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Barnyards and Birkenstocks cover

Barnyards and Birkenstocks

Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other

Don Stuart

Rural America is struggling. The average farmer is now 57 years old. Family agriculture is gradually fading, leading to declines in related industries. Food sources—increasingly anonymous, industrial, and international—are also less secure. Despite these concerns, many communities regularly convert prime farmland to environmentally harmful applications.

Yet food cultivation, too, has profound ecological consequences. Working agriculture occupies fully half of the total U.S. land base, and farms consume eighty percent of the nation’s water. Although they often prevent sprawling development, improve water quality, or provide wildlife habitat, they also pollute rivers, drain wetlands, or emit destructive greenhouse gasses.

Don Stuart believes these two dangerous trends—the loss of farms and damage to ecosystems—are connected, and that a major cause is the political deadlock between farmers and environmental activists. Instead of achieving a reasonable balance, this stalemate stalls funding for incentive programs and prevents progress toward essential regulations.

Stuart offers a radical proposal: collaboration would advance the economic needs of one group while furthering the conservation efforts of the other. With a goal of promoting understanding, he presents opposing perspectives on topics such as incentives, regulations, government spending, environmental markets, growth management, climate change, public lands grazing, and the Federal Farm Bill. He points out costs of continued political impasse. Finally, drawing from a lifetime spent settling conflicts, he identifies characteristics of successful community programs to suggest a model for a prosperous, healthy future.

Author Don Stuart served as the Pacific Northwest Regional Director of the American Farmland Trust for 11 years, and before that he was the executive director of a commercial fisheries trade association and the Washington Association of Conservation Districts. Currently, he engages in private consulting work on agriculture and environmental issues.

What readers are saying:

“[Don Stuart] forcefully makes the case that there is significant peril to the goals of each [side] if the current stalemate over environmental concerns about farming operations continues unresolved. This book is a valuable resource for farmers, environmentalists, academics, policymakers, students and regulators.”—Peter Goldmark, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

“The author is uniquely qualified to comment on the conflicts and common interests of farmers and environmentalists from long experience on both sides. People…will find [his] insights on the two camps extremely useful in tailoring programs effectively.”—Dennis Canty, Pacific Northwest Regional Director, American Farmland Trust and coauthor, Guide to Environmental Markets for Farmers and Ranchers

Don Stuart's web page

Listen to Don's radio interview on KEXP's Mind Over Matters with Diane Horn

ISBN 978-0-87422-322-4
$28.95 list


Battle Ready cover

Battle Ready

The National Coast Defense System and the Fortification of Puget Sound, 1894-1925

David M. Hansen

Today, altered landscapes and an array of concrete structures—remnants of Puget Sound fortifications—serve as silent reminders of a unique chapter in Pacific Northwest history. The ocean inlet’s wide entrance, deep waters, and recurrent fog left it vulnerable to attack. The waterway finally became part of the National Coast Defense System in 1894, when the value of real and personal property along its shores surpassed $160 million.

With the completion of construction on Point Wilson, Admiralty Head, and Marrