- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Buscher, Linda, and Dick Buscher. Historic Photos of Arizona. Nashville: Turner Publishing Company, 2009. See how early pioneers, soldiers, and frontier families lived in the Wild West. The collection of 200 rare and historical images begins with Arizona’s territorial days in 1850s and moves through statehood and the postwar population boom.
Dutton, Allen A. Arizona: Then & Now. Englewood, CO: Westcliffe Publishers, 2002. Get a sense of the Arizona’s dramatic evolution from the 19th century to the 20th. Historical photographs, stories, and essays document the Grand Canyon State’s cities and towns, mining industry, railroads, and ranching and farming traditions.
Johnson, James W. Arizona Politicians: The Noble and the Notorious. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2002. A former University of Arizona journalism professor sketches colorful portraits of the politicians who shaped the state and the country, including Barry Goldwater, Mo and Stewart Udall, Bruce Babbitt, John McCain, William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O’Connor, and disgraced former governors Evan Mecham and Fife Symington.
Lauer, Charles D. Arrows, Bullets, and Saddle Sores: A Collection of True Tales of Arizona’s Old West. Phoenix: Golden West Publishers, 2005. The Wild West was built on a rich tradition of storytelling, from Native American myths to cowboy yarns. Learn about the events from the real West, including street-clearing gunfights, outlaw gangs, fatal poker games, stolen gold, and dirt-floored prisons.
Martin, Douglas D. An Arizona Chronology: The Territorial Years, 1846–1912. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1962. They didn’t call it the Wild West for nothing. Learn how Arizona evolved from Mexican territory to America’s 48th state.
Trimble, Marshall. Roadside History of Arizona. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2004. Arizona’s state historian takes a road-trip approach to exploring the Grand Canyon State’s past. Because it’s organized geographically and along highways, travelers can easily cruise to cultural sites, like old missions and Civil War battlefields.
Betancourt, Marian, Michael O’Dowd, and Jack Strong. The New Native American Cuisine: Five-Star Recipes from the Chefs of Arizona’s Kai Restaurant. Dallas: Three Forks Press, 2009. Only a handful of restaurants in the U.S. have earned AAA’s Five Diamond rating and Mobil’s Five Star designation, but it’s little surprise given the innovative and elegant cuisine at Kai Restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort. Try out some of the Native American–inspired recipes at home, including those for cocktails, soups, salads, deserts, and entrées, like grilled elk chop with truffles and sweet corn panna cotta with venison carpaccio.
Circle of Light Navajo Education Project. Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes…The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II: A Photographic Exhibit. Gallup, NM: Circle of Light Navajo Education Project, 2004. This rich collection of photographs chronicles the incredible story of the Navajo Code Talkers, who transmitted U.S. Marine Corps messages in their native language during World War II. See the letters documenting the program’s inception, newspaper clippings, a guide to the Navajo language, and historic photos of recruitment visits to the reservation and scenes from the Pacific Theater battlefields.
Hodge, Carle. Ruins Along the River: Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma National Monuments. Tucson: Western National Parks Association, 1986. Explore the rich history and heritage of the Sinagua people and how they were able to build a series of impressive monuments that still stand as a testament to their sophisticated civilization.
Literature and Memoirs
Guerrero, Pedro E. Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey with Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder, and Louise Nevelson. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007. Guerrero, a Mexican-American and Arizona native, documents the lives and work of some of the giants of the 20th century art world. Here, 190 black-and-white photographs—some of them iconic images—tell the stories not only of these artists, but of the midcentury Modernist movement that flourished during the photographer’s heyday and Guerrero’s incredible, seemingly impossible life.
McCain, John, and Mark Salter. Worth the Fighting For. New York: Random House, 2002. Following his release from imprisonment in Vietnam, John McCain returned home to the U.S., where he launched his formidable political career, which has included two-plus decades in Congress and two bids for the presidency. In this autobiography, the Grand Canyon State’s senior senator shares profiles of the mavericks who inspired him: Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway, Ted Williams, and Marlon Brando.
Notaro, Laurie. The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life. New York: Viliard, 2002. The hilarious writer chronicles a world of hourly wage jobs, Phoenix’s subcultures, high school reunions, and hangovers that leave her surprised she woke up in the first place.
