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the norton trilogyThe Norton Trilogy
by Jack August

320 pages, 6 x 9 • Cloth $37.95
ISBN 978-0-87565-547-5

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The Norton Trilogy is a quintessentially American story. As it follows the trials and tribulations of three generations of Arizona farmers, it chronicles the rise of one of the most influential families in the Southwest.  While following the lives of John R. Norton (1854-1923), John R. Norton Jr. (1901-1987), and John R. Norton III (1929-present), The Norton Trilogy examines the development of modern farming in the southwestern United States, from the introduction of diverse crops in the twentieth century to the introduction of the water irrigation policies that drive modern agribusiness.


The Norton Trilogy is not simply the tale of an enterprising family, although the family dynamics of the three generations of Nortons is critical to the successes and failures of the family. The legacy of rapidly developing farming technology leaves its mark on the family and Arizona agriculture. August leads us through the events that led to the dissemination of interstate irrigation water, the economic trials that threatened the Norton farms with total collapse, and public policies that both hampered and enabled the success of the Norton family. Readers everywhere will be captivated by the generation-to-generation struggles of a family business and the interplay of interstate politics and public policy.


  • "The Norton family reaches back in the history of Arizona as far as the Udalls, Goldwaters, Babbitts, and DeConcinis. The Nortons were universally praised as farmers and cattlemen of the first order—three generations provided foodstuffs for the ever-growing population in Arizona and beyond. This fascinating account not only highlights private enterprise and public service, it also serves as an historical metaphor for the growth and development of Arizona and the Greater Southwest over the past 150 years."

    former Senator Dennis DeConcini, D-Arizona

  • "Perhaps no family has had a more multi-generational impact on the state of Arizona than the Nortons.  They've stood at the intersection of agriculture, water, livestock, and politics for nearly a century and a half, and we are all the better for it.  I've benefited personally from John Norton III's counsel for years. . . .  It would be hard to imagine Arizona without the impact of these three generations of Nortons.  I'm glad we don't have to." 

    Senator Jeff Flake, R-Arizona

  • "During my years as Governor, John Norton was my "go to" Republican. Working together, we discovered a lot of common ground for making water policy and promoting agriculture. This book, detailing the remarkable history of three generations, should help us to understand and renew bipartisan cooperation."

    Former Governor Bruce Babbitt, D-Arizona