Frank Waters

Frank Waters (1902–1995), one of the finest chroniclers of the American Southwest, wrote twenty–eight works of fiction and nonfiction.

Listed in: Fiction · Biography · Religion · American Literature · Literary Criticism · Nature · Native American Studies · History · American History · Western Americana · Literary Studies




Based on one of the most significant periods in Frank Waters's own life, Pike's Peak is perhaps the most complete expression of all the archetypal themes he explored in both fiction and nonfiction. In The Dust within the Rock, the third book in the Pikes Peak saga, an aging Joseph Rogier clings to his vision of finding gold in the great mountain and his grandson Marsh comes of age in the Rogier household.

“Waters represented a wonder-filled, romantic West—a wild place possessing a great people and an even greater landscape of deep desert canyons and mystic mountain slopes.”

Telluride Times Journal




In Below Grass Roots, the second book in Frank Waters's Pikes Peak saga, turn-of-the-century Colorado Springs is prospering with the mining boom and a growing tourist industry. Patriarch Joseph Rogier becomes ever more obsessed with the treasures of the towering mountain and tries to enlist his son-in-law Jonathan Cable in his mining schemes. Cable instead leaves for Navajo country with his young son.

“The prose of Frank Waters seems almost as timeless as the Southwest of which he writes so elegantly and so eloquently.”

Colorado Libraries




The Wild Earth's Nobility is the first of Frank Waters's semiautobiographical novels in the Pikes Peak saga. Here, in a frontier town in the shadow of the commanding mountain, the Rogier family settles near an age-old route of migrating Native Americans. In an era of prospecting, silver strikes, and frenzied mining, Joseph Rogier becomes a successful building contractor, rears a large family, and is gradually overwhelmed by the power of the great peak.

“If there does exist for each of us a psychological archetype, or a Guru, manifested as a physical mountain, Pikes Peak is mine.”

Frank Waters




Pure Waters · Frank Waters and the Quest for the Cosmic
By Frank Waters · Edited by Barbara Waters

The novels and nonfiction work of writer Frank Waters stand as a monument to his genius and to his lifetime quest to plumb the spiritual depths that he found for himself in the landscape and people of his beloved Southwest. In a career spanning more than half a century, he shared, through his many books, his insights and discoveries with countless readers across the globe.




A Frank Waters Reader · A Southwestern Life in Writing
By Frank Waters · Edited by Thomas J. Lyon

Over the course of his life, Frank Waters amassed a body of work that has few equals in the literature of the American West. Because his was a writing that touched every facet of the Western experience, his voice still echoes throughout that region's literary world. Swallow Press is especially proud to present this generous sampling of Frank Waters's writings. A Frank Waters Reader encompasses the full range of his work and draws from both his nonfiction and his many novels.

"This compilation is a delight, effectively sharing the author's life and lifelong passion for the American West through his prose and a selection of photographs. Recommended for all libraries."

LIbrary Journal




“Mysticism is peculiar to the mountainbred,” Frank Waters once told an interviewer for Psychology Today. And in Mountain Dialogues, available for the first time in paperback, the mountainbred Waters proves it true. Ranging over such diverse subjects as silence, spirits, time, change, and the sacred mountains of the world, Waters sounds again and again the radiant, mystic theme of man’s inherent wholeness and his oneness with the cosmos.




Brave Are My People · Indian Heroes Not Forgotten
By Frank Waters

Pontiac, Sequoyah, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Chief Seattle. These legendary names are familiar even to the uninitiated in Native American history, yet the life stories of these great spiritual leaders have been largely unknown. In this, his last book, internationally celebrated author Frank Waters makes vivid the poignant, humorous, and tragic stories of these neglected and heroic Native Americans.




To Possess the Land · A Biography of Arthur Rochford Manby
By Frank Waters

Ambitious and only 24 years old, Arthur Manby arrived from England in the Territory of New Mexico in 1883, and saw in its wilderness an empire that he believed himself destined to rule. For his kingdom, he chose a vast Spanish land grant near Taos, a wild 100,000 acres whose ancient title was beyond question. Obsessed, he poured more than 20 years into his dream of glory, and schemed, stole, lied, cajoled, begged, and bribed to take the vast grant from its rightful owners.




Mexico Mystique · The Coming Sixth World of Consciousness
By Frank Waters

In Mexico Mystique Frank Waters draws us deeply into the ancient but still-living myths of Mexico. To reveal their hidden meanings and their powerful symbolism, he brings to bear his gift for intuitive imagination as well as a broad knowledge of anthropology, Jungian psychology, astrology, and Eastern and esoteric religions. He offers a startling interpretation of the Mayan Great Cycle — our present Fifth World — whose beginning has been projected to 3113 B.C.,

“This penetrating account of Mexican history, legend, myth and ancient civilizations is altogether enthralling…[Waters] is an accomplished writer whose handling of complex material never blunders into confusion.”

Publishers Weekly




Pike’s Peak · A Mining Saga
By Frank Waters

During the fabulous reign of Colorado Silver, innumerable prospectors passed by Pike’s Peak on their way to the silver strikes at Leadville, Aspen, and the boom camps in the Saguache, Sangre de Cristo, and San Juan mountain. Then, in 1890, a carpenter named Winfield Scott Stratton discovered gold along Cripple Creek. By 1900, this six square mile area on the south slope of Pike’s Peak supported 475 mines and led the world in gold production.

