Southwest •  History and Environmental Studies

$24.95 paperback

Add to Cart

Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range

Revised and Expanded Edition

William deBuys

Winner of the Richard Harris Award for Publishing Excellence from the New Mexico Book Association

First published in 1985, William deBuys’s Enchantment and Exploitation has become a New Mexico classic. It offers a complete account of the relationship between society and environment in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico, a region unique in its rich combination of ecological and cultural diversity. Now, more than thirty years later, this revised and expanded edition provides a long-awaited assessment of the quality of the journey that New Mexican society has traveled in that time—and continues to travel.

In a new final chapter deBuys examines ongoing transformations in the mountains’ natural systems—including, most notably, developments related to wildfires—with significant implications for both the land and the people who depend on it. As the climate absorbs the effects of an industrial society, deBuys argues, we can no longer expect the environmental future to be a reiteration of the environmental past.


William deBuys is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures. He lives in northern New Mexico.


“William deBuys is a nature writer who brings clear and deep insights to his subjects. . . . [Enchantment and Exploitation] tells the long, twin, interlaced stories of the human history and the natural history of northern New Mexico through the lens of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.”


Albuquerque Journal

“A classic work of regional history and cultural analysis.”



“Everything that made Enchantment and Exploitation a kind of instant classic of New Mexico history is still here. Those elements are worth revisiting and mulling three decades later.”


New Mexico Historical Review

“An eloquent, elegant, and continuously informative book.”


Robert Adams, New York Review of Books

“My choice as the best bioregional history anyone has written to date.”


Dan Flores, Environmental History Review

“A valuable contribution to the new environmental history. . . . [deBuys] knows the mountains and their residents as intimately as he knows his primary and secondary sources. This personal experience, along with numerous maps and pictures, brings the place to life.”


Patricia Limerick, Environmental Review

6 x 9 in. 384 pages 73 halftones, 9 maps, 1 graph, 6 tables