Tom Miller

About Tom Miller

Tom Miller is the author of the highly acclaimed Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels through Castro’s Cuba (“it may just be the best travel book about Cuba ever written,” saysLonely Planet’s Cuba). He has been writing about and traveling through Latin America and the American Southwest since the late 1960s when he moved from his native Washington, D.C. to Arizona. An early participant in the underground and alternative press, his books include The Panama Hat Trail, a classic of contemporary travel writing, On the Border, a permanent fixture in the U.S.-Mexico frontier’s literary landscape, and most recently, Jack Ruby’s Kitchen Sink: Offbeat Travels Through America’s Southwest. A renowned bambalogist, Miller has a collection of some seventy-five versions of “La Bamba” from all over the world, and compiled the Rhino Records release, “The Best of La Bamba.” His work has been widely anthologized, and he appears in Travelers’ Tales American Southwest. While researching Trading with the Enemy, Miller met and married a Cuban woman who now lives with him and her two sons in Tucson. His articles about Cuba, which he first visited in 1987, have appeared in Smithsonian, LIFE, Natural History, and The New York Times, among other publications. Miller co-directs the annual U.S.-Cuba Writers Conference, an event that brings dozens of American writers to Havana every January to mix with Cuban writers in a two-week literary detente.

Moving West, Writing East

By Tom Miller

I moved west to escape the East. I stayed west to inform the East.

This took place in the late 1960s, when the anti-war movement and its cultural twin were both flowering. There’s that window of opportunity we all have in our early 20s when there’s nothing—love, family, job, mortgage, school—to batten us

Notes on an Andean Pilgrim

by Tom Miller

A poor man’s writer.

He came to my Quito residence for dinner that equatorial night in 1982 wearing blue jeans and a recently washed button-down work shirt. I had delayed meeting the amiable white-haired Moritz Thomsen until I’d finished reading Living Poor(1969) and The Farm on the River of Emeralds (1978), two books

A Border Rat in the Twilight Zone

by Tom Miller

A journalist recalls his four decades exploring the US-Mexico border.

I am a border rat. I’ve been one since the day I hopped back and forth between countries over a fallen, rusty barbed-wire fence in the woodland along the Arizona-Mexico line some 40 years ago. Since that act of joyful anarchy, I’ve traveled

Cuba

Cuba “What Tom Miller has put together in Travelers’ Tales Cuba is as ‘Inside Cuba’ as you can get.” —Elmore Leonard, author of Cuba Libre From revolution to embargo, from the charms of old Havana to the beaches of the Bay of Pigs, from the hypnotic rhythms of Caribbean music to voodoo influences, Cuba is a country of passion and omplexity, a political dinosaur on the verge of dramatic change. In this eye-opening literary ensemble, Cuba emerges with all its strengths and weaknesses, convictions and contradictions. Notable authors include Cristina Garcia, Pico Iyer, Dave Eggers, Ruth Behar, Eduardo Galeano, Bob Shacochis, Andrei Codrescu, James A. Michener, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Henry Shukman, Robert Stone, Randy Wayne White, Patrick Symmes, Jon Lee Anderson, and many more.

Tom Miller’s Thoughts on Africa

I have a tendency to return to the same places time after time - I can tell you the best places to cross the Rio Grande, where to find black-market lobster in Havana, and which weavers make the finest Panama hats. Constantly visiting Cuba, the border, and Andean countries affords a certain expertise, but it can get tedious after a while. Africa was a refreshing challenge