Revenge of the Saguaro: Offbeat Travels Through America's Southwest

Overview

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 amuck 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 ...

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Revenge of the Saguaro: Offbeat Travels Through America's Southwest

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Overview

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 amuck 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 from 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, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine, Natural History, and Rolling Stone. He lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife, Regla.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[Miller is] a superb reporter and slyly funny stylist. This is a compulsively readable book by one of our best non-fiction writers." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Tom Miller knows his Southwest, and in [this book] he takes us on a tour of some of its quirky, funky characters and out-of-the-way places." —Los Angeles Times

"Miller is as quirky and delightful as ever, treating the Southwest as a vast midden from which he plucks many odorous but tasty treasures. The fun, as usual, comes from watching Tom digest." —Larry McMurtry

"Tom Miller loves the American Southwest the way a man loves a wayward, difficult woman, accepting her trashy, all-too-interesting history while knowing the heartbreaking truth. A rueful, wonderful, highly personal guide." —Martin Cruz Smith

"Residents, potential visitors, and armchair travelers alike will be captivated by Miller’s informative and often humorous book, in which the romance and reality of the Southwest are intermingled within a fine narrative." —Library Journal

"Miller’s essays in Revenge of the Saguaro are travel writing of a sort, but they are of a different species entirely than the tips about what posh places to eat at or sleep in that one finds in glossy travel magazines. Instead, Miller offers an insider’s account of the grit, local gossip, and glorious bad taste that are a part of what endears the Southwest to its residents."—New West- Books & Writers

"Imaginative, inventive, witty…Miller has written a wonder-filled book." —The Salt Lake Tribune

"Miller writes with passion about the region and relays it with as much skill as John Steinbeck." —Siouxland Weekly (Iowa)

"Maybe the story of David Grundman—the man who, out of boredom, shotgunned a 125-year-old saguaro cactus only to be crushed to death under its 3,000 pound carcass—is a metaphor for man’s struggle against nature in the unforgiving Arizona desert. Maybe it’s just hilarious. Tucson travel writer Tom Miller seems to think the latter… [Miller's telling] elevates a good anecdote into a great piece of writing." —San Antonio Current

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933693606
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,377,643
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author


Tom Miller has been writing about the American Southwest and Latin America for more than three decades. Miller began his journalism career in the underground press of the late 1960s, 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. Pete Hamill is a novelist, essayist and journalist whose career has endured for more than forty years.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2010

    Learn about the beautiful Southwest

    Tom Miller's book on the Southwest is beautiful. I know the subject well and his take on bolo ties and the origin of La Bamba is funny and thought provoking. It's a quick read because you can't put it down. If you've never been to the Southwest, read it and come visit!

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