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Mark S. McDonald would like to stand on hind legs and proclaim to be accomplished in all things, a master of many pursuits, the modern Renaissance Man. He’d like to, but then again, by his own admission, he has risen to mediocrity – fallen to the occasion – yet again.

Blue Skies & Ranges: NRA Whittington Center – Its Impact on a State & Nation! to be released in September 2013, is the fifth book by the same UTEP journalism grad from Midland who escaped starvation while navigating a series of newsrooms at five Texas dailies. Once more, don’t look for this one on the New York Times best-seller list.

True, it’s a lively 248-page, four-color, coffee-table, image-heavy keepsake celebrating the Center’s 40th year as a public outreach, outdoor education and hub for shooting safety and training. And like his previous non-fiction titles, Blue Skies & Ranges is written in brisk McDonald-ese.

A fast-moving narrative provides a ground-level glimpse into how geologic and political forces – from dinosaurs and cavemen through tinhorn gamblers and railroaders -- shaped the history and culture of the entire region.

This newest title, featuring national-class photography and original illustrations, should prove popular with competitive shooters, NRA loyalists, youth and outdoor buffs nationwide. ($69.95 includes handling and mailing via USPS for domestic delivery. Checks payable to: NRA Whittington Center, POB 700, Raton, NM 87740)

Even so, it appears McDonald has added to his vaporous career.
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