Books

The world exists in order to be made into a book. —Stéphane Mallarmé

Gregory McNamee is an engaging writer. He sees far into the landscape and becomes one with it in his spirit. — N. Scott Momaday

I’ve long been a fan of Gregory McNamee’s work. —Jim Harrison  

McNamee is a witty and masterful wordsmith. Biology becomes poetry in his hands. —Demetria Martínez, National Catholic Reporter

Gregory McNamee never takes himself too seriously, or not seriously enough. —Bill McKibben

With the passing of Edward Abbey and William Eastlake, Gregory McNamee has filled some very large shoes in the tradition of Southwestern letters and outdoor writing. —Doug Peacock

The following books are currently in print and/or available through Abebooks.com, Amazon.com, and other sellers of new and used books. For a complete list of publications and to inquire about out-of-print books that might be harder to find, please send a note.

Arizona and the Grand Canyon (Frommer’s, 2019)

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We knew we wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, but weren’t sure what else we wanted to see in Arizona. This book really helped. It not only gave us great advice for advance bookings at the Grand Canyon (important!!) and great hikes to take on our own, but it also allowed us to create a logical vacation, taking in Phoenix/Scottsdale and Sedona, too. (Wish we’d had more time for other places). It was clearly written by knowledgable locals and I appreciated that they gave enough info, and had enough opinions, that I could figure out what was worth my time and what I could skip. A great book!

I have always relied on Frommer’s travel guides, for many years. This Arizona book was helpful in planning our trip. I found a great little inn in Sedona 20 years ago in the book. We went there in early October and it was even nicer. (The Adobe Village Inn). Some of the info in the book you cannot find on line.

Customer reviews, Amazon.com

Tortillas, Tiswin & T-Bones: A Food History of the Southwest (University of New Mexico Press, 2017)

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Those with a taste for Southwestern cuisine will find their hunger satiated by this readable, authoritative culinary and cultural history. —Kirkus Reviews

Nobody knows the Southwest like Gregory McNamee. He has seen it all, explored it all, and partaken of every kind of food the region has to offer. This is a book of many delights—so pour a cup of tiswin and feast upon it. —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter and The Devil’s Highway

A wonderfully absorbing foodie saga that drills down to the heart of its chosen locale. —Foreword

This book feels like sitting down to a dinner with Diana Kennedy and Jim Harrison, tequila in hand and great conversation going long into the night. It’s alive, a love story, a timeless journey. I absolutely loved reading it and will treasure Gregory McNamee’s words for a long time to come. — Tracey Ryder, cofounder of Edible Communities and coauthor of Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods

Tortillas, Tiswin, and T-Bones sends the reader on a riveting adventure, tracking the origins of Southwestern ingredients and culture to reveal American history through food. McNamee's prose is deft and authoritative, and this is a highly original, timely book. —Kate Christensen, author of Blue Plate Special and How to Cook a Moose

Gregory McNamee brings food to the table like none other, weaving the history of people, earth, plants, and animals into tales of ancient cocktails, salt-making, and the Mesoamerican sources of tamales. His ability to tease recipes and ingredients out of the past is uncanny. If we are what we eat, and live where we do, this book defines us to the core. Feast! —Craig Childs, author of House of Rain and Apocalyptic Planet

The Ancient Southwest: A Guide to Archaeological Sites (Rio Nuevo Press, 2015)

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A highly recommended addition to the personal library of anyone with even a modest interest in either archaeology or the landscapes of the Southwest. —National Parks Traveler

I took this with us a Guide when visiting the Ancient sites and the photography and descriptions make it my favorite for Indian Cliff Dwellings.

This book was beyond my expectations. . . . This book is a treasure. It is a must have for anyone interested in the ancient cultures of the southwest.

Customer reviews from Amazon.com

The Only One Living to Tell: The Autobiography of a Yavapai Indian (University of Arizona Press, 2012)

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This is the story of a swath of [Mike Burns‘s] life, though concentrating on the years 1872–1886, and told in his words. Aided by Bloomsbury Review and Encyclopaedia Britannica contributing editor McNamee’s (Aelian's On the Nature of Animals, 2011, etc.) light editorial touch, those words have an unfiltered, sand-blasted polish, spare and well-chosen and strung with piquant atmospherics and a decided sense of transport. —Kirkus Reviews

Burns’s story creates an inimitable view onto a western reality that simply is not attainable anywhere else. Summing Up: Highly recommended. —Choice

Hidden in archives for decades and now expertly brought to light by writer and editor McNamee, Burns’ memoir is a compelling account of Indian-white relations during the tumultuous pre-reservation years. —Booklist

