I write about science, nature, environmental issues, birds and birding, and travel from perpetually overcast central New York state. Past and present clients include The Atlantic, Perceptive Travel, Smithsonian, Audubon, Wildlife Conservation, AmericanStyle, National Geographic Traveler, Cooking Light, Islands Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Sweet Tea Journal, Executive Traveler, Yankee Magazine, History Channel Magazine, American Archaeology, and Living Bird.
My new narrative nonfiction book will be published May 1, 2017 by Lyons Press. In The Notorious Reno Gang: the Wild Story of the West's First Brotherhood of Thieves, Assassins, and Train Robbers, I follow the world's first train robbers -- the Reno Brothers -- and their gang of counterfieters and robbers as they gallop their way through four midwestern states in the 1860s. What emerges is a twisted tale of theives, Pinkertons, and vigilantes.
Advance praise for The Notorious Reno Gang:
In this brilliantly authentic account, Rachel Dickinson tells the true story of the original band of bad-boy Wild West outlaws in all their depraved glory—and the relentless man who hunted them down. Vivid, gripping, and a pure delight to read. (Philip Gerard, author of Secret Soldiers: The Story of World War II’s Heroic Army of Deception)
With train robberies, murder, equally bloodthirsty criminals and vigilantes, and a cameo by Abe Lincoln, The Notorious Reno Gang is one of the most entertaining books in years—and it’s all true! (Jeff Guinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral―And How It Changed the American West)
The law and the Pinkertons couldn’t handle the murderous Reno Gang, America’s first train robbers and outlaw band, or the murderous vigilante mobs who fitted them with ‘hempen collars.’ Finally a great detective is on the case: journalist Rachel Dickinson does them all justice in this fascinating, throat-clinching, true-life narrative of Civil-War era history, crime, and justice for all.” (Michael Capuzzo, New York Times bestselling author of The Murder Room and Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916)
The Reno thugs—‘spiders at the center of a five-hundred-mile web of crime’—filled the moral vacuum following the Civil War with arson, counterfeiting, and train hijacking. Rachel Dickinson has written a compelling narrative of a small town plagued by violence and vice, a microcosm that portrays the issues plaguing many frontier towns in the last half of the nineteenth century. Her prose is spell-binding, and her grasp of the tortured history of American westward settlement is riveting. (Lisa Alther, New York Times bestselling author of Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance)
My first narrative nonfiction work for adults -- Falconer on the Edge: A man, his birds, and the vanishing landscape of the American West (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009).
I'm also the author of several nonfiction books for middle-school aged children published by Nomad Press: Tools of the Ancient Romans; Tools of Navigation; and Great Pioneer ProjectsYou Can Build Yourself.
Read the fun blog I do with my friend Jenna Schnuer at www.thehaikudiaries.wordpress.com. It's a daily diary in haiku form.
Part of an interview with Lisa White, Houghton Mifflin editor
BIRDING Magazine, May-June 2008
BIRDING: Would you give us a sneak peek into some upcoming projects? For instance, Rachel Dickinson’s forthcoming book about falconry?
LW: Nearly every proposal I get for a narrative book includes a comparison to The Orchid Thief. No wonder, with the success of the book and the movie adaptation, called Adaptation. Rachel’s book, about a quirky protagonist who is consumed with a passion and who is perhaps representative of his subculture, comes closer than anything else I’ve seen. She’s got a great writing style, and it should appeal to an audience beyond falconers and even beyond birders.