In addition to his work with The New York Times, he has written six books, including The Good Rain, Breaking Blue, and Lasso the Wind.
Most recently he wrote "The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America" which details the Great Fire of 1910 that burned about three million acres and helped shape the United States Forest Service. The book also details some of the political issues of the time focusing on Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot.
The Worst Hard Time, a non-fiction account of those who lived through The Great Depression's Dust Bowl, for which he won the 2006 Washington State Book Award in History/Biography and a 2006 National Book Award.
In 2001, he won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his contribution to the series How Race is Lived in America
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