The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in O'Odham Country

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University of Arizona Press, Apr 1, 2002 - Nature - 148 pages
7 Reviews
Longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert, the Tohono O'odham people have spent centuries living off the land—a land that most modern citizens of southern Arizona consider totally inhospitable. Ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan has lived with the Tohono O'odham, long known as the Papagos, observing the delicate balance between these people and their environment. Bringing O'odham voices to the page at every turn, he writes elegantly of how they husband scant water supplies, grow crops, and utilize wild edible foods. Woven through his account are coyote tales, O'odham children's impressions of the desert, and observations on the political problems that come with living on both sides of an international border. Whether visiting a sacred cave in the Baboquivari Mountains or attending a saguaro wine-drinking ceremony, Nabhan conveys the everyday life and extraordinary perseverance of these desert people in a book that has become a contemporary classic of environmental literature.

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Review: The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country

User Review  - Priscilla - Goodreads

A wonderful introduction to a native peoples and their way of life, adapted to living in the desert for centuries and centuries. Fascinating scientifically as well as wonderful stories. Very well written. Read full review

Review: The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country

User Review  - Katie Hutchinson - Goodreads

I loved the natural first-person narration of this book. The stories are a mix of old and new, myth and science, but all are so meaningful for those of us living in the area. Read full review

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About the author (2002)

A MacArthur Fellow and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, Gary Paul Nabhan is Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University.

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