In addition to serving as the Secretary of the Interior for both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations back in the 1960s, Stewart Udall was also an author of books.
In 1963 Udall wrote The Quiet Crisis, a history of environmental conservation in America that made the New York Times bestseller list. He also wrote The Myths of August, about the effects of radiation in this country, and The Energy Balloon, about America’s dependence on oil. But Udall’s literary accomplishments go further than just informing people on the environment.
Udall wrote about Spanish History
While living in Santa Fe Udall wrote To the Inland Empire. The book documented the history of the first settlement in the United States. The book points out the British claim of being this country’s original explorers as false. In fact, the Spanish settled in New Mexico in 1598. The first settlement occurred twenty-two years earlier than the 1620 founding of Plymouth Rock. The author stated: “Historians have twisted the truth about our country’s founding. They’ve depicted the Spanish as a cruel people and worked to diminish all of their great accomplishments. The more I learned about the Spanish during that time I found them to be venturesome and brave sailors. The men were leaders in exploration who traveled inland 1,000 miles on horseback into the country. The British didn’t do that. It’s an outrage that history has been so distorted.”
Doubleday Books published Udall’s book, The Inland Empire, in 1987. Udall had sent a short version of his story, which had been published in Arizona Highways magazine, to Jacqueline Kennedy, who was working at the publishing company as an editor at the time. She liked the work so much that she edited Udall’s book herself. As Udall explained “Jackie came out to visit New Mexico in 1984. I took her on the High Road to Taos, she fell in love with New Mexico.”
Editor Jacqueline Kennedy
Udall also wrote The Forgotten Founders, a book about the people, like the Spanish and the Mormons, who settled the West from San Antonio up through Oregon. The author’s family were Mormons who settled in St. John’s Arizona during the 19th century.