In Knight Without Armor Félix Almaraz paints a vivid, very human portrait of a Texas historian of great charm and energy, a man who could also be cranky, cantankerous, annoyed at slights, often quick to take umbrage, and at times even a “gut-fighter” with an explosive temper. In 1927, after four years of teaching Spanish in Virginia at the College of William and Mary, at the beginning of his academic career, Carlos Castañeda returned to his alma mater, the University of Texas, as a librarian. He quickly found himself enjoying the position, which melded well with his ultimate goal of becoming a historian. However, he also encountered difficulties and conflict due to academic and intralibrary rivalry, envy of his success, his own aggressive temperament, and ethnic bias. Frequently he found himself the object of gossip and criticism for being Catholic and Mexican.

Castañeda’s...

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