Nick Pappas

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Articles, Nonfiction: History


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Nick Pappas is an award-winning journalist who dedicated more than forty years of his life to newspapers, most recently as an editor at the Albuquerque Journal. During his career, he has written news stories, columns, and editorials.

Prior to joining the Journal in 2013, he spent 24 years at The Telegraph of Nashua, New Hampshire, where he served in various editorial positions, including editor-in-chief and editorial page editor. He was named an editorial writer of the year by the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2009 and 2011, and he was recognized by the New Hampshire Press Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. In November 2018, Nick retired as city editor of the Albuquerque Journal and began working on a narrative history of Dawson, New Mexico, home to the second-deadliest mine disaster in U.S. history.

Nick is a member of SouthWest Writers and the Historical Society of New Mexico. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the New England Press Association and Associated Press News Executives Association, where he served one term as president.

When not working on his book, the New England native likes to read, visit historic sites, root for his Boston professional sports teams — yes, he is a dreaded Patriots fan — and spend time with his family. A native of Lowell, Massachusetts, he now lives with his wife, Susan, in Albuquerque.


Title: Crosses of Iron
Sub-Title: The Tragic Story of Dawson, New Mexico, and its Twin Mining Disasters
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (October 1, 2023)
Genre: History

“An engrossing tale of the rise, the flowering and contributions, the disasters, and the memories of Dawson, a very important coal-mining site in northern New Mexico.” — Richard W. Etulain, author of New Mexican Lives: Profiles and Historical Stories

In October 1913, 261 miners and two rescuers died when a massive explosion ripped through a mine operated by Phelps, Dodge & Company in Dawson, New Mexico. Ten years later, a second blast claimed the lives of another 120 miners. Today, Dawson is a deserted ghost town. All that remains is a sea of white iron crosses memorializing the nearly four hundred miners killed in the two explosions—a death toll unmatched by mine disasters in any other town in America.

Now, to mark the centennial of the second disaster, veteran journalist Nick Pappas tells the tragic story of what was once New Mexico’s largest and most modern company town and of how the strong, determined residents of the community coped with two heartbreaking catastrophes.

Available for Sale

University of New Mexico Press
Barnes & Noble


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