'Ditat Deus' and so will these books

Feb. 12, 2006 12:00 AM

Today we are going to take a break from your usual probing questions and my usual half-baked answers and discuss fine literature.

Specifically, we are going to discuss books about Arizona, and whether you just got here or have lived here all of your life, I hope you can find something useful here.

One thing: Don't call me and ask me where you can find these books. Most of them are in the major bookstores or available through Try the gift shops at places such as the Heard Museum or the Desert Botanical Gardens or the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott. And there is always the good old library. Remember the library? Libraries are swell, and unless your dog eats the book, they're also free.

OK, now if you really want to know about Arizona, I'd recommend just about anything by Marshall Trimble, official state historian and great guy. He has forgotten more about stuff about Arizona than most of us will ever learn. Trimble has many books out, but you might start with Roadside History of Arizona or Arizona, a Cavalcade of History.

Next, look for stuff by my hero, former Phoenix Gazette columnist, good old Sam Lowe. Start with Arizona Curiosities, Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff.

This is one of my favorites: Vanishing Arizona by Martha Dunham Summerhayes. She came to Arizona in 1874 with her Army officer husband and bounced around to various forts throughout the state and elsewhere in the West, recording her impressions and adventures as she went.

Did you know there are six places throughout the state called Black Mesa? You would if you had a copy of Arizona Place Names by Will Barnes. It's very interesting.

I don't know how interested you are in rocks, but I use this one a lot: Roadside Geology of Arizona by Halka Chronic.

Are you familiar with the Dummies series? There is an Arizona for Dummies by Edie Jarolim.

Throwing all modesty to the winds, I shall now shamelessly plug Valley 101: A Slightly Skewed Guide to Living in Arizona. Buy two.

There are lots more Arizona books out there, and you can find them at http://home . book.html. It lists scores of books about Arizona, from cookbooks to history to hiking to whatever.

Check it out.

Reach Thompson at or (602) 444-8612.

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