O’Connor, Sandra Day, and H. Alan Day. Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest. New York: Random House, 2005. The former Supreme Court justice and her brother recount their lives growing up on an Arizona ranch near the New Mexican border, highlighting how their parents, fellow cowhands, and the environment taught them hard lessons and fundamental values. The warm, engaging memoir demonstrates how the Arizona landscaped forged one of the country’s greatest minds.
Bearce, Neil R. Minerals, Fossils, and Fluorescents of Arizona: A Field Guide for Collectors. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Desert Ice Press, 2006. Arizona’s vast mineral wealth is a dream for rockhounds, and this guide to the state’s geological treasures provides advice and maps on where to find agates and geodes, amethysts and malachites. For those new to rock hunting, there are photos and a thorough outline of mineral basics, like shape, size, and color, as well as a how-to primer on scavenging.
Johnson, Tom, and Hoyt C. Johnson. Sedona: The Most Uniquely Beautiful Site on Earth. Sedona, AZ: Sedona Publishing Company, 1998. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and it’s the only way to truly comprehend Sedona’s incredible beauty on the printed page. Discover the region’s red rocks, stunning formations, and craggy canyons, as well as its fall leaves and springtime flowers.
Maxa, Christine. Arizona’s Best Wildflower Hikes: The Desert. Englewood, CO: Westcliffe Publishers, 2002. The noted travel writer and outdoor enthusiast shares her tips on where to find colorful wildflowers, from mountainside hideaways to the vast, open spaces carpeted with orange, yellow, pink, and violet blossoms.
Tessmer, Martin. 50 Hikes in Arizona. Woodstock, VT: The Countryman Press, 2004. There’s no shortage of great hikes in Arizona, and this illustrated guide highlights the state’s diverse landscapes and best trails, including treks through the Grand Canyon and around the Valley of the Sun.
Ellin, Nan. Phoenix: 21st Century City. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2006. The richly photographed book chronicles Phoenix’s evolution into a cosmopolitan metropolis, replete with cutting-edge architecture, a burgeoning fashion scene, modern design, and vibrant public art. Local writers, photographers, and designers create a rich tapestry that documents the city’s cultural evolution.
Gober, Patricia. Metropolitan Phoenix: Place Making and Community Building in the Desert. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. Phoenix, like its sister desert megalopolises in Las Vegas and Dubai, has transformed an arid landscape into a diverse, urban community. Learn how the Valley of the Sun and its citizens have tried to avoid becoming “another L.A.” and what building a major metropolitan area in the desert means.
Scharbarch, Paul, and John H. Akers. Phoenix: Then and Now. San Diego, CA: Thunderbay Press, 2005. A fascinating before-and-after look at the Valley’s growth, the richly illustrated book contrasts historical images against contemporary shots of Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Glendale. The consistent theme: growth.
Cheek, Lawrence W. Arizona. Oakland, CA: Compass American Guides, 1997. The dense guide takes a more literary approach to exploring Arizona, with a thoughtful collection of essays about the state’s history and geographical regions, as well as its natural attractions, Native American culture, and art and architecture. The archival photos from Arizona’s early territorial days are particularly fascinating.
Kutz, Jack. Mysteries & Miracles of Arizona: Guide Book to the Genuinely Bizarre in the Grand Canyon State. Corrales, NM: Rhombus Publishing Company, 1992. The Arizona desert hides a mystical side, or at least that’s what generations of Native American shamans, fireside cowboys, and Sedona’s New Agers say. Discover the curse of the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix and the old ghost towns on the frontier.
Lindahl, Larry. Secret Sedona: Sacred Moments in the Landscape. Phoenix: Arizona Highways, 2005. Sedona’s red-hued landscape takes center stage in this lavishly illustrated book, with stunning photography and poetic descriptions that showcase the region’s massive formations, ancient Native American history, and rich geology and wildlife.
Lowe, Sam. Arizona Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, & Other Offbeat Stuff. Guilford, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 2003. Lowe, a former Arizona newspaperman, provides a humorous survey of the Grand Canyon State’s kooky history, people, and roadside attractions. Most Arizonans don’t know even half of the oddball stories, like concrete religious shrines, alien abductions, and “wild” burros that roam the streets of one town.
Treat, Wesley. Weird Arizona: Your Travel Guide to Arizona’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Sterling, 2007. Uncover the Wild West’s weird and wacky side, from outlaws and outhouses to rattlesnake-inspired bridges.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition