Join author John M. Glionna on a journey to discover the real Nevada, a place inhabited by diverse, spirited, and sometimes quirky people who make up the fabric of the Silver State. Outback Nevada explores the far-flung corners of the seventh-largest state in the nation and introduces its readers to the humanity, courage, strength, and charm of these little-known Americans. Each story is part of the vast collection of published articles Glionna has written during his decades of work as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Glionna’s interest in Nevada’s rugged, isolated landscape and the people who choose to live in this often-harsh environment was born of his own wanderings into the “outback.” Through his stories, he shares intimate portraits of rural and small-town lifestyles not many understand. Readers meet men with names like Flash and Mr. Cool; will listen to a cowboy minister preach the word of God to his parishioners; will walk with an antiques dealer from Genoa as he hunts for denim in Nevada’s abandoned nineteenth-century mine shafts; and will learn from an ex-paramedic– turned–coffee-shop–owner who provides Boulder City with a true sense of community. Full of humor, eccentricities, and compassion, these stories reveal the state’s true nature and extend an invitation to get lost “somewhere out there” in the real Nevada.
Acknowledgments Preface: The There Out There
The North Flash and Mr. Cool The Rural Nevada Football Team That Rarely Scores Cowboy Ministers Coach 17: Preserving Nevada's Railroad History Frank Van Zant's Feverish Rural Dream A New Vintage for Nevada Farming The Denim Hunters
The South The Priest Who Conducts Mass in a Casino The Cowboy Commissioner Queens of the Mexican Rodeo Former Addict Helps Keep Rural Addicts Clean The Beard of Knowledge Miss Kathy's Way or the Highway The Coffee Cup: Tending to Hearts and Stomachs Death Squad: Sorting Out the Remains of the Rural Dead
The Center Outback Nevada's Women Pioneer Pals Where the Drinkers—and the Chickens—Come Home to Roost Jack Malotte: A Rural Native Artist Gets Political The Circuit Judge Upholds an Old-Time Tradition At This Joint, You Swallow Your Politics with Your Food The Coyote Hunters A California Family Breathes New Life into a Historic Nevada Town Dodging a Virus in Esmeralda County Steel and Sweat: Forging Yesterday's Tools An Architectural Gem Rises from the Ruins Jim Marsh's Rural Dream
The East The Last Sheepherder A City Girl with a Pickup, an Attitude and a Mission to Save Wild Horses Being a Gay Mayor in Nevada's Outback When Death Calls, Jay Gunter Answers the Phone A Small-Town Police Blotter Tells Tall Tales The Last Straw: A Rural Home Built from Hay Keeping a Dying Native American Language Alive Oddly Names Towns Recall Nevada's Colorful Past Lessons of a One-Room Schoolhouse
The West The Reluctant Innkeeper Wild Horse Auctions Nevada's U.S. Highway 50: A Road Less Traveled Lethal Letha, the Big Cat Hunter A Small-Town Museum Struggles for Survival Nevada's Starry Nights: The Ultimate Cool Nevada's Brothel Lobbyist: Promoting the World's Oldest Profession One Man's Hard-Luck Castle The Keeper of the Keys at a Ghost Hotel Epilogue: An Old Fox Named Lamb
About the Author Permissions and Source Acknowledgments
John M. Glionna was a Seoul-based Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent from 2008 to 2012 and covered South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Pacific Islands. Later, as the paper’s Las Vegas bureau chief, Glionna covered the American West. He has written extensively about California and co-taught a journalism course at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Glionna is now a freelance writer who divides his time between Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
“Nevada is the American West’s state of contradictions. . . .John M. Glionna embraces these contradictions. . . . [His] writing is entertaining, humorous, and respectful. Most importantly, he discredits a misconception of rural Nevada.” —Michelle Follette Turk, Western Historical Quarterly
"Glionna masterfully weaves historical anecdotes and rich descriptions of the terrain with residents’ unique dialects, reminding readers that, in storytelling, it’s all in the details. . . . Glionna carefully tends to both the sentences and the people [the stories] showcase, making for a funny, informative, and memorable statewide road trip." —Brittany Bronson, Los Angeles Review of Books
“I dare you to stop reading a John Glionna story. I know I couldn’t. Every time I hop on board . . . I know I am in for a smart, informative and highly entertaining ride. It’s impossible not to take the journey to the end. His work is a real treat!” —Michael Connelly, The New York Times best-selling author of crime fiction
“[Glionna’s] deep reporting and lucid explanatory writing evokes the McPhee school, but he tends to sprinkle his meat and potatoes with a kind of cosmic Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust from the crinkled bag of his subconscious. Enjoy the burn. And wash hands thoroughly after contact.” —Richard Fausset, The New York Times Atlanta bureau chief
“This collection is a vivid tapestry of human stories, representing twenty-first-century rural life in a state known for its eccentricity. John Glionna has made a career of portraying rural Nevadans, and the essays collected here are masterful glimpses into the realities of the region’s diverse residents. . . . the author presents them with precise details, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor.” —Scott Slovic, University Distinguished Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of Idaho, and author of twenty-seven books, including Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility
“Glionna brings life to unique and sometimes almost absurd characters, introducing a side of Nevada few may know exist.” —Roberta L. Moore, park ranger, Great Basin National Park (retired); editor of Wild Nevada: Testimonies on Behalf of the Desert; author, artist, and activist