Going Back to Bisbee

by Richard Shelton

by Richard Shelton

   I just finished reading a terrific, though sometimes detail-tedious book called Going Back to Bisbee. The author, Richard Shelton, is or at least was an English professor at ASU, Tucson – the book was written in 1992. The entire book chronicles his drive from his Tucson home to the historic mining town of Bisbee about 100 miles away. Shelton had taught school in Bisbee right after leaving the U.S Army’s Fort Huachuca  in 1957.  It’s a delightful virtual trip that in some ways put me in mind of Thoreau’s Waldens Pond. As Shelton talks of the foliage, and his tired old van, and as he wades in the waters of the San Pedro River I relax. I feel his love for the area and so I tolerate his many pages of  description of the look of every shrub, every cactus and every bird.  Shelton also taught me much about the history of the region – its copper mining, its Apache conflicts and its people. If you’re interested in the early history of Arizona’s copper mining communities or even if you’d just like to take a relaxing virtual trip through the desert, I highly recommend this book.
Going Back to Bisbee won the 1992 Western States Creative Nonfiction Book Award. He’s also published several works of poetry.
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