“…An eloquent, impressive job, an old-fashioned kind of novel about real people, without gimmicks or false dramatics, and with a great deal of fascinating mining lore.”

Publishers Weekly




Based on the real life of Edith Warner, who ran a tearoom at Otowi Crossing, just below Los Alamos, The Woman at Otowi Crossing is the story of Helen Chalmer, a person in tune with her adopted environment and her neighbors in the nearby Indian pueblo and also a friend of the first atomic scientists. The secret evolution of atomic research is a counterpoint to her psychic development.




Frank Waters, whose work has spanned half a century, has continually attempted to depict the reconciliation of opposites, to heal the national wounds of polarization. Flight From Fiesta, Waters’ first novel in nearly two decades, is testimony to that aspiration, emerging as a moving and masterfully–told story of two characters who must discover the potential for common ground between their personalities.

“Mr. Waters…is noted for the painterly eye he brings to the Southwest. Here, it remains as keen as ever…Flight From Fiesta has an admirable authenticity and humaneness.”

New York Times Book Review




"The novel was begun in 1926, when I was twenty-four years old and working as a telephone engineer in Imperial Valley, on the California-Baja California border. During my stay there I made a horseback trip down into the little-known desert interior of Lower California. After having lived all of my early years in the high Rockies of California, I was unprepared for the vast sweep of sunstruck desert with its flat wastes, clumps of cacti, and barren parched-rock ranges.

“The prose of Frank Waters seems almost as timeless as the Southwest of which he writes so elegantly and so eloquently. … The Lizard Woman is the story of a journey, and of a discovery. It is a brief, but powerful and compelling story.”

Jerry Keenan, Colorado Libraries




The vast Colorado River collects water from the highest Rocky Mountain peaks and traverses the widest plateaus, the deepest canyons, and the lowest deserts before emptying into the delta of northern Mexico. This austere land and mighty river resist exploration, settlement, and description. But in the hands of one of the West's great writers, Frank Waters, the history and lore of its past make irresistible reading and a resounding case for mankind's respect for the environment.

“Outstanding.”

New York Times




W. Y. Evans–Wentz, great Buddhist scholar and translator of such now familiar works as the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, spent his final years in California. There, in the shadow of Cuchama, one of the Earth’s holiest mountains, he began to explore the astonishing parallels between the spiritual teaching of America’s native peoples and that of the deeply mystical Hindus and Tibetans.

“For Cuchama emerges as a passionate exploration of the psychic unity of East and West. …Evans–Wentz offers here a personal narrative that intertwines his erudite attention to esoteric lore with his own quest for psychic illumination.”

Michael Loudon, University of Oklahoma, World Literature Today




Pumpkin Seed Point · Being Within the Hopi
By Frank Waters

Frank Waters lived for 3 years among the strange, secretive Hopi Indians of Arizona and was quickly drawn into their mythic, timeless reality. Pumpkin Seed Point is a beautifully written personal account of Waters' inner and outer experiences in the subterranean world.

“A distinguished ethnologist with a warm sympathy and a good reporter’s eye, Waters describes his experiences with the Hopi Indians in this book…He has the gift of immersing himself in his subject and shows clearly how the Hopis…are affected by the conflicts of modern life as are their white counterparts.”

Publishers Weekly




Midas of the Rockies · Biography of Winfield Scott Stratton, Croesus of Cripple Creek
By Frank Waters · Introduction by Marshall Sprague

This reprint makes available again Frank Waters’ dramatic and colorful 1937 biography of Winfield Scott Stratton, the man who struck it rich at the foot of Pike’s Peak and turned Cripple Creek into the greatest gold camp on earth. More than regional history, Midas of the Rockies is a story so fabulously impossible and yet so painfully true that it commends itself to the whole of America, the only earth, the only people who could have created it.

“Mr. Waters has done a fine piece of work, valuable and distinctly entertaining.”

C. J. Finger




In this novel of the mestizo, or mixed-blood, Frank Waters completes the Southwestern canvas begun in The Man Who Killed the Deer and People of the Valley. Set in a violent Mexican border town, the story centers on Barby, a tormented mestizo, Guadalupe, the mestiza “percentage-girl,” and Tai-Ling, the serene yogi.

"This is a tragic book, the dark struggles of the mestizos, and the philosophy of Tai Ling permeating it like a pervasive incense."

Santa Fe New Mexican




Masked Gods · Navaho and Pueblo Ceremonialism
By Frank Waters

Masked Gods is a vast book, a challenging and profoundly original account of the history, legends, and ceremonialism of the Navaho and Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. Following a brief but vivid history of the two tribes through the centuries of conquest, the book turns inward to the meaning of Indian legends and ritual—Navaho songs, Pueblo dances, Zuni kachina ceremonies.




The Man Who Killed the Deer · A Novel of Pueblo Indian Life
By Frank Waters

The story of Martiniano, the man who killed the deer, is a timeless story of Pueblo Indian sin and redemption, and of the conflict between Indian and white laws; written with a poetically charged beauty of style, a purity of conception, and a thorough understanding of Indian values.

“By far the finest novel of American Indian life I have ever read.”

Saturday Review of Literature




One of Frank Waters's most popular novels, People of the Valley takes place high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains where an isolated Spanish-speaking people confront a threatening world of change.

"Mr. Waters has created in Old Maria a character of vital and lyrical intensity. His "people of the valley' are humble, earnest, superstitious, lovable folk, the stuff of nature, the elementary stuff of a decent and prevailing humanity."

The Los Angeles Times