Synopses & Reviews
From mountain shrines to lowland oases, ethnobiologist Gary Nabhan takes us on a series of journeys with contemporary Papago Indians, the Tohono O'odham, or "Desert People." From these journeys we discover how much the Desert People know about the dynamics of their arid homeland in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The Desert Smells Like Rain
offers insights into the natural history of desert plants and animals as it documents a dying agricultural tradition that has enriched the biological diversity of the Papago's seemingly harsh environment. Drawing on his extensive scientific research and study of Papago folklore, as well as his years of work among the Desert People in village gardening and nutrition programs, Nabhan portrays a desert-adapted way of life that has persisted despite the pressures of modern civilization.
"Gary Nabhan's compassionate observation of Papago land ethics is important work, capable of broad application. He is a naturalist in the full sense of the word, because he has not forgotten the people."--Barry Lopez
"He manages, in a series of spare and sometimes tantalizing selections, to convey a real sense of people and their environment."--The Village Voice
"His eyes are those of a scientist, his prose and vision a poet's: spare, evocative, respectful of both facts and mysteries."--Orion Nature Quarterly
"His sensitive and compassionate portrayal of the Papagos is a real contribution."--Rep. Morris K. Udal
About the Author
Gary Paul Nabhan is an ethnobiologist and natural history writer working in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. A cofounder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, he works with native farmers throughout the Southwest and northern Mexico to conserve traditional food plants and their associated folklore. He was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing in 1976, following the publication of his second book, Gathering the Desert. He and his family currently reside in Tempe, Arizona, near the Desert Botanical Garden, where he serves as Assistant Director.