Paper pub. date
January 2003
ISBN 9780870715587 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 320 pages. B&W photographs. Notes. Bibliography. Index.

Oregon's Promise

An Interpretive History

David Peterson del Mar

A concise and compelling general history, Oregon's Promise explores familiar and neglected people and movements in the state's history, while challenging readers to view Oregon's past, present, and future in a new way.

The words "Oregon history" conjure up images of Lewis and Clark and rugged pioneers. In Oregon's Promise, David Peterson del Mar shows that the explorers' impact was both different from and less significant than commonly assumed, and that the state's settlers were much more varied, contentious, complicated, and interesting than conventional heroic stereotypes would suggest.

The book's many themes revolve around Peterson del Mar's consideration of how Oregonians have attempted to build a prosperous and just society. He examines both the traditional center of Oregon history and its often overlooked margins-the people who have struggled to be included in Oregon's promise.

The author is both a respected historian and an engaging writer, with a talent for explaining Oregon's past in a way that will appeal to all readers, from natives to newcomers, from students to scholars.

About the author

David Peterson del Mar is author of the award-winning book, What Trouble I Have Seen: A History of Violence against Wives and of Beaten Down: A History of Interpersonal Violence in the West. He has taught many courses on Oregon and Pacific Northwest history at universities and colleges in Oregon and British Columbia. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a board member of Oregon Uniting, an organization devoted to advancing racial reconciliation and justice through dialogue and education.

Read more about this author

Introduction: The Golden Man

Chapter one: Natives and Newcomers (To the Early 1840s)
Chapter Two: Taking Oregon (1492-1877)
Chapter Three: Resettling Oregon (1811-1860)
Chapter Four: The Industrialization of Oregon (1860-1900)
Chapter Five: Political and Urban Transformations (1900-1919)
Chapter Six: Oregon Becomes Modern (1920-1929)
Chapter Seven: Oregon and the World in Depression and War (1929-1945)
Chapter Eight: Prosperity and Its Problems (1945-1975)
Chapter Nine: A Polarized State (1975-2003)
Conclusion: Lewis and Clark or Ralph and Marie  

Selected Secondary Sources

"A first-rate book… Peterson del Mar is an excellent writer and interpreter."

-Carlos Schwantes, author of Columbia River: Gateway to the West


"The author has a firm and broad grasp of Oregon's interesting, often exciting, history and a rare skill for writing about it with passion, compassion, and welcome touches of humor."

-Kenn Oberrecht, author of Oregon Coastal Access Guide

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