Campus: CSU Stanislaus -- October 17, 2005

History Professor Wins 'Best Book of the Year' Award

California State University, Stanislaus History Professor Nancy Taniguchi won the "Best Book of the Year Award" from the Utah State Historical Society for her book Castle Valley, America: Hard Land, Hard-won Home.

Her new book, which was published in 2004, covers the historical events of Castle Valley, Utah, and reveals how they relate to American history.

Castle Valley, located in the counties of Carbon and Emery, is a rural, industrial enclave in a mostly desert environment behind the mountain range that borders eastern Utah. It is also known for its multiethnic communities and historic characters such as Butch Cassidy, who stole its largest payroll, and Mother Jones, who helped organize workers against mining companies.

In her book, Taniguchi tells the story of the people of Castle Valley who experienced poverty, labor disputes, major mining disasters and other challenges to build communities. It reveals how such hardships reflect the historical course of the nation's growth as a whole.

"This book took me 25 years to research and seven years to write, so I am extremely gratified that it has been well-received," Taniguchi said.

The award was presented to Taniguchi at the Utah State Historical Society's annual conference in Salt Lake City. Taniguchi's book was nominated by the Utah State University Press and outranked 14 other nominations for the quality of its research.

Taniguchi said she wanted to integrate local history with global history because of her belief that many historical events occur at the same time and are interrelated.

"I hope to use my book in my American West Class to show how local history can tell a larger story," Taniguchi said.

Taniguchi earned her Ph.D. and master's degree in History from the University of Utah and her bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. She has been teaching and researching for 17 years at CSU Stanislaus and volunteers as an archivist for Peruvian Studies at the University.

Taniguchi published her first book Necessary Fraud: Progressive Reform and Utah Coal (Legal History of North America) in 1996 and is currently working on two books about the history of California.

Contact:
Don Hansen, 209-667-3997


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