Going Back to Bisbee

by Richard Shelton

Paperback, 1992

Status

Available

Publication

Tucson : University of Arizona Press, c1992.

User reviews

LibraryThing member TooBusyReading
Mr. Shelton's lovely non-fiction book never travels in a straight line, and the reader isn't going to get back to Bisbee any time soon. He rambles, digresses, and describes, explains and reflects, and throws in his own personal philosphy for good measure. And he anthropomorphizes. Boy, does he anthropomorphize, and not just animals but also his old van, buildings, plants, about anything that crosses his path. Since I tend to do that myself, I don't have a problem with it. And he encounters ghosts. I don't have a problem with that, either.

The author's love and respect for the southern Arizona desert makes this book a gem. I learned a bit of history of the area, about a early fort where the Buffalo Soldiers were sent, the Apaches who made the area so unsafe for settlers and miners, the booms and busts of mining in the area, and the resilience of the people who lived in and around Bisbee. I learned a great deal about this desert, and the things, sentient and otherwise, that populate it. And all in a wonderful, lyrical prose. I learned about the author and his tolerant wife, but this was not so much a memoir as it was a journey. The author apparently did not have an ideal childhood, but he did not delve into that part of his life, only alluded to it.

The author has respect for all the natural creatures of the desert, and his writing about our horrid treatment of coyotes, past and present, is especially poignant:

“I do not understand how the person who truly loves a dog, loves it enough sometimes to risk his or her life for it, can exterminate coyotes, the dog's cousin, in hideous and sadistic ways.”

“We love and cherish our dogs because they respond with loyalty and affection, and because they obey us. But the coyote, so much like the dog in appearance and even behavior, has refused to accept us as masters, has spurned us, and we can never forgive it.”

His stories of some of the children he taught can break a heart of stone. Mr. Shelton seems to be an idealist and a dreamer but also very down to earth, and the combination made this book highly readable for those of us who don't mind taking the long way 'round.
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LibraryThing member dustuck
A kind of love story about Southern Arizona, by a poet who discovered the area during World War II. A splendid introduction to the area.
LibraryThing member vnovak
Describes a trip to Bisbee, but with all sorts of fascinating digressions about plants, animals, ghost towns, mining and history of Southeastern Arizona. Also very funny in spots.
LibraryThing member TheBook
A wonderful book that fully exhibits a “sense of place.”. Shelton chronicles a day’s journey from Tucson to Bisbee – but packs in stories and facts from many such trips. This book won a Western Book Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Each chapter can stand alone but I read it straight through. Certainly makes me want to retrace his steps to see the wonderful places he talked about. He describes everything from the social life of coyotes to ghost towns to the history of mining in the west, but does it all in a descriptive and interesting style.… (more)
LibraryThing member lcrouch
Poignant and engaging.

Language

Barcode

6882
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