Orphan, captive, servant, scout, and witness to the contagion of violence that drove the westward expansion: Mike Burns saw it all. The Only One Living to Tell is a crucial piece of American history—a firsthand account of the heartbreaking Skeleton Cave Massacre and its catastrophic consequences, a debunking of the romance of the nineteenth-century "Indian fighter," and a closely observed ethnography compiled by a man who almost singlehandedly preserved his people's heritage for posterity. —Margot Mifflin, author of The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman

Aelian’s On the Nature of Animals (Trinity University Press, 2011)

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Aelian’s tales are delectable, satisfying reads because of their larger perspective, the encompassing vision of humans and animals and science and nature as part and parcel of the same character.The animals we know today are pathetic, tragic, and intrinsically political: they suffer, lose their habitats to sprawl and their dignity in oil slicks; they disappear, or they become cute. The animal of Orwell, of PETA, is a reflection of the horror— civilization—that we have visited upon ourselves and upon the natural world. That wasn’t Aelian’s view: his animals are agents, characters dense and twisty with life, in anecdotes and sentences that wreathe like coupling octopuses or face off like predator and prey, or that simply follow their best chances and so avoid the fate of the shrewmouse when it falls into a rut it can’t escape. —The Believer

“If Aelian’s science is sometimes sketchy, the facts often fanciful, and the history sometimes suspect,” McNamee writes, “it is clear enough that he had a grand time assembling the material.” And so does McNamee. As he points out, “The Nature of Animals” is “mostly randomly ordered,” but its often comic trifles make pleasant bedside reading. —Washington Post

It's really under the radar & a true delight to read. Check it out now. —Nancy Pearl

With more obscure tales than you can shake a paw at, this is the book for anyone who has ever wondered about the weird world of wildlife. —New Scientist

Careers in Renewable Energy (PixyJack Press, 2014), second edition

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The clean energy economy is booming across the United States and around the world. Careers in Renewable Energy is a sophisticated—and user-friendly—guide for finding meaningful job opportunities in the renewable energy sector. —Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico

Oil will eventually run out on our planet. It's only a matter of time—but it doesn't have to be the end of the world, no, it can be the way of the future and help readers find an exciting new career in the fields of renewable energy. "Careers in Renewable Energy: Get a Green Energy Job" is a guide to help environmentally conscious readers find a new career that will help them and help advance the concepts of Solar Energy, Geothermal Energy, Hydroelectric energy, Green Building, among other countless jobs available in renewable energy, providing countless references and resources to help readers get started. Any searching for a career in renewable energy and any public or business lending library catering to students or career changers will find specific and important this guide to clean energy opportunities across the country. From extensive lists of training facilities, schools, workshops, and professional organizations and societies to web sites and energy programs, this is the place for job seekers and career changers to begin. Expertly compiled and researched, "Careers in Renewable Energy: Get a Green Energy Job" is highly recommended for environmental studies collections with a crossover to career shelves. —Midwest Book Review

I teach an undergraduate Earth Sustainability course that gets students fired up to work toward changes in the ways we produce and consume energy globally. While it's great that they have that motivation, few know where to direct it. I've shared my copy of Careers in Renewable Energy with them, and it seems to go from student to student, never making it back to my bookshelf between! —Cortney Martin, Virginia Tech

Gila: The Life and Death of an American River (University of New Mexico Press, 2012), second edition

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This is a fine and important book, full of graceful, understated passions, and full of a natural history that has, like the river itself, been lost to us—for the time being. Gila is a gift to us from McNamee: of knowledge, insight, and the hard moral truths of our past errors. —Rick Bass

The Gila River has been given a voice, and that voice is Gregory McNamee. We would do well to listen. —Terry Tempest Williams

Important reading for environmentalists. —Publishers Weekly

This beautifully researched and written tome tackles the once mighty Gila River, its origin and its death, and contextualizes with aplomb what killed it and who suffered and what’s next. —"40 Essential Arizona Books," Tucson Weekly 

The Serpent’s Tale: Snakes in Folklore and Literature (University of Georgia Press, 2000)

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In his cogent and witty introduction to this collection of some fifty-five tales drawn from folklore and literature, Gregory McNamee reflects on the universality of human fascination with the serpent, throughout time and across cultures, by turns varying from admiration and respect to outright revulsion. In texts drawn from around the world, the snake is found variously to be deadly, crafty, wise, sympathetic, or symbolic, as well as an object both of scientific curiosity and whimsical speculation. Once bitten by this engaging work, the general reader will find himself charmed no less than the folklorist or natural historian. —Virginia Quarterly Review