Tom ZoellnerMar 22, 2023
Rim to River
Looking Into the Heart of Arizona
University of Arizona Press 2023
Tom Zoellner walked across the length of Arizona to come to terms with his home state. But the trip revealed more mountains behind the mountains.
Rim to River: Looking Into the Heart of Arizona (U Arizona Press, 2023) is the story of this extraordinary journey through redrock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains to the obscure valley in Mexico that gave the state its enigmatic name. The trek is interspersed with incisive essays that pick apart the distinctive cultural landscape of Arizona: the wine-colored pinnacles and complex spirituality of Navajoland, the mind-numbing stucco suburbs, desperate border crossings, legislative skullduggery, extreme politics, billion-dollar copper ventures, dehydrating rivers, retirement kingdoms, old-time foodways, ghosts of old wars, honky-tonk dreamers, murder mysteries, and magical Grand Canyon reveries.
In Rim to River, Zoellner does for Arizona what Larry McMurtry did for Texas in In a Narrow Grave and what Wallace Stegner did for Utah in Mormon Country: paint an enduring portrait of a misunderstood American state. An indictment, a love letter, and a homecoming story all at once.
Tom Zoellner is an American author and journalist. His book Island on Fire: The Revolt that Ended Slavery in the British Empire, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for the best nonfiction book of 2020 and was a finalist for the Bancroft Prize and the California Book Award. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The American Scholar, The Oxford American, Time, Foreign Policy, Men’s Health, Slate, Scientific American, Audubon, Sierra, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Texas Observer, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Tom is a former staff writer for The Arizona Republic and the San Francisco Chronicle, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Lannan Foundation. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College.
Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics (Twitter @15MinFilm).