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June 1st, 2017

Brian Doyle - photo by Hob Osterlund

Brian Doyle
November 6, 1956 - May 27, 2017

It is with tremendous sadness that we say goodbye to Brian Doyle, who died on Saturday, May 27, of a malignant brain tumor at age 60. OSU Press was privileged to publish four of Brian's books, each remarkable in its own right, but surely none more memorable than his debut novel, Mink River (2010). In prose and in person, Brian Doyle was unfailingly compassionate, generous, and kind. He was a tireless champion of the Press and a treasured friend to the Oregon literary community. We mourn the books he would have written had he lived longer, and we deeply mourn the man who brought so much light and joy to our work.

Brian Doyle - photo by Tom Booth

Please consider making a contribution to the Brian and Mary Doyle Family Fund. Proceeds will be used to help retire the mortgage on the family home.

Read The Oregonian’s tribute

Read Oregon Public Broadcasting’s tribute

Read additional tributes on the Mink River Facebook page


(photo at top right by Hob Osterlund. Photo at left by Tom Booth.)



May 24th, 2017

Simo Laakkonen, Richard P. Tucker, and Timo Vuorisalo are the editors and compilers of the many essays that make up this spring's The Long Shadows, the first book of its kind to explore the environmental history of World War II with comprehensive global perspectives. Each essay represents the best studies among varying fields and countries, with contributions throughout Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. The book is comprised of four parts. The first part is an introduction and holistic overview of the war; the second examines and analyzes the environmental and social impact felt from the war; the third focuses on resource extraction; the final part offers conclusions and hypotheses. Today, readers will have an inside look at an excerpt from Part 1: Introduction; Chapter 1: The Long Shadows.


Excerpt from Chapter 1: The Long Shadows
By Simo Laakkonen, Richard P. Tucker, and Timo Vuorisalo


Warfare has a history as long as humans have lived in organized societies. In Europe alone, by one author's calculation, 5,800 wars were fought prior to World War II. Although World War II was exceptional owing to its scope and destructiveness, it is part of the historical phase in the development of modern warfare. In modern industrial warfare, communication, transportation, armament and other stockpiling and supply, and military operations themselves rely on technological-scientific product development, industrially manufactured products, and societies' economic production capacity. In industrial wars, new types of weapons-- rapid-load firearms and explosives-- have led to massive casualties in open battlefields. These unsustainable casualties, for their part, have forced the troops to break up, dig into the surrounding terrain, and build defensive devices. Because of the resulting cycle of armament, the victory in encounters between mass armies was to a large extent decided by their comparative industrial-economic production capacities. Industrial warfare on a devastating scale began during the American Civil War (1861–65), the first war whose environmental history has been studied intensively.

Industrial warfare reached Europe during the same years, in the Crimean, Austro-Prussian, and above all the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), in which Prussia's success was achieved by total warfare, the mobilization of all the country's material and immaterial resources to the service of war. This process began to spread worldwide in the last decades of the century, as the industrial powers and local elites finally crushed native resistance-- for example, in southern Chile (the Mapuche), the Great Plains (the Lakota and other tribes), British South Africa (the Matabele), and New Zealand (the Maori)-- and competed with each other for control of African and Southeast Asian colonies and their natural resources. Yet there are few studies of the environmental history of warfare in Europe and colonialism prior to World War I. The complex environmental legacy of World War I is only now being address in any focused way. This is the case also with the Spanish Civil War and Japan's attack on the Chinese mainland in the 1930s.

Research interest in the environmental impacts of wars and even peacetime military operations was aroused by the radioactive fallout from the nuclear testing of the 1950s and 1960s, in the wake of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the world's first televised war brought to screens the deforestation that the United States caused in Vietnam with bulldozers and herbicides. Concern for the environmental changes resulting from war arose again during the Gulf War (1990–91), when images of hundreds of oil wells ignited by the Iraqi Armed Forces were broadcast around the globe. In the late 1990s, all of Europe watched, hearts chilled by both the environmental and human toll, as the Balkans slid into civil war. The US-led allied assault on Iraq in 2003 was the first war preceded by discussions of its probable environmental consequences, even if studies conducted during the war itself could only be fragmentary. Wars fought in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, and Asia have also shined a media spotlight on the ravages of oil drilling, deforestation, mining, and poaching of endangered animals such as the mountain gorilla. Many were "resource wars," fought over control of valuable natural resources and the riches that came from extracting and exporting them. There has been much discussion on the relationship between natural resources and wars, but the historical perspective has been insufficient.

Because of the dearth of research, in practice, all wars fought throughout history continue to be "unknown wars" from the environmental perspective, and the people who have worked on behalf of the environment during wartime conditions remain "unknown soldiers." Yet throughout the industrial era, many participants who were caught in conflicts paid written attention to the environmental effects of war. If scholars have neglected the relationship between war and its imprint on nature, soldiers and civilians have not. Diary entries, newspaper articles, reports, photographs, newsreels, films, and works of art demonstrate that both soldiers and civilians consciously observed war time destruction in their immediate vicinities as well as in the natural world. For instance, soldiers monitored birds, installed nest boxes, reared fledglings, and even reported on birds' singing activity during military operations. Apparently war did not prevent people from observing, enjoying, and loving nature; rather the contrary.

How has contemporary scholarship answered this challenge of environmentally "unknown" wars? World War II encompassed economic, social, and cultural dimensions. There is a vast literature on those dimensions of the conflagration. The environmental consequences and legacies of modern wars are only beginning to be studied systematically. As research in environmental history has focused on peacetime developments, until recently neither war nor wartime had been considered a prominent subject of environmentally themed study. The environmental history of wars has thus ended up in an academic no-man's-land between two traditions of historical research: the history of war and environmental history.

In recent years, approaches to research on the history of war have expanded appreciably, but even so, the environmental consequences of mass violence have remained largely unexamined. Military historiography and geography have long and carefully analyzed the environmental settings of conflict in the course of strategic planning. The environmental impact dimension has been studied only obliquely or fragmentarily, but nature conservationists have paid some attention to the importance of warfare in transport of potentially harmful species or substances between regions.

Broad examinations of the interplay between war and the environment through history have been conducted primarily in the United States, Germany, and Finland. The full range of industrial warfare has been addressed in two pioneering collections. There are not enough relevant studies on wars, even recent ones, to form a comprehensive picture of their environmental effects. And the deeper we travel into history, the less we know about these effects. This also holds for World War II; a few articles have been published about its environmental history, and some books have touched on the period. There is no global environmental history of World War II, however, though the political and military history of World World II has been massively chronicled. This book is the first work that strives to open global perspectives specifically on the environmental history of that global war.

The magnitude and long geopolitical shadow of World War II are obvious reasons to study its environmental history. The industrialization of warfare came to a climax in World War II, which has a unique status among the wars of the world. It engulfed 1.7 billion people, three-quarters of the world's population. The war was waged on almost all continents and in the polar, temperate, and tropical climate zones. It was the world's most destructive war, claiming fifty to seventy million lives. In addition, the war injured hundreds of millions of people and innumerable other living creatures. The worldwide cost of World War II is estimated at about $1 trillion, making it in its day the most expensive war by far. World War II changed the political map of the globe. It also propelled the human race into the Atomic Age.





May 16th, 2017

Co-author of The Only Woman in the Room, Pat McCord Amacher joins us today to follow up on Gail Wells' reflections on the challenges they met while attempting to immortalize Oregon lawyer and politician, Norma Paulus. Amacher offers the perspective of a non-native Oregonian while sharing the strategies she and Gail Wells used to document, present, and preserve the extraordinary life and achievements of Paulus.


Unlike Gail Wells, who had enjoyed a lifelong submersion in Oregon history, I'm not from around here. When she told me about the Norma Paulus project in 2013, I had made a little progress toward shrinking the massive gaps in my spotty knowledge of the state by writing a biography with Gail of an Oregon timber family. I realized after researching the family's sawmilling history that I seemed to be evolving as an Oregonian, no longer merely a Midwestern transplant, among multitudes of others from "back East," who raised her kids here and learned about the Oregon Trail from their elementary-school curriculum. I finally felt settled. This epiphany both surprised and pleased me, adding greatly to the pleasure I gleaned from working with Gail, a fine writer as well as an informed citizen. When Gail offered me the chance to work with her again, on Norma's book, I viewed the forging of another building block in my cultural literacy as one of the job's loveliest perks.

So we began, slowly at first. After reading the oral histories taken with Norma by Linda Brody and Clark Hansen, Gail and I set about building the context for the story Norma told. We were allowed free access to her voluminous archived papers at Willamette University, and accepted eagerly, perusing boxes of documents and minutiae, from news clippings to greeting cards to notes passed on the floor of the House, while the hours flew by. Each time we had a library day, Gail and I marveled at how we loved the task, and not only for the color and confirmation the precious boxes afforded to the narrative. Norma's papers provided a veritable parade of illustrations for her oral history that greatly enriched it, inching us ever closer to a grasp on the complex portrait we were hoping to create.

We enjoyed a similar experience on our "field trips" to the Oregon Historical Society, where we plundered the Norma Paulus Papers, scribbling notes and ordering photocopies of the widely-varied clippings and correspondence gathered there. Another dimension of Norma's story was disclosed throughout the extensive audiotapes from Russell Sadler's interviews, both one-on-one with Norma and with a number of key players from her chronology. Then we talked to the players and her family members themselves, when we could, revealing yet another layer of our subject and sharpening its clarity. Lastly, we conducted good old-fashioned research with secondary resources, a task all the more rewarding as the final step in the construction of Norma's story-- her book. Holding it in my hands now, I feel Norma Paulus has given me a wondrous gift, and one I never dreamed of when I arrived in my strange new home: the opportunity to study Oregon history virtually at the knee of a great Oregonian, who lived it and spent most of her life creating it. I could have found no finer guide to follow.

May 11th, 2017

Author Gail Wells joins us today to reflect on her and Pat McCord Amacher's work to help tell the story of Norma Paulus, the first woman to be elected to state-wide office in Oregon. The Only Woman in the Room provides an unprecedented look into Paulus's life and work-- a career in public service that spanned nearly 30 years-- with lively anecdotes that will appeal to everyone from historians to everday citizens.


When Jennifer Viviano called me in the spring of 2013 and asked me to collaborate on a biography of her mother-in-law, Norma Paulus, I eagerly accepted. I admired Norma, and that would have been reason enough. I also relished the prospect of another tour through that brief, bright time in Oregon politics, the mid-1960s through the mid-'70s, when Governor Tom McCall and a forward-thinking legislature seemed to be moving our state into a new era of equality, prosperity and environmental health.

I came of age in Oregon during those years, a bookish, idealistic high-school girl. I'd revisited the territory four decades later when I collaborated with Betty Roberts on her autobiography, With Grit and By Grace (also part of OSU Press's Women and Politics in the Pacific Northwest series).

Betty was a Democrat and Norma is a Republican, but they were sisters across the aisle-- key members of a feisty legislative women's caucus that helped pass landmark laws that ensured women's and consumers' rights and established an enduring (so far) land-use planning system. They were women I looked up to. I was grateful to be invited into their world long enough to help each tell her story.

I discovered, however, that telling Norma's story presented a distinct challenge. She had recorded many hours of oral history, and there were boxes and boxes of documents-- newspaper clippings, floor notes from her time in the legislature, campaign memos, transcripts of speeches, meeting minutes, and other materials. But she had not written a manuscript, and by the time Pat and I got to work she was in poor health and was unable to sit for any more interviews.

So, with her and her family's blessing, we reconstituted her story from the oral history and other materials, augmenting these with interviews of friends and family members. We did not try to "be" Norma; we didn't feel comfortable ghosting ourselves in a false first-person narrative. So we told the story in the third person, using our own words, but always striving to infuse the storytelling with Norma's spirit.

With all due modesty, we think it's a terrific story. Norma gets the credit for that, of course. She was certainly a pioneer for women in public life, but she is also a complex and extraordinarily interesting person. We did our best to let Norma's light shine through the simple, prescribed contours of "role model."

April 26th, 2017

On Monday night at the Oregon Book Awards, Jarold Ramsey was honored with the C. E. S. Wood Distinguished Writer Award, presented to an Oregon author in recognition of an enduring, substantial literary career.

OSU Press has been fortunate to have a long and fruitful history with Jerry Ramsey, stretching across three decades. In 1990, he encouraged us to reissue Nehalem Tillamook Tales, for which he wrote a new Introduction. He co-edited The Stories We Tell, an award-winning anthology of Oregon folk literature. A move back to his family ranch north of Madras in 2000 inspired the essay collection New Era: Reflections on the Human and Natural History of Central Oregon. Next year, OSU Press will publish a companion volume of essays entitled Words Marked by a Place. Ramsey was introduced at the ceremony by Portland poet Armin Tolentino, who has graciously allowed us to share his remarks.


Armin Tolentino (left) with Jarold Ramsey. (Photograph: Laura Stanfill)

Armin Tolentino (left) with Jarold Ramsey (photograph by Laura Stanfill)


* * *


Here from the start, from our first of days, look:
I have carved our lives in secret on this stick
of mountain mahogany the length of your arms
outstretched, the wood clear red, so hard and rare.
It is time to touch and handle what we know we share.


So says the speaker in Jarold Ramsey’s poem, “The Tally Stick,” and how fitting that today we get to celebrate this year’s C. E. S. Wood Distinguished Writer Award as a sort of tally stick for Jarold’s lifetime of devotion to literature. His is a career that has been notched over and over, and not just with his own work, but with the words of those who have collectively shaped our literary landscape.

Jarold Ramsey, at any given moment is a poet, essayist, scholar, editor, mentor, mountain climber, letter writer, and, according to rumors, connoisseur of mail order novelty products such as joy buzzers and itching powder.

Though he was on loan to Upstate New York for 35 years as a beloved English Professor at the University of Rochester, his heart has always belonged to central Oregon, and it was inevitable that he’d find his way back. His poetry is steeped in this landscape; it is an echo and benediction through the canyons.

But for many it is his meticulous work compiling and editing American Indian literature for which we are most grateful. The seminal collection Coyote Was Going There and its companion book of essays Reading the Fire are both considered foundational to any scholarship on Northwest folklore, but more importantly, emphasized theses stories as art, not trinket or bauble, but a manifestation of human creativity to be valued as much as any literature we teach to our kids and return to in times of celebration and grief.

One story in the collection, called the Sun-Box from the Warm Springs tribe, describes how Crow smashed Eagle’s sun box, thus releasing light into the world. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Jarold had a major part in doing the same for Northwest Indian literature, freeing it from archives of university basements to be living art with us all today. After all, Jarold helped ensure that any discussion of American Literature is by definition incomplete if it doesn’t include American Indian Literature.

Please help me in welcoming to the stage our 2017 C. E. S. Wood Distinguished Writer, Jarold Ramsey!

Armin Tolentino, April 24, 2017

April 18th, 2017

In honor of Earth Week, here are some books from OSU Press that celebrate the environment. The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970, activating 20 million people to participate. The Earth Day Network has since grown to include 50,000 partners in almost 195 countries, helping to build an environmental democracy. Working through education, consumer campaigns, and public policy, The Earth Day Network hopes to further diversify their movement for change.




Accidental Gravity by Bernard Quetchenbach


Quetchenbach leads readers through a series of essays, covering his move from upstate New York to the western United States. Quetchenbach chronicles his journey from the urban and suburban to the wild lands of Yellowstone National Park. The first half of the essay collection focuses on his time in urban areas, such as New York. In the second half of his collection of essays, Quetchenbach explores the current environmental issues threatening the Greater Yellowstone area-- wildfire, invasive species, and the constant flow and increase of tourists-- in the context of climate change and other present day pressures.



Asserting Native Resilience by Zoltán Grossman and Alan Parker


The indigenous nations are at the forefront of today's climate crisis, with their cultures and economies among some of the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes. Native peoples are working toward a response to this crisis that serves as a model for both Native and non-Native communities. Many of these Native American nations in the Pacific Northwest, First Nations in Canada, and Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim have already faced the consequences of droughts, flooding, reducing glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and changes in species on the land and in the ocean. Using their tools of resilience, they have been enabled to respond to these environmental changes and protect the habitats of salmon and other culturally vital species. They are strengthening their defenses to give support to their communities, mitigate their losses, and to adapt where possible.


Boundary Layer by Kem Luther


When referring to atmospheric science, a boundary layer is the band of air nearest to the ground. This boundary layer is teeming with lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi, and other diminutive plants in the Pacific Northwest. Kem Luther takes readers through a journey of discovery as he explores the life that thrives there and introducing these life forms to readers and scientists alike. Along a windswept beach, readers are shown how the violent crash of sea and land creates the home of some of the world's most endangered plants, including the nearly-extinct pink sand-verbena. Through Luther's luminous prose, readers are told what these boundaries have to say, not only about the in-between places of nature, but of the borders that lie between species and ecosystems, culture and nature, and science and the humanities.

