Neil Miller’s Story of Kartchner Caverns

Award-winning author Neil Miller tells the dramatic and inspiring story of how young cavers Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen stumbled upon a hidden world of awe and wonder—Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns. Delving deep into the discovery and the secrecy they maintained for fourteen years, Miller also relates how, through stubborn advocacy, Tufts and Tenen ultimately preserved and helped transform Kartchner Caverns into a major public attraction.

In November 1974 amateur spelunkers Tufts and Tenen stumbled upon a virgin cave, a landscape untouched and unseen for hundreds of thousands of years. In cave terminology, this underground oasis was "living"—water still seeped down the limestone walls, depositing minerals that slowly built up into stunningly beautiful formations. In a time when countless caves had been destroyed by vandals and looters who had defaced the walls and had broken formations, this pristine discovery was every caver’s dream. Miller’s fascinating account of the fight to preserve Kartchner Caverns lends us the same sense of awe and urgency.

In an arresting tale spanning the twenty-five year period in which Tufts and Tenen struggled to protect their find, Miller skillfully weaves together personal interviews, biographical information, political maneuvering, and geological facts. Presented in full color with dazzling photographs showcasing the natural wonder of the caverns, this is an invitation to take in the mysterious, stunning beauty of a cave as if discovering it for the first time.

This narrative offers a chance to go beyond the guidebooks with its revealing look at this unspoiled natural wonder and the science of cave conservation. With as much depth and colorful detail as the caverns themselves, this page-turning account will captivate anyone interested in caves and the preservation of natural wonders.

NEIL MILLER teaches journalism and nonfiction writing at Tufts University. He is a former staff writer at the Boston Phoenix and is the award-winning author of four books, including In Search of Gay America: Women and Men in a Time of Change.

Book awards:
  • May 9, 2009, the Arizona Book Publishing Association announced the winner of the Best Book Award, Kartchner Caverns How Two Cavers Discovered and Saved One of the Wonders of the Natural World by Neil Miller, published by UA Press. The Arizona Book Awards, whose award is known as a Glyph Award, help to promote and support quality work created in or about Arizona and to recognize excellence in craft and creation in the Arizona book industry.

  • The Border Regional Library Association selected Kartchner Caverns: How Two Cavers Discovered and Saved One of the Wonders of the Natural World, to receive a 2009 Southwest Book Award. Since 1971 the Southwest Book Awards have been presented in recognition of outstanding books about the Southwest published each year in any genre.
Package of DVD and Book:

Enjoy reading and watching the story of Kartchner Caverns when you purchase the Jewel of the Desert DVD and the Neil Miller award winning book, Kartchner Caverns How Two Cavers Discovered and Saved One of the Wonders of the Natural World, for $40 plus shipping.

If you are sending this package as a gift we will gift wrap for no extra charge.

Click here to order online.