History books of the Pac NW
December 2, 2014 6:41 PM   Subscribe

What are the best history (non-fiction) books concerned with the Oregon Territory, the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, the Puget Sound region, or Seattle?
posted by the man of twists and turns to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
An Oregonian college friend of mine is fond of Fire at Eden's Gate, which is a biography of the late Gov. Tom McCall.
posted by dorque at 6:58 PM on December 2, 2014

Skid Road
posted by trunk muffins at 7:04 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is a small book but Sento at Sixth and Main (referencing the bath house at the Panama Hotel which was the center of Japanese life in Seattle prior to WWII) is a beautiful history of Japanese Americans in Seattle. More of an art project (though non-fiction) than just a published history. I've also read Skid Road, it's very good. Utopias on Puget Sound, 1885-1915 is another personal favorite.
posted by jessamyn at 7:10 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Across the Olympic Mountains: The Press Expedition 1889-90 is a great read about a forgotten time on the Olympic Peninsula.
posted by NickPeters at 7:11 PM on December 2, 2014

I've heard that Sons of the Profits: There's No Business Like Grow Business. The Seattle Story, 1851-1901 is fantastic (according to my aunt who used to live in Seattle) but I can not personally vouch.
posted by komara at 7:11 PM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I liked Seattle: Past To Present. It can be a little dry in places (hah!), but it is interesting, and goes into detail about events and people that other histories do not. I believe he wrote it as part of a thesis.

On Preview: Sons of the Profits is very entertaining as well, but more lightweight.
posted by Gorgik at 7:13 PM on December 2, 2014

i'll vouch for "Sons of the Profits," for Seattle history. it's dated, not rigorous, and in no way academic or serious, but it is entertaining as hell.
posted by mwhybark at 10:41 PM on December 2, 2014

Lukas' Big Trouble is about the bomb assassination of the former governor of Idaho in 1905 and the attempt to convict the IWW leadship of the killing.

Historylink.org is a super useful resource as well (link to article on another Wobbly conflict event, the Centralia massacre). It actually grows directly out of Speidel's pop-history approach, which was taken up locally by writers in the seventies with longer hair and a higher affinity for sandals such as the sainted Paul Dorpat.
posted by mwhybark at 10:50 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bernard DeVoto's "Across the Wide Missouri" and "The Year of Decision: 1846" deal (in part) with the Oregon Territory, and also happen to be amazing and wonderful books.
posted by saladin at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2014

Utopias on Puget Sound, 1885-1915 is a fabulous book, and as well as being very entertaining, gets to the roots of some otherwise very puzzling aspects of contemporary politics and culture around here like nothing else I am aware of.
posted by jamjam at 9:30 AM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

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