Building a Better Nest by Evelyn Searle Hess


For fifteen years, Evelyn Hess and her husband David lived in a tent and trailer. They had no electricity, no running water, and were situated on twenty acres of wild land along the Oregon Coast Range. When the decision came to build a house, they knew it would have to respect the lessons of simple living that they learned from their camping life. Evelyn Hess chronicles the adventures of the construction of their home while seeking a model for sustainable living, not only for the home, but beyond its walls. Many questions arise throughout the process, centering around the idea of a better nest. What makes it better? Better for whom? It isn't merely just purchasing the latest recycled floors, but participating in cooperative work in employment, research, activism, and in life.



Collared by Aimee Lyn Eaton


"Just as the humans involved in the wolf debate deserve to be seen as individuals, not stereotypes, so do the wolves. They are not the boogeyman, or storybook monsters aiming to prey upon the young and old. They aren't cuddly pets or religious icons. They are Canis lupus Wolves." -- an excerpt from the introduction

Aimee Lyn Eaton brings readers to the front lines as they follow her through the meeting rooms in the state capitol to ranching communities in the rural northeast corner of the state. Through her in-depth research, on-the-ground inquiry, and field interviews, Eaton shares the story of how the wolves returned to Oregon and the repurcussions of their presence in the state.


Diary of a Citizen Scientist by Sharman Apt Russell


Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are monitoring climate change, tracking bird migration patterns, finding stardust for NASA, and excavating mastodons. With the number of citizen scientists alone, along with new technology, research conduction is being reshaped. Through this timely exploration of this phenomenon, nature writer Sharman Apt Russel allows readers to join her yearlong study of a little-known species, the Western red-bellied tiger beetle. Through her humorous and lyrical voice, she dives into her persistent and joyful tracking of the insect she refers to as "charismatic," "elegant," and "fierce." However, she must negotiate the realities of climate change in her journey patrolling the Gila River in Southwest Mexico, even as she celebrates the beauty of the still-wild and rural landscape.

Escaping into Nature by John F. Reiger


John Reiger, wildlife conservationalist and environmental historian, recalls the outdoor adventures that readied him as a young man for the practices of the great sportsmen-conservationists of the past, with a particular focus on George Bird Grinnell, Theodore Roosevelt, and Aldo Leopold. Finding solace in nature, Reiger entered the outdoors as an escape from the psychological abuse within his family. He soon found himself intrigued by the study and pursuit of insects, fishes, and birds to be exciting in themselves. Through this process of discovery, he found that it was only by participating in the life and death of other creatures that one can learn to truly value the natural world, be a part of it, and be inspired to work for its conservation.




Finding the RiverFinding the River by Jeff Crane (2011)

In 1992 landmark federal legislation called for the removal of two dams from the Elwha River to restore salmon runs. Jeff Crane dives into the debate over development and ecological preservation, presenting a long-term environmental and human history of the river as well as a unique look at river reconstruction. Finding the River: An Environmental History of the Elwha examines the ways that different communities—from the Lower Elwha Klallam Indians to current-day residents—have used the river and its resources, giving close attention to the harnessing of the Elwha for hydroelectric production and the resulting decline of its fisheries. Crane describes efforts begun in the 1980s to remove the dams and restore the salmon. He explores the rise of a river restoration movement in the late twentieth century and the roles that free-flowing rivers could play in preserving salmon as climate change presents another set of threats to these endangered fish.


For the Love of Rivers by Kurt D. Fausch


Winner of the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, For the Love of Rivers draws readers over the reflective surface of streams in order to view and ponder what was beneath, and how they work. Fausch uses his years of experience as a field biologist to explain the underlying science that connected these aquatic ecosystems to their neighboring forests and the organisms found there-- including humans. Fausch introduces readers to the work of Shigeru Nakano who was a pioneering river ecologist who served as an inspiration to other scientists around the world with his innovative research on stream-forest connections. For the Love of Rivers is more than a book about stream ecology. It is a celebration of life and its connectivity, pondering the bigger questions. Why are rivers important to humans, and why is it our nature to want to be near them? What can we do now to ensure the future of these essential ecosystems?


A Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Oregon by Douglas F. Markle


Douglas F. Markle provides one of the first comprehensive and authoritative guides to the native and non-native fishes found in Oregon. Identification aids and images for most of the 137 known species and subspecies are provided, while larval and juvenile stages and hybrids are also illustrated in some groups. Many Oregon fishes are difficult to identify due to their great diversity, size, or a lack of study. Making use of established naming conventions while also highlighting apparent biological diversity, this compromise between the accepted nomenclature and a system reflecting the true biodiversity of Oregon's fishes are reflected in the delicate balance between scientific communication and the organism's place in nature.


Hiking from Portland to the Coast by James D. Thayer


Hiking from Portland to the Coast is a guidebook for both the experienced and casual hikers, exploring many trails and logging roads that crisscross the northern portion of Oregon's Coast Range. Each of the 30 trails included in this guide are accompanied by a "backstory" which serve to highlight the rich histories of Native Americans, white settlers, loggers, and railroad operators.





A Hunger for High Country by Susan Marsh


Very few women were employed by the United States Forest Service before the 1970's. However, during the new environmental and fair employment laws in the 60's and 70's, the Forest Service began to hire women in professional careers. For the first time, women worked as wildlife biologists, geologists, fishery biologists, and soil scientists for the U.S. Forest Service. A Hunger for High Country is a memoir of one of those women. Susan Marsh found herself in the national forests surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Serving also as a partial profile of a time and place, Marsh's book details the frustrations and failures of what was supposed to be her dream job and her story of a new beginning in the mountains of western Wyoming, finding solace and inspiration in nature.


