Thursday, March 27, 2008

Edward W. Vernon's Las Misiones Antiguas: The Spanish Missions of Baja California

This book should be available in Spanish! Despite the title, the text is in English--- and it is so large, so packed with a multitude of maps and four-color photographs, it might be too heavy to lift were it in both languages. No "Baja buff" should be without a copy--- and, seriously, I know what I'm talking about when it comes to books on Baja California. There are a number of books on the Baja California missions, but none offers the detail and original research and meticulous documentation that Vernon's does. The author not only visited every single Baja California mission (physically, and financially, no small feat), but he also went to several visitas, which are not missions proper but visiting chapels established by the missionaries). From the jacket text:
...and the position of each was recorded using a GPS instrument. In addition to photographing each site, oral history was taken from the area's residents. Sketches record the configuration of sites not previously mapped, and in the case of the largest Baja California mission, Comondu, the foundation was traced and old photographs utlized to computer-generate three dimensional architectural drawings...

The book is available from Santa Barbara's Viejo Press as well as Baja Books and Maps. More anon.