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Going Back to Bisbee Paperback – May 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 329 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (May 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816512892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816512898
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Poet Shelton has created a powerful annal of place--a paean to the Sonoran desert south of Tucson, a landscape as prickly as the cacti that grow in it and yet as refreshing as a rainy-season rainstorm. Shelton imbues landscapes, flora and fauna with resonance, imprinting themes of memory, history and human nature in the reader's mind. The opening description of a Sonoran monsoon is a masterful evocation of weather, vibrant and violent. Shelton's ( The Tattooed Desert ) tour of the desert includes descriptions of a six-foot snake that rescued him from the local squirrels who were infiltrating his house; his disastrous attempt to harvest a yucca as a native Christmas tree; an attack by raging bulls on the Mormon battalion in the U.S.-Mexican war; his abrupt discovery of an adobe ghost town; and the sociology of an old mining village. Shelton knows the lore and the life of Southern Arizona, and his diction, both precise and evocative, reflects his poetic skills. Indeed, the only fault here could easily have been repaired: the end of the book tends to repeat observations made earlier.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This book, winner of the 1992 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, offers the reader a glimpse into life and landscape in a mountainous mining region in extreme southeastern Arizona. Shelton, the author of several works of poetry ( The Bus to Veracruz , LJ 12/15/78. o.p.; The Tattooed Desert , LJ 2/15/71) became enraptured with the area as an army draftee and stayed to teach junior high English in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Now living in Tucson, he recounts a recent nostalgic journey back to the area that incorporates natural history with a marvelous sense of place. This book should appeal to fans of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness ( LJ 1/1/68) and Charles Bowden's Desierto: Memories of the Future ( LJ 6/15/91). Recommended, especially for southwestern and natural history collections.
- Tim Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, Wash.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Thank you Mr. Sheldon for this delightful book.
Los Angeles Reader
Two or three years ago, I borrowed the library's copy of this book, and I can't tell you how many times special parts of this book have come back to haunt me.
Jeri
This is quite simply one of the best books ever written.
S. Fernandez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on January 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is part travelogue, part natural history, part regional history, and part personal memoir. After many years as a writer, poet, and university professor, the author takes an 80-mile journey from his home in Tucson to the old mining town of Bisbee in the southeast corner of Arizona. Just a stone's throw from the Mexican border, Bisbee has been the site of copper mines, starting in the 1880s and lasting until the 1970s, when conglomerate Phelps Dodge finally ceased operation, having created a huge open pit and left mountains of tailings.

A mountain town built in the twists and turns of a narrow valley, Bisbee was once the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. More amazing today is that unlike most mining towns that sprang up in the West, Bisbee is not a ghost town but still thrives, chiefly as an artists' center and a tourist destination. A high school teacher, fresh out of the Army in the 1950s, Shelton tells of life in a modern-day mining community, and great storyteller that he is, there are entertaining accounts of fitting in to the community, establishing himself as a young teacher, and taking on leadership of a Boy Scout troop given to embarrassing public pranks.

But by the time Shelton brings us to Bisbee in the closing chapters of the book, he has lingered lovingly over the flora and fauna of the desert and mountains, provided readers with several hundred years of history in this area once ruled by the fierce Apaches, visited Tombstone (represented as a tourist trap), recalled his tour of duty with the Signal Corps at Ft. Huachuca, got caught in a downpour and had lunch in a roadside diner, and driven his van way off the main road where he finds a young man panning for gold.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Los Angeles Reader on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A DELIGHTFUL DIVERSION. WELL-WRITTEN AND WORTH IT TO BUY IT. A KIND OF VERBAL NATURALIST'S JOURNALING. This is an exceptionally well-written and engaging travel memoir describing in fluid, conversational, yet poetic language, the writer's travels in Arizona's Sonoran Desert and mountainous area. It uses the English language of the American style magnificantly. It conveys the moment to moment experiencing of Mr. Sheldon's drives and travels. YOu feel as if you are in Blue Boy (his van) with him. YOu can almost smell the greasewood right after a monsoon rain as if you were there. I'm reading this book to my 91-year old Mother who lived in Bisbee and Tucson as a child. It is a special treasure for her as it allows her to enjoy and reminisce about the special memories of her childhood. Thank you Mr. Sheldon for this delightful book. I am eternally grateful to you.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Gopher on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Being a new to Arizona and visiting once, I loved this book. It made my recent trip to Bisbee wonderfully interesting. I searched for many of the points of interst mentioned in this book. Looked at the terrain and the people. All were true to the authors decribtion. I even experienced a few "that's Bisbee" moments. Thanks for a great book, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James Wink on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
First I have to confess that I have only been to Bisbee twice. This book is one of my favorite books of all time. It manages to capture thje essence of the town covering its history and culture. A warning however: if you purchase this book you will find that you must also pay a visit to one of the most unique towns in the West....and in process leave a piece of your heart behind.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book that transports the reader into a little known corner of the American West. Mr. Shelton is a poet and a keen observer of the physical world. During the course of a one day drive from Tuscon to Bisbee, he crafts an extremely well-written look at the contrasting interests, people and natural forces which created this corner of the West. His writing makes one long for sun drenched days and miles of open, "range and basin" land.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeri on January 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Two or three years ago, I borrowed the library's copy of this book, and I can't tell you how many times special parts of this book have come back to haunt me. There are events in it that I wish would have happened to me. But the next best thing is hearing Mr. Shelton describe them. He's funny and touching and entertaining and informative. It's a rich experience. Time to buy my own copy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Zann on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a gem! Besides the fact that Bisbee is one of my favorite places to visit, the author makes the trip there so enjoyable, you have a hard time remembering you've been there already. I especially liked the story of the Christmas 'Tree' he brought in one year for Christmas. Get this book and take it to a quiet corner to read. You will be transported.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Just My Op VINE VOICE on August 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
4.5 out of 5 stars.

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 make 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.
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