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DESERT CHROME: Water, a Woman,
& Wild Horses in the West

by Kathryn Wilder





KATHRYN WILDER's essays have been listed as Notable in The Best American Essays and have appeared in such publications as High Desert Journal, River Teeth, Fourth Genre, Southern Indiana Review, High Country News, Sierra, many Hawai`i magazines, and more than a dozen anthologies. She is a past finalist for both the Ellen Meloy Fund Desert Writers’ Award and the Waterston Desert Writing Prize. A graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, she lives among mustangs in southwestern Colorado.


Kathryn Wilder’s personal story of grief, motherhood, and return to the desert entwines with the story of mustangs as she makes a home on the Colorado Plateau on property bordering a BLM herd management area. Desert Chrome illuminates these controversial creatures—their plight, what they mean to us, and what can be done to help both habitat and horses stay healthy and wild—and celebrates the animal nature in us all.   

May 2021 | Nonfiction | 978-1-94881436-2 | $18.95 


“Wilder’s love of horses and the land is the theme threaded through her,

and her writing makes a heartsong of it all.” 
LIDIA YUKNAVITCH, author of The Misfit’s Manifesto 

“Desert Chrome journeys through parched valleys, on wild rivers, and into deep rock canyons on a unique quest. In this authentic, hard-won account of her life, Kathryn Wilder finds the warm, true hearts she’s been seeking and that deserve our humanity, healing, and a hell of a lot better future than they’ve been dealt. There’s a quiet heroine at the center of this story, yes, pointing toward a beautiful world. It can be ours if we'll love better, lean closer, and listen to the voices, like Wilder’s own, well worth heeding from birth.”
 —REBECCA LAWTON, author of The Oasis This Time

“A raw and honest journey of addiction, love, trauma, and redemption—grounded in a deep love of place and all things mustang. The best memoirs reveal the deeply personal in order to see the larger world with renewed clarity and insight—this is one such book. As Wilder moves from heroin to horses, we see a substantive journey of recovery and strength—and ultimately, of resilience.”
 —LAURA PRITCHETT, author of Stars Go Blue


“I learned so much reading Kathryn Wilder’s book, Desert Chrome—about wild horses. About desert and water. About Kat. We were neighbors years ago, but the new paths along which, with smooth and stunning prose, she leads readers into the depths of her life suggest how little we know those close to us. And how huge life can be once we commit with our whole hearts to wildness.”
 —BROOKE WILLIAMS, author of Open Midnight

“For too long, the lone cowboy myth has corralled the American West in the barbed wires of dominion and destruction. Tangled in that telling are women and mustangs—their wildness, togetherness, and vulnerability. In Desert Chrome, Kathryn Wilder bucks against a story as desiccated as the deserts she has dwelled in—kicking hard enough to free what was bound, to redeem what was broken. Listen now, to the thundering of hearts and hooves. They’re coming for us, at last.” 

AMY IRVINE, author of Air Mail and Desert Cabal

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