New Book Features 790-Mile Foot Journey Through AZ

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Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona (University of Arizona Press) is the true account of a 790-mile foot journey through red rock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains to the obscure valley in Mexico that gave the state its enigmatic name.

Author Tom Zoellner joined us to discuss more about the newly released book.

The story of the trek is interlaced with essays about Arizona: the surprising history of the state’s GOP; the rising power of the Latino vote; the complex spirituality of Navajo land; the stucco suburbs of Phoenix; desperate border crossings; legislative skullduggery at the capitol; billion-dollar copper ventures; dehydrating rivers; retirement kingdoms; old-time food ways; ghosts of old Indian wars; honky-tonk dreamers; murder mysteries; and Grand Canyon reveries.

“I thought I knew Arizona, I think everyone who lives here is in a relationship with where they live,” said Zoellner. “Sometimes that is a contentious relationship because we are not a perfect state and I think I’ve had a long argument with Arizona but also a long love affair and this is a way to go deeper.”

How does someone write about the Grand Canyon?

“Writers of any background have struggled to describe the Grand Canyon,” said Zoellner. “It is totally indescribable and I think in that indescribability, that’s the essence of it. You will never understand it.”

Arizona’s Cuisine

The chapter, Enchiladas and Whiskey, dives deeper into Arizona’s interesting cuisine.

“There is a distinctive Arizona flavor that comes from, put simply, a collision between norteña cuisine and the southern vitals brought in by the first generation of anglo-miners to come settle,” said Zoellner.

There are a numerous amount of restaurants and bars all around the state that date back to the early days. Some examples include: Los Olivos in Scottsdale, The Sultana Bar in Williams, and The Spirit Room in Jerome, El Charro in Tucson.

To read more about Arizona, check out “Rim To River” by Tom Zoellner.

Tom Zoellner

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