The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
This joyous combination of magical realism with the classic David and Goliath story concerns itself with the driving fact of life in the West—water. The small town of Milagro, New Mexico, becomes a pitched battle ground when sometimes handyman Joe Mondragon decides to illegally irrigate the small beanfield that has belonged to his family for generations. Powerful developers, interested in turning Milagro into a lush resort town, are predictably ready to retaliate when faced with Mondragon’s perceived provocation. The resulting war, replete with slapstick escapades and situational humor, also reveals a town of colorful, lovable, and ultimately decent townsfolk willing to fight for their land. This book does include some language, much of it in Spanish and typical of angry people engaged in battle, but it is also a memorable portrait of a small town committed to unity in the face of greed.