Keeping Oregon Green by Derek R. Larson


Derek R. Larson provides a new history of the accomplishments of Oregon's environmental era: the revitalization of the polluted Willamette River, the Beach Bill that preserved public access to the entire coastline, the Bottle Bill that set the national standard for reducing roadside litter, and the nation's first comprehensive land use zoning law. Along with these case studies, the often forgotten tale of what would have been Oregon's second National Park is included, which was intended to preserve the Oregon Dunes as one of the nation's first National Seashores. From archival research and source materials, ranging from the literary, to the poetic, to congressional hearings, this compelling study is deeply rooted in the culture, economic, and political history of the Pacific Northwest.


Leaded by Michael C. Mix


Michael C. Mix provides a timely and deeply-researched account of one of the largest environmental disasters in western United States history. Mix examines the origins, evolution, and causes of the harmful environmental and human health effects caused by mining operations in Idaho's Coeur d'Alene Mining District-- the "Silver Valley"-- from 1885 to 1981. Industrial mining caused severe damage to area waterways and lands from releases of sulfur gases, lead, and other toxic metals in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1917, human health effects were brought to the forefront when Bunker Hill workers suffered from lead poisoning. However, despite these obvious devastations, the influence of the mine and lead industries in the state and federal politics, and scientific uncertainties about the effects of pollution, there were no effective federal laws regulating the mining and smelting industries until th 1970's. After the closure of these facilities, the area left behind was classified as the largest Superfund site in the United States.

Living Off the Pacific Ocean Floor by George Moskovita


Captain George Moskovita offers readers a highly personal and often humorous look at the career of a commerical fisherman. After graduating from high school in Bellingham at the age of 16, Moskovita took his life to the sea. He found himself crabbing in Alaska, seining for sardines off of California, and for tuna off of Mexico, and catching soupfin sharks for their livers-- served as a vital source of Vitamin A during World War II. After coming to Astoria, Oregon, in 1939, he became a pioneer of the Oregon ocean perch fishery. In his sixty year plus career, Moskovita watched the fishery he had helped build become devastated by foreign factory processing ships. He bought, repaired, traded, and sank more boats than what most fishermen would work in their lifetime. This memoir provides a unique glimpse of Pacific maritime life in the 20th century, small-town coastal life after World War II, and the early days of fishery development in Oregon.


The Long Shadows by Simo Laakkonen, Richard P. Tucker, and Timo Vuorisalo


Laakkonen, Tucker, and Vuorisalo-- and multiple contributors-- offer the first book-length work to offer global perspectives on the environmental effects and history of World War II. Based on long-term research, the articles selected give the best available studies in different fields and countries, with contributions touching on Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, this book has a truly global approach. The Long Shadows considers and contemplates the profound and lasting impacts left on global environments by World War II, including polar, temperate, and tropical ecological zones. Divided into three sections, the first gives an introduction and overview of the War. The second section examines the social and environmental impacts, and the third focuses solely on the history and legacy of resource extraction. In a fourth and final section, the authors offer conclusions and hypotheses.


Meander Scars by Abby Phillips Metzger


Abby Phillips Metzger provides personal stories that recount a forgotten Oregon river, the Willamette, as it had existed before white settlement. Bearing the scars of development and degradation accompanying human settlement, the rich network of channels and sloughs are now long gone. However, through canoe trips and intimate explorations from the river, Metzger discovers glints of resilience: a beaver trolling through a slough, native fish in quiet backwaters, and strong currents that carry undertones of the wild Willamette. Through the tales of farmers and scientists alike, Metzger is led to ask whether that which has been scarred can fully heal, and whether a disjointed river can be whole again.



A Naturalist's Guide to the Hidden World of Pacific Northwest Dunes by George Poinar Jr.


Ranging from northern California to British Columbia, coastal dunes and beaches provide unique habitats for plants, animals, and insects. In what may seem to be a barren landscape, hikers and beach walkers will discover the teeming metropolis of life with this guide.  Exposing the small, almost blind weevils that live under the driftwood and slowly degrade the wood, these beach hoppers leap up at every step and flee from vicious rove beetles, dune ants, and dive-bomber wasps. Taking a focus on the associations between dune plants and other life forms, this book includes over 600 full-color photographs and comprehensive data for biologists studying dune ecology.



The Next Tsunami by Bonnie Henderson


On a March evening of 1964, ten-year-old Tom Horning woke up near midnight to find his yard had transformed. A tsunami, triggered by Alaska's momentous Good Friday earthquake, had wreaked havoc in his Seaside, Oregon home. It was considered the Pacific Northwest coast's first-ever tsunami. However, 20 years passed before geologists discovered that it was not Seaside's first, or worst, tsunami. In fact, massive tsunamis have been shown to have struck the Pacific coast every few hundred years, not triggered by distant tremors, but by huge quakes no more than one hundred miles off the coast. Due to advances in technology, scientists have been able to pinpoint the last megathrust earthquake on the Pacific Northwest's coast, coming in at 9 p.m., January 26, 1700, with a magnitude 9.0. This is one of the largest quakes the world has ever known. When the next one strikes, whether it be tomorrow or a hundred years from now, the tsunami it generates will most likely be the most devastating natural disaster in the history of the United States.


Public Lands, Public Debates by Char Miller


"Watching democracy at work can be bewildering, even frustrating, but the only way individuals and organizations can sift through the often messy business of public deliberation is to deliberate..." -- excerpt from the introduction.
The subject of historic struggle and contemporary dispute, public lands in the United States are dearly treasured places. Environmental historian Char Miller explores the history of conservation thinking and the development of a government with stewardship as its mission. Within 19 essays, Miller uses the U.S. Forest Service as a gauge of the broader debates that have engaged Americans since the late nineteenth century. He examines critical moments of public and private negotiation to help explain the tensions that shaped the administration of public lands in the United States.


Ricky's Atlas by Judith L. Li


Serving as a sequel to Ellie's Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell, Ricky Zamora brings his love of map-making and his extraordinary curiosity to the arid landscapes east of the Cascade Mountains. Upon arrival, he encounters a thunderstorm that leaves his family and neighbors scrambling to deal with a wildfire that had been sparked by lightning. Ricky and his friend Ellie begin to see how plants, animals, and people must adjust to life with wildfires. Color pen-and-ink drawings vividly illustrate the plants, animals, and events encountered in Ricky's summer adventure. Teeming with actual historical, physical, and ecological data about the region, upper-elementary school kids will enjoy the mixture of the factual and the fictional.


Rivers of Oregon by Tim Palmer


Award-winning author and photographer, Tim Palmer, brings together over 140 photos and evocative, informative text capturing the life, beauty, and magic of Oregon's remarkable array of waterways. The book's texts work to address the nature and ecology of these flowing waters, as well as the joy it brings to travel in these waters and the historic saga of Oregon's commitment to preserve, protect, and restore the best of their state for future generations. Readers will travel with Palmer through the underwater views of riparian forests, from distant mountain summits, and on the seat of a kayak. This photographic journey enables readers to gain different perspectives on the many features that provide us with water, life, and with scenes that would leave us deeply impoverished if we were to lose them.


Toward a Natural Forest by Jim Furnish


In 1965, Jim Furnish joined the U.S. Forest Service. Filled with enthusiasm, naivete, and pride for such an accomplished legacy, he could not have been prepared for the crisis that would rock the agency to its foundations, as an environmental movement questioned the Forest Service's legacy and legitimacy. The agency tumbled through a wave of lawsuits from environmental groups in the late 20th Century-- a time most recognized by the spotted owl controversy that shut down logging in public forests in the Pacific Northwest. Caught between the powerful timber industry that had been having its way with the national forests for decades and organized environmentalists who believed these lands had been abused and deserved better care, the agency was brought to its knees. This book gives an insider's view on this tumultuous time, presenting tales of evolution within the agency's and author's environmental consciousness.


Through a Green Lens by Robert Michael Pyle


At an early age, Robert Michael Pyle discovered that he had a greater affinity with words than he did with numbers. Despite this affinity, Pyle was not moved to write until a powerful experience in the summer of 1965, bringing his pen to paper with his passion for the natural world, leading to his first heartfelt essay. This began a devotion to natural history, nature conservation, and language-- and how they all meet in the literature of the land. Arranged by decade, Through a Green Lens provides samplings of Pyle's work over fifty years. This book is acute and uncommonly attuned to the physical world, giving readers a remarkable window into the natural setting of our life and time.



A Week in Yellowstone's Thorofare by Michael J. Yochim


The most remote place in the country, outside of Alaska, is found in a region of Yellowstone National Park, ironically named the Thorofare for its deep history as a route traversed by fur trappers. Set within a week-long expedition taken by the author and his three friends in 2014, A Week in Yellowstone's Thorofare is a history and celebration of this still-wild place. Through first-person accounts of park rangers, archival documents, and Yochim's own experiences, readers are able to dive into what makes wildness seperate from wilderness. Demonstrating the importance of wild places, this book chronicles the struggles through which it has remained protected from visitors today.





Wild in the Willamette by Lorraine Anderson and Abby Phillips Metzger


Oregon's Willamette Valley boasts rich opportunities for outdoor recreation that are often overlooked. Wild in the Willamette is a guidebook to the natural treasures found in the valley, extending far beyond the I-5 corridor. Anderson and Metzger incorporate natural history sidebars and essays by notable local authors to connect people to the best hiking, biking, and paddling the mid-Valley offers. From families with young children, day hikers, long-distance backpackers, kayakers, canoeists, bird watchers, to cyclists, there is something out there for everyone of every skill level. Wild in the Willamette comes equipped with illustrated maps and keys to the many attractions in the area. It serves as an essential guide to the natural wonders of Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley.



Where the Wind Dreams of Staying by Eric Dieterle


Eric Dieterle captures the emotional storms of a boy, and a man, hoping to find meaning in a place, or a place with meaning in this powerful memoir. Dieterle's journey brings him from the plateaus of eastern Washington and through the landscapes of seven other states, ending in the shadow of the San Francisco peaks in northern Arizona. Through a series of essays, Dieterle's struggles with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and failed relationships are tightly bound to the surrounding landscapes, ecosystems, and ecologies so that a person and place become lost in one another.


April 13th, 2017

The centennial observance of the United States' joining World War I gets underway this month, and Michael Helquist, author of Marie Equi, will participate in the World War I Centennial Series, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society. On April 19, Helquist will present his current research on how Oregon aggressively embraced the Espionage and Sedition Acts during the war years. His research presents for the first time a tally of Oregonians arrested for disloyalty and a description of their cases.

The WWI period in Oregon was the first time that residents in the state were subjected to investigation and surveillance in their daily lives. Helquist notes that never before had ordinary individuals collaborated on an extensive basis with federal authorities to conduct surveillance of one another. Many historians and writers have asserted that the assault on WWI dissent became the start of an emerging surveillance state in the U.S.

Helquist explains that he became intrigued with this period of Oregon history while researching the life and times of Dr. Marie Equi, the only woman in the state to be convincted and imprisoned for sedition. Helquist's award-winning biography-- Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions-- will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

Also presenting at the April 19 event will be Dr. Michael Kazin, Georgetown University professor and author of War Against War, The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918. Kazin was also one of the featured historians who participated in the PBS American Experience: "The Great War."




"Dissent and World War I in the United States and Oregon"
Wednesday, April 19, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR

This event is free and open to the public. See Helquist's website for more information on Dissent and Resistance and Marie Equi.

March 22nd, 2017

Bernard Quetchenbach, author of this April's Accidental Gravity, takes time today to expand on and explore the ideals surrounding creative non-fiction. What is the line that separates fact from fiction? Perhaps to some, fiction requires a successful suspension of belief. To others, it may depend entirely on the interpretation of the individual. The landscapes we have grown to know and love carry their own history, both known and unknown to those who walk the land today. While some of these histories may seem outlandish or unreal, just because no one was around to witness, doesn't mean the tree didn't make a sound.


Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area straddles the Montana/Wyoming border, with the Crow Indian Reservation to the north. It's not a place you pass on the way to anywhere else. Because I happen to live more-or-less nearby, I've been exploring this out-of-the-way corner of the public estate for decades. Bighorn Canyon is a kind of foil, if you will, for the legendary, beloved Greater Yellowstone to its west. One is world famous, the other obscure; one biologically rich and, by interior West standards, lush, the other dry, austere, and hardscrabble.

Despite the spectacular terrain, the canyon's ultimate appeal is idiosyncratic. Adulterated by Yellowtail Dam hidden in a rock fold at the canyon's north end, the Bighorn River is not pristine. The most sought-after wild animals are feral horses, members of the PBS-star Pryor Mountain herd-- the canyon is wedged between the abrupt face of East Pryor Mountain and the more extensive, somewhat aloof, Bighorn range across the river. Even the wild sheep are not quite pure, having been introduced to the Bighorns before making their way over the ice into the rocky barrens across from Devil's Canyon. More obviously human artifacts are scattered around the prehistoric Bad Pass Trail. Later, frontier characters like pioneering journalist/cattle queen Carolyn Lockhart and dubious entrepreneur Doc Barry left enduring traces on the landscape. Most of us know locales like that, not iconic places we might have dreamed about as kids-- Yellowstone or Wrigley Field or Stonehenge-- just places, unique and strange, full of stories without form or resolution except for the shaping that occurs when experience finds a home on the way to memory. That hidden cove or canyon you think no one else can see.

I started writing poetry seriously, so to speak, in college. When my interest in essays emerged later, I worried about the burden of truth as literal reality; being accountable to the actual if subjectively encountered planet seemed like an awesome responsibility. Writers always have potentially conflicting loyalities: to the sentence, to memory, to theme and coherence. I suppose when I write nonfiction my ultimate loyalty is to the is-ness we call the world, that numinous whatever in which our lives-- real and imagined-- happen. The payoff for such loyalty in nonfiction is that reality has the right to be bolt-out-of-the-blue unexpected or coincidentally perfect. Anything, as we say, is possible.

We know that we perceive a mediated world, that the boundary between fact and fiction is never exact and impervious. But we're finding the peril of taking that too far-- reality as virtual, fact as "alternative." If objective reality is an illusion, solipsism is a more dangerous one. If you were standing on the brink of Bighorn Canyon, or slogging through snow and gumbo mud in tracks left by shoeless horses, you wouldn't doubt your surroundings. You'd be cold, for one thing, and the wind would be cutting. A golden eagle could be edging the canyon, and a flock of pinyon jays might nose around the old post office at Hillsboro, Barry's ghost town.

You would be there.

A writer, no matter how gifted, can't give you that. Reading about the canyon, however, just might remind you of your own accidental place-- a ravine in Indiana, a fogbound California shore, a ruined farmstead in Vermont with cows grazing on what was the roof and a sleigh still intact in the outbuilding rubble. Maybe just a city pier on Lake Ontario. Some place you couldn't have made up as strange and resonant as it is. A place with consequences you can fall through if you aren't careful, where unexpected meanings can be uncovered and created simultaneously.

One cool March day among the junipers and wild horses ended with a last short walk to the edge of Bighorn Canyon. Below it was already evening, and the ochre rock walls were starting to fade. Until, that is, a crepuscular sunshaft spotlighted a full-curl bighorn ram surveying the shadowed depths from a briefly glowing ledge across the water. It was an ephemeral moment of transcendent circumstance. Too much, you might reasonably conclude. I wouldn't believe it either. If it hadn't happened just that way.

February 28th, 2017

Dr. Robert Fox is here with us to expand on his book, Science without Frontiers. Taking inspiration from earlier lectures, Fox dives into the history of scientific innovation and the ideologies behind these advancements. Whatever the aspirations of individual scientists or the status of projects underway, science is always subject to surveillance and the interference of shifting political agendas. Today, Fox gives a few real-life examples of the ways that politics have affected scientific inquiry throughout history.


Science without Frontiers had its origins in the three lectures that I gave at Oregon State University, Corvallis, as Horning Visiting Fellow in the Humanities in May 2013. When I gave the lectures, I had no idea that, barely three years on, the ideals of the free exchange of knowledge and the free movement of people would assume the immediacy that they have today. In the lectures, I addressed the challenges and aspirations that came, from the mid-nineteenth century, with the accelerating proliferation of scientific books, specialized journals, and press and conference reports. In the face of the growing volume and diversity of knowledge, the procedures of information retrieval assumed unprecedented importance. In the sciences, responses to what was widely seen as a crisis of overload included abstracting journals (Pharmaceutisches Centralblatt was the first of them in 1830) and a new generation of bibliographies and other finding aids.

It is tempting to interpret such innovations as a simple response to a practical problem. But in Science without Frontiers I argue that the push to facilitate the access to scientific knowledge and promote its circulation was also driven by a broader, universalist ideology with a strong pacifist streak. When two Belgian lawyers, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, launched their International Institute of Bibliography in Brussels in 1895, they did so in the belief that in cataloguing the sources of human knowledge in all its forms, they were taking a first step on a road to a world at peace. Their guiding principle was straightforward: so long as knowledge was open to all and nations and their peoples communicated freely with one another, war between them would be inconceivable.

A similar motivation fired the Norwegian-American sculptor, Hendrik Christian Andersen, who published his plan for a utopian city that he conceived as a World Centre of Communication in 1913, when the tide of universalist sentiment was at its height. Within months, however, the Great War dealt a fatal blow to Andersen's hopes and seriously inhibited the work of the International Institute of Bibliography. Quite suddenly, sciene became the property of the belligerent nations, with consequences in the development of poison gases and other science-based weapons.

In important ways, the coming of peace in 1918 did little to allay wartime enmities. The exclusion of German scientists from conferences under the aegis of the newly established International Research Council (IRC) and the associated ban on the use of the German language at the IRC's conferences constituted assaults on the universalist ideals to which the scientific world had adhered, or at least paid lip service, since the beginnings of modern science in the seventeenth century. And worse was to come. The consolidation of totalitarian regimes in the 1920s and 1930s, in Soviet Russia, Italy, Germany and Spain, resulted in the subordination of the scientific communities of these countries to what their governments variously construed as their national interests. The hardships that Nazi authorities inflicted on Jewish scientists were all too symptomatic of a rejection of any notion of science as a part of a seamless web of learned culture.

A second world war only reinforced that rejection, as scientists were again called upon to serve their countries and turn away from their worldwide disciplinary communities. Even in the darkest days, however, the universalist dream did not completely die, and it re-emerged strongly iin the post-war creation of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO's declared aim of promoting "the free exchange of ideas and knowledge" was precisely that of Otlet, La Fontaine, and Andersen, and since 1946 its initiatives have done much to transcend the barriers of nationhood, race, and language, while respecting the distinctiveness of cultures.

Even in the institution of UNESCO's power and influence, however, the passage from precept to practice has never been easy. Certain British and American administrations have viewed UNESCO's actions as unsupportive, even subversive, of their particular national interests, and they have withdrawn or diminished their support. And now, in our day, we find universalist ideals on the back foot once again as impediments to the free movement of peoples and the ideas and talents they bring with them show signs of being strengthened, not diminished. In the name of a recovery of control over our borders, a post-Brexit Britain seems intent on breaking with the UK's hard-won integration in the networks of European science, despite the intellectual and financial benefits that integration has brought for so long.

If science is to be pursued "without frontiers," we need to be sensitive to what is afoot. As history shows and this short book reminds us, frontiers that we may feel to have been removed or made less formidable have a nasty habit of re-emerging in the press of political events. In the present circumstances, that should be a matter of profound concern for all of us, scientists and non-scientists alike.

February 20th, 2017

Today Eric Dieterle, author of Where the Wind Dreams of Staying, shares what life has been like since the book's publication in October 2016. In his memoir, Dieterle reveals the events and experiences that shaped his search for a place he could call home. As his book advances between states, readers are further able to identify and connect with themselves through the storms of life. A big thanks to Eric for reflecting on the evolution of his writing life.


In the five months since Where the Wind Dreams of Staying appeared on bookshelves, themes of isolation and connection have risen from the pages to play out in my post-memoir life. I should not be surprised, but I am.

It may be that I simply didn't know what to expect.

A week ago, I spoke on the phone with the chair of my thesis committee-- our first conversation in more than 30 years. He'd read the book, and wanted to congratulate me and tell me how much he enjoyed it. The workmanship impressed him. I told him how much it meant to me to hear that, for he was the professor who taught me so much about discipline and hard work at a time when I lacked much capacity for either.


My mother wrote me a long letter, explaining what had been unexplained for decades, un-shrouding the mysteries cloaking my understanding of family history. My history. I would never have guessed the details of the story that now, even as I continue to process it, simply makes sense.

As I wrote the book, choosing carefully what to include and what to omit was more than merely a storytelling exercise. I wanted to balance disclosure with compassion-- for myself and for others-- and I feared rejection on more than just literary terms. I could imagine family, friends and coworkers recoiling, aghast that I had done this or said that, or appalled at the full spectrum of poor choices laid out before them. A lifetime of mistakes contained in 136 pages.

So far, compassion eclisped scorn. The column for sincere compliments contains a number of marks; the ledger of shame, regret and anxiety remains filled only with my own scribbling.

Still, I wince at the prospect of the recrimination I had so worried about when I wrote, and revised, and awaited publication. Because I never know what the next reaction might bring. If there is any reaction at all.

A few weeks ago, as I sat at a small table in the local iteration of a national bookstore chain, I decided to turn away from discouragement toward bemusement. Until that moment, I had not fully understood the capacity of people to not simply ignore someone, but to convince themselves that the periphery of their world simply did not exist. There I sat, next to a poster-sized cover of my book that was perched on a tripod stand, a stack of books in front of me, open to engaging all anonymous passers-by with a smile or even eye contact. Nothing. I was invisible. After about an hour of this, I decided that if I were ever to commit an offense that would cause law enforcement to pursue me, my best choice of escape would be to sit in a bookstore next to a poster of a book, inviting conversation or perhaps even a sale. No one would ever find me.


Please, I'm not complaining. I did sell six books that day-- four to the handful of people who attended my reading, and two at the table itself-- and I deepened my understanding of the human condition by observing those who so astutely managed not to observe me. So I'm a better person for it. A better writer.

As the weeks roll by, I'm mining the literary value of the highs and lows of post-publication experiences. Duality permeates the book: east and west sides of the Cascade mountains, interior and exterior landscapes, the promises of a spiritual realm and the pain of human endeavor. Each "fantastic book!" stands to counterpoint to the vacuum of non-response-- the non-stars, the non-reviews, the non-acknowledgement.

This is as it must be, and if something significant changes, I'll accept the new development as being part of the natural course of events in this writing life. Because honestly, I still have no idea what this writing life is, exactly.

As the author, I am merely the source of the lines. What lies between them-- and beneath them and in the margins-- may simply be empty, or is filled with what the reader experiences. Most of the time, I won't know either way.

Knowing the words are out there-- that needs to be enough for me.

Member of AAUP