College students are busy. Twnety-page research papers, hundreds of pages of reading, mid-terms and finals take up hours of students’ time. Most students would not consider writing a book in the time left after finishing grueling hours of homework. Patrick Whitehurst, on the other hand, wrote and published a book in his last semester at NAU. 

Whitehurst is the author of Williams, published by Arcadia Publishing, a book which chronicles the history of Williams through historic photographs. The book offers readers a taste of the history of not only Williams, but of small town northern Arizona as well.

“This book offers readers a look into the past through snapshots of the early people of Williams,” said Kai Oliver-Kurtin, publicity manager for Arcadia Publishing. “History buffs, rail enthusiasts, rodeo fans and Grand Canyon visitors would all be interested in the book, as well as all the residents of Williams who simply appreciate their local history.” 

Whitehurst, a resident of Williams, knew quite a bit of the history of the area. He had previously self-published the book Legends, Ghosts, and Superstitions of Williams and the Grand Canyon.

Whitehurst began his relationship with Arcadia Publishing while he was working as a reporter for the Williams-Grand Canyon News. Arcadia sent books which investigated Arizona towns such as Ash Fork, Prescott and Jerome to the paper to be reviewed. Whitehurst decided he wanted to be involved in writing about the history of small towns, particularly Williams. 

“Patrick realized that Williams didn’t have a book dedicated to the Williams area, so he was in touch with our Arizona acquisitions editor, Jared Jackson, about getting the project off the ground,” Oliver-Kurtin said.

Whitehurst was given four months to gather information for the book. He researched and wrote while preparing for his graduation in May 2008 from NAU’s Graduate College.

“I was working on the book while I was going to school, so it was difficult,” Whitehurst said. “There were a lot of really late nights, but I had a deadline to meet.”

He was able to utilize some of the research he had done for his previous book on ghosts for Williams.

“It was fairly easy to get my hands on the historic pictures since I already had connections,” Whitehurst said. “I gathered photos and then picked through for the best 200.”

After gathering the photos, Whitehurst faced the new obstacle of writing the captions and organizing the pictures.

“It was a challenge for myself to write a history book,” Whitehurst said. “I had never done it before.” 

Misty Dunny, a junior accounting major, considers herself a “huge history buff” who loves to read. She thinks this book will be a really entertaining and informative read.

“I love old pictures,” Dunny said. “I think it’s so interesting to see how life was back then. It’s cool too, because I grew up in this area, so it’s neat to actually see the history.”

Whitehurst’s success with his book offers encouragement to Dunny, who expressed uncertainty regarding life after graduation.

“I think it’s so awesome that an NAU student is published,” Dunny said. “It’s not like I want to write a book or anything, but it makes me think that maybe I could be known for something that I do after I graduate. It makes me feel like all these opportunities we hear about are real.”

Williams was released on Nov. 3. Oliver-Kurtin said the book is selling well so far.

“Patrick is a really enthusiastic and involved author, which is usually a big factor in a book’s success,” Oliver-Kurtin said.

Williams new book can be purchased for $21.99. It is available at local retailers and online bookstores. It is also available through Arcadia Publishing, via online at or by phone at (888) 313-2665. For a preview of Whitehurst’s writing, visit