No other guide to the southwest manifests such a clear moral vision while reveling in the joy of this magnificent land and its people.
"Nothing happens all the time in the Sierra del Pinacate. This region of extinct volcanoes, lava flows, and sand dunes, covering more than 600 square miles just beyond the Arizona border in Sonora, Mexico, supports little life and less industry. Through history hunters, smugglers, and missionaries have walked the Pinacate floor; writers, artists, and soothsayers have sung its praises. Traces of Indian life from the first millennium have been found just beneath its surface. Astronauts destined for lunar voyages have trained in its craters. Earth must have looked like the Pinacate before man evolved, and I imagine Earth will again resemble this haunting and seemingly infinite land when no one remains to appreciate it."
- Who killed that saguaro outside Phoenix?
- What is the sound of one billboard falling?
- Cochise who?
Tom Miller's Southwest is a vortex of cockfights and cantinas, of black-velvet paintings and tacky bolo ties, of eco-militants, border-crossers, and eccentric characters whose outlook is as spare and elemental as the desert that surrounds them. This is Miller's turf. With wit and insight, he reveals how the clichés of romanticism and capitalism have run amok in his homeland. When a saguaro cactus outside Phoenix kills its own assassin, it becomes clear that no other guide to the southwest manifests such a clear moral vision while reveling in the joy of this magnificent land and its people. Originally published by National Geographic as Jack Ruby's Kitchen Sink, it received the Gold Award for Best Travel Book in 2000 given by the Society of American Travel Writers.
Tom Miller has been writing about the American Southwest and Latin America for more than three decades. His ten books include The Panama Hat Trail which follows the making and marketing of one Panama hat and Trading with the Enemy which Lonely Planet says 'may be the best travel book about Cuba ever written.' Miller began his journalism career in the underground press of the late '60s and early '70s, and has written articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker, Smithsonian, Natural History, and Rolling Stone. He lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, Regla Albarr'n.
"Tom Miller has brought the region to life in his own special way. He helps us all see beyond the ancient pulp fictions to the dailiness of life in that American place and in doing so, he adds to its reality and magic. We should all thank him."
—Pete Hamill, from his foreword