Blue Desert

Blue Desert coverBlue Desert
Charles Bowden
University of Arizona Press
October 2, 2018, 224 pages
Kindle edition $12.95, Amazon paperback $17.95

Blue Desert was originally published in 1986. The University of Arizona Press recently reprinted two of Bowden’s books from the era: this title and Frog Mountain Blues.

Bowden lived most of his life in the Arizona desert, and this book reflects his love for the region and his distaste for the sprawl and growth of the region. He prefers the out-of-the way places. Much of the book centers around Ajo, AZ, a small town west of Tucson and south and west of Phoenix. However Bowden strays as far west as Palm Springs and as far north as the Glen Canyon Dam.

The author of the introduction to this reissue takes pains to point out Bowden’s objectification of women in the book, something that is indeed obvious at points. Indeed, his neglect of his wife as he describes it in the final essay is appalling and inexcusable. The writer of the introduction points out that Bowden took a more measured approach in his writing in later years.

Nonetheless Bowden does an excellent job of painting a picture of the Sonora desert along with all the unpleasantries therein. He describes the shabby treatment Mexicans received at the hands of whites. He describes the violence that occurs. Yet his love for the region is pervasive throughout.

If you have a love for the desert and the American Southwest this is a book worth reading.



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