More About the Author
Thomas Sanchez is a descendant of Spanish immigrants and Portuguese cattlemen dating back five generations to the 1800s California Gold Rush. Sanchez was born in Oakland Naval Hospital in 1944, days after his father was killed in the World War II Battle of Tawara. He was raised on a rural farm in California's Santa Clara Valley.
Sanchez' first novel, RABBIT BOSS, the hundred year saga of a California Indian Tribe, was begun at the age of 20 when he worked on cattle ranches in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. RABBIT BOSS was published when Sanchez was 27 and was cited by the San Francisco Chronicle as, "one of the most important books of the 20th century," by the New York Times as "A novel of epic dimensions," by Vanity Fair as "a landmark of our literature."
Throughout the 1960s in California, Sanchez witnessed and participated in many of the eras major social and political events, the strikes of the farm workers in the Central Valley, the tumultuous U.C. Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the clashes in San Francisco between anti-Vietnam War protesters and police, the counter-culture explosion of the infamous Haight-Ashbury District.
In the 1970s Sanchez was involved in the siege of Wounded Knee in the Black Hills of South Dakota, site of the infamous massacre of Sioux Indians, where Sanchez ran strategic supplies and food to Indians trapped inside the town of Wounded Knee, which had been surrounded by armed Federal forces with shoot-to-kill orders. A partial account of this event was published by Sanchez as, THE REAL COWBOYS AND INDIANS, in a commemorative American Bi-Centennial book collection with Henry Miller, whom Sanchez knew.
Sanchez next published, ZOOTSUIT MURDERS. The novel, set in the Los Angeles barrio of World War II, explored a chaotic world of anti-Communist hysteria, bizarre religious cults, tough gangs and undercover government agents. ZOOT-SUIT MURDERS was cited by the Chicago Tribune as, "a vivid tale of political intrigue by a master of pictorial detail." Following ZOOTSUIT MURDERS Sanchez was honored with a Guggenheim Award for his writings.
In the 1980s Sanchez lived in Key West and traveled from there throughout the American tropics. He was in harm's way during the Civil Wars of Guatemala and El Salvador, where he traversed both political and physical jungle landscapes with a real life cast of characters, from guerilla fighters to defrocked renegade priests, to bible toting CIA spooks and hardbitten war journalists. Much of this made its way into Sanchez's novel, MILE ZERO, about which the Los Angeles Times stated, "Sanchez forges a new world vision rich in the cultural intertextuality of Steinbeck and Cervantes, Joyce and Shakespeare."
Throughout the 1990s Sanchez lived in Paris, Provence and Mallorca, the settings for his novel, DAY OF THE BEES, about the hidden lives of a famous Spanish painter and his French mistress, a woman transformed from an artist's muse into a heroic Resistance fighter. The esteemed newspaper Le Monde declared DAY OF THE BEES, "A literary landmark, a novel of unforgettable power about love and war, art and freedom." The French Government knighted Sanchez with the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for his body of work.
At the beginning of the 21st century Sanchez returned to the tropics for his novel, KING BONGO, set against the glamor and intrigue of pre-revolutionary 1950s Havana, where Cuban and American cultures collided with geo-political consequence. The Washington Post proclaimed the novel to be, "An exotic portrait of sex, violence, corruption and conspiracy in Cuba."
Thomas Sanchez's newest novel, AMERICAN TROPIC, is set in the exotic island city of Key West, where a series of murders is being committed by a mysterious assassin.Â The victims have something unusual in common--a reckless disregard for the natural world. Someone is literally killing the people who are killing the environment. The novel propels us through a complex maze populated by rapacious developers, ruthless scammers and common folk struggling in heroic acts for moral high ground. All of these characters, from Noah Sax, a pirate radio shock-jock crusading against the destruction of the environment, to Luz Zamora, a homicide detective and dedicated mother defending her family, are swept up in a torrent of ecological rage headed towards an explosive ending. The novel tackles many environmental issues of our day--the disappearance of America's only Continental Reef and the on-going destruction of marine life. The Pulitzer Prize winning author, Philip Caputo, has proclaimed,Â AMERICAN TROPIC, "a bold book of wild truth and poetry, destined to become a classic of environmental literature."
Sanchez is currently directing a feature film documentary, INTO THE LIGHT, about the legendary film director and Actors Studio icon, Jack Garfein, a philosophical warrior against religious, racial and gender bigotry who survived 11 concentration camps beginning in 1944 at the age of 13 in Auschwitz.
All the novels of Thomas Sanchez are published by Knopf/Vintage, New York.