John Nichols

Like Edward Abbey, John Nichols has become identified with the Southwest and with a style of writing at once highly polemical and eminently readable. His classic novel, The Milagro Beanfield War, brought the complex and highly charged social relations of New Mexico to the attention of the world; yet, like Barbara Kingsolver and Denise Chavez, even his most passionate political works are filled with generous doses of humor and compassion. John Nichols has grown from an irrepressible prep-school graduate to a Southwestern legend and a symbol for Hispanic-Anglo cultural crossings.

Nichols brings his readers face-to-face with the more unpleasant aspects of rapid development in a largely rural region. Nichols has been called a modern-day Steinbeck, and, like Terry McMillan and Arizona writer Alberto Rios, his characters inhabit the racial, cultural, and class borderlands that divide and define the American Southwest.

"I've always believed, if you're involved even in a very small struggle--in some sort of infinity in a grain of sand--in your local neighborhood, that every action has universal implications. I believe that if I struggle for the rights of an acequia in Taos, New Mexico, that the ripple effect [will spread] from that tiny struggle."

John Nichols

Click here to hear an excerpt on John Nichols from Writing the Southwest.