Tony Hillerman: A Life


Product Details

$29.95  $27.85
University of Oklahoma Press
Publish Date
8.0 X 9.2 X 1.2 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

James McGrath Morris is an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author. His books include The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War; Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press; and Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


From James McGrath Morris--author of superb biographies--comes this remarkably rich, absorbing, and varied life of beloved mystery writer Tony Hillerman. With his canny eye for the telling detail, Morris tracks the author's evolution from a poor Oklahoma boy growing up alongside members of the Citizen Potawatomie Nation to a reporter plying the streets of small towns and New Mexico's state capital, a journey also marked by harrowing combat in the Battle of the Bulge. Tony Hillerman is packed with insight into how a journalist revamped the mystery genre even as he became one of its most original and gifted practitioners, introducing readers to the extraordinary lifeways and beliefs of the Navajo and other Southwestern peoples. Providing a deft and nuanced look at issues surrounding cultural appropriation, this is a biography that becomes, as Hillerman termed facts transformed by imagination, "the stuff of art."--Caroline Fraser, author of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

"James McGrath Morris's Tony Hillerman is beautiful and fascinating biography, not just the life of a remarkable writer but also a vivid depiction of the world that Hillerman grew up in--the American West, ranch and church, the war--and his career as a reporter and novelist that culminated, late in life, in international fame and best-sellerdom. Hillerman was a huge inspiration to me as a young writer. I truly love this book."--Douglas Preston, author of The Lost City of the Monkey God and the Agent Pendergast series

"A towering figure in the realm of mystery fiction like Tony Hillerman is worthy of a biography of monumental proportions, a book that can encompass the grace, talent, and humanity of not only the man but his incredible body of work. James McGrath Morris's Tony Hillerman: A Life is that book--one of the most thoughtful, detailed, and captivating biographies I've read in a very long time."--Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries

"James McGrath Morris's telling of Tony Hillerman's life is a delicious weave of the man, the times that made the man, and how he shaped those times. After reading Tony Hillerman, I feel, rather than having met Tony once and admired him for decades, I have been his friend forever. Or, more to the point, I wish I was."--Nevada Barr, author of the Anna Pigeon mystery series
"Here at last we have a biography of one of the true masters of detective fiction, and one of the most popular and perspicacious writers ever to call the Desert Southwest home. In this scrupulous work, James McGrath Morris artfully guides us into Tony Hillerman's personal and literary worlds--and taps into the peculiar magic of this beloved novelist's work. Diehard fans and neophytes alike will gain intriguing insights into how Hillerman was able to spin those unforgettable mysteries set in the red rock kingdom of the Navajo."--Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission
"The biography, like Hillerman's fiction, is deeply researched, lovingly detailed and eminently readable."--Albuquerque Journal

"This first major biography of iconic Western mystery novelist Tony Hillerman is substantial, engrossing and often surprising."--Roundup Magazine, Western Writers of America

"Skillfully written, Hillerman's fans will want to give this a look."--Publishers Weekly

"In Tony Hillerman: A Life, award-winning biographer James McGrath Morris tracks the author's movements with thriller-like pacing. From Hillerman's formative combat tours in World War II to his years at the Santa Fe New Mexican to his latter-day incarnation as a chronicler of the Navajo way of life, Morris colors in the shadows of one of New Mexico's best-loved authors."--New Mexico Magazine