Tucson: A Drama in Time

Finalist for Nonfiction Award, Tucson Festival of Books

Tucson: A Drama in Time is historical literary nonfiction. It unfolds and interweaves historical facts and stories about Tucson in a way that allows the reader to experience the drama of that story.

Starting a million years ago with the emergence of Sentinel Peak just west of the current city, the book goes on to describe the period before humans arrived, the arrival of different groups of humans in pre-history, the arrival of the Europeans in the region in 1692, and the arrival of the Americans during the Mexican-American War.

Stories of territorial Arizona follow, of Tucson after it achieved statehood in 1912, and of the development of the city after World War II, ending the account in 2014. Why end in 2014? “Well, it had to end sometime,” says Warnock. The book ends, however, “To Be Continued.”

[O]ne place comprehended can help us understand other places better.

Eudora Welty

Celebrated Southern Writer

A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.

Sir Patrick Geddes

Pioneering Urban Planner

Readers who want to share stories of the drama in time that is Tucson can submit them on the Contact page.


A must-read

“A must-read for anyone who cares about how we got where we are. Full of detail that both surprises and explains.”

— Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson, 2011–2019

More than just a chronological history

Tucson: A Drama in Time is more than just a chronological history of Tucson. It is the story of the people, the land, and the cultures that have come together to make Tucson the community it is today.”

— Johanna Eubank, Digital Producer and Archivist for the Arizona Daily Star

Tucson native John Warnock paints a remarkably full picture of the history of the Old Pueblo

“The volume of facts he offers about the city and its region seems encyclopedic — the period covered begins with the volcanic extrusion that produced Sentinel Peak 1 million years ago and closes in 2014 — but Warnock’s approach makes it very accessible.”

— Christine Wald-Hopkins

Read the full review in the Arizona Daily Star:

Art-inspired poetry, Tucson history and a dogged rescuer

Resources for this book

Lots of online resources, as well as written documents, were examined during the writing of Tucson: A Drama in Time. Some of the online resources are collected here for readers who may wish to browse further in some areas. Books may also be read. Visits to the Library & Archives of the Arizona Historical Society and University of Arizona Library’s Special Collections are recommended. Librarians and archivists are just some of the best people.

Online Resources

Selected Documents and Stories by Those Who Came Before

Selected Documents and Stories by Those Who Came Before

Resources on the Web

Resources on the Web