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Robert A. Kittle


Newest Work

Newest Work

"Adventure rode as their steady companion."

Franciscan Frontiersmen Cover.jpg
In the tumult of Spain's colonization of the West, Pedro Font, Juan Crespí, and Francisco Garcés stand out for their rugged endeavors.  They endured terrifying storms at sea, blood-soaked Indian attacks, starvation, thirst, scurvy, dysentery, malaria, earthquakes, marauding bears, and lonely isolation as they carved trails through forbidding deserts, uncharted swamps, high mountain passes, and desolate lands.  "Franciscan Fontiersmen: How Three Adventurers Charted the West" brings to life in striking detail this powerful, untold narrative.

Amazon #1 Hot New Release in Historical Spain & Portugal Biographies



Field research in the Yuha Desert

Former White House correspondent for U.S. News & World Report magazine and long-time editorial page editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Robert Kittle is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in national, state, and local affairs.

As a much sought-after commentator, he provided regular political analysis on PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." He also appeared frequently on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition," along with numerous interviews on network and cable television news programs. In San Diego Kittle was a regular guest on KUSI-TV and KPBS radio and television, and hosted his own weekly public affairs program on SignOn San Diego. Now an independent historian, Kittle and his wife live in Carefree, Arizona, and Cayucos, California.


Kittle's first book, "Franciscan Frontiersmen: How Three Adventurers Charted the West," relates the little-known story of pioneering friars who accompanied Junípero Serra to California in the middle of the eighteenth century. In May 2017 the book was published by The University of Oklahoma Press.  Kittle currently is researching a book on the Cupeño "trail of tears" in San Diego County over a century ago.




Critical Acclaim

Critical Acclaim

“This meticulously researched and vividly written chronicle of the exploration of the Spanish Southwest by three Franciscan missionaries underscores the distinctive fusion of evangelization and cross-continent aspiration that mapped and settled vast portions of North America on behalf of New Spain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.”

Author of Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America—The Colonial Experience

Robert Senkewicz:

Book Review

San Diego Journal of History

Summer/Fall 2017

Diane Bell
San Diego Union-Tribune 
March 13, 2017

“Franciscan Frontiersmen brings together the lives of three distinctly different priests with a common Christian mission who followed Native trails to California. Robert A. Kittle provides new insights into the rigors of daily life on the frontiers of New Spain as the priests accompanied such well-known travelers as Father Junípero Serra, Juan Bautista de Anza, and Gaspar de Portolá on their respective journeys.   Drawing on multiple Spanish sources in his quest for accuracy, the author comes to grips with the question of whether the Franciscans should be remembered as saints or sinners. This book is both an indispensable reference for scholars and an enjoyable read for all those interested in the saga of three lesser-known heroes of the Spanish Southwest."


Coauthor of Quest for Empire: Spanish Settlement in the Southwest

Seville, Spain


Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

"Franciscan Frontiersmen" is available from online booksellers, in bookstores, and directly from the University of Oklahoma Press.

Tel: 800 627 7377 or

For author interview please contact:

Sandy See, Publicist at the University of Oklahoma Press 


Tel: 405 325 3200



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