin, court reporter of McKinley County.

Well documented in the legal records and newspaper reports, the author has also drawn upon the vivid memories and experiences of still living local friends and family. These recollections add a local flavor to reality and speculation through out the book.

All is not reality. Fiction is found within behind closed-door conversations of the multiple attorneys. The author also incorporates two fictional personalities into the fabric of documentary evidence. Billy Wade, an attorney, and Mary Ann Shaughnessy, a Gallup High School teacher, exchanged questions and observations between themselves.

While the fictional attorney discusses legal points, his co-observer keeps a personal journal to record her thoughts and attitudes toward the developing court proceedings. The two viewpoints become a most interesting analysis of the societal reality of the trial.

The 1935 Gallup wanted no more to do with the National Guard occupation and aftermath as had happened only two years before. Community wide reaction to the riot and killing of Sheriff Carmichael was immediate. For the second time in two years Gallup once again an armed camp. This time it was the hastily appointed Sheriff’s deputies and self appointed vigilantes that would terrorize certain areas of the community. As over a hundred suspects were quickly rounded up, news hurled across the telegraph wires to national labor organizations, the ACLU, the State of New Mexico and major newspapers around the country. The State of New Mexico marshaled its legal forces to immediately send representatives for both sides into Gallup.

The New Mexico Supreme Court in Santa Fe, closer than New York, issued an immediate statement concerning all the accused, “. . .these men are New Mexicans. The governor and this court want New Mexicans to defend its own.” (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico, Judge A.L. Zinn. Pg. 76).

The best legal minds in the state were now a part of the proceedings. National, state, area and the Gallup Independent newspapers prepared to cover the complete story. The trial began on Oct. 5, 1935.

Long time residents of Gallup as well as numbers of people in New Mexico will recognize the names. More recent arrivals are introduced to all participants–from governors to the most insignificant witness.

The Gallup riot that exploded on April 4, 1935 didn’t begin directly with a mine owners/workers confrontation. It all began over a little adobe house built for his family by an unemnployed miner, Victor Campos.

“The Gallup 14” is no literary or TV fabrication for merely an evenings entertainment. Reality and fiction are combined in a very persuasive mixture. It you enjoy mystery, court proceedings, Gallup history, constitutional issues, New Mexico history, or questionable political maneuvers, or social issues this is a book for you. Don’t miss “The Gallup 14” by Gary L. Stuart.

The Independent

Saturday, March 11, 2000
By Sally Noe
Special to the Independent

Note: Sally Noe is a retired educator and historian who has lived in Gallup most of her life.