Reviews of My Books


 American Character: The Curious History of Charles Fletcher Lummis
and the Rediscovery of the Southwest

Winner of the 2002 Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Biography

American Character

Arcade Publishing, 2001, 372 pgs.

“Thompson … paints an honest, vivid portrait of a man whose life was nothing short of cinematic. Charles Lummis … did more than capture the spirit of the Southwest at the turn of the century, he preserved its dignity and Native American traditions, even while his own dignity was called into question as a result of personal scandals and financial woes…. Thompson exalts Lummis’s vital accomplishments without covering up any of his flaws. The result is a compulsively engaging and spirited biography of a man as colorful as he was influential.”

Publisher’s Weekly (February 12, 2001)

“Thompson’s Lummis is a man out of time, an indefatigable 19th century adventurer whose beliefs in cultural diversity have become the shared values of our day. California too quickly forgets its heroes… It’s time for a rediscovery of the passionate, prescient and utterly endearing C.F. Lummis.”

San Francisco Chronicle (June 24, 2001)

“American Character is a colorful and compelling account of a man who was, at various times, an author, an archeologist, a newspaperman, a photographer, a poet and an early advocate for the rights of Indians, whom he insisted on calling ‘First Americans.’ ”

Los Angeles Times (March 7, 2001)

“Thompson’s biography is immensely readable, and informative to boot.”

New Mexico Magazine (November 2001)

“It is one of the most enjoyable biographies I have ever read.”

Alibi, Albuquerque weekly (July 26, 2001)


 Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the
First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State

Vintage California Cuisine

Seasonal Chef Press, 2012, 148 pgs.

“Local culinary history nerds rejoice: Author Mark Thompson has compiled a set of 300 recipes from the state’s first cookbooks for his new cookbook, Vintage California Cuisine.

“It’s a fascinating peek into the early stages of so-called California cuisine, and many of the recipes he’s dug up – asparagus pudding, strawberry omelets, pickled peaches – wouldn’t seem out of place on the menus of au courant S.F. restaurants like State Bird Provisions or Central Kitchen… [Others] are just great conversation starters at dinner parties, like a prune souflee in Hotel St. Francis chef Victor Hirtzler’s L’Arte Culinaire, which Hirtzler described as ‘a nice pudding that everyone invariably likes.’ ”

Anna Roth, SF Weekly, September 14, 2012


 Vintage Vegetarian Cuisine: Early Advocates of a Vegetable Diet
and Some of Their Recipes, From 1699 to 1935

Vintage Vegetarian Cuisine

Seasonal Chef Press, 2014, 148 pgs.

“Mark Thompson’s book…tries to add some historical depth to our current understanding of the vegetarian and vegan diets. He has selected 250 recipes from vegetarian cookbooks dating back to 1699….

“Thompson is a good investigator and charming writer. His histories are well told and insightful, giving us a look at a now-mainstream idea back when it was still out on the edge of the fringe’s margin. And although theres no overriding notion of a unifying cuisine, the recipes will no doubt inspire some culinary exploration. I, for one, cant wait to hear about your version of Jellied Soy Salad, Parsnip Cake or Savory Brick.”

The Shuttle, Weaver’s Way Co-Op, February 2015