Kit Carson expert to speak

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By Kelly LeVan

The author of two bestselling books will discuss his latest work of nonfiction this week as part of Mesa Public Library's Authors Speak Series.

Hampton Sides, author of the bestselling books Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder, among other works of narrative nonfiction, will read at 7 p.m. Thursday in the library's upstairs rotunda.

"I always hated Westerns, Sides said in an interview Wednesday. I thought the whole genre was pretty much washed out."

Then he began reading about Kit Carson and he didn't stop for four years.

By 2006, he had written a Western of his own "Blood and Thunder," which tells the history of the American West and its many heroes and villains, featuring the elusive, tantalizing Carson.

Although he considers himself as much an expert on Carson as possible, the historical figure remains surrounded by questions, Sides said, and it's hard to feel like you really know him.

The mysteries that drew Sides to study Carson have now piqued the interest of his readers.

In addition to making the New York Times Bestsellers List, Time magazine named "Blood and Thunder" one of its 10 best books of 2006, and the book was voted the best history title of year by both the History Book Club and the Western Writers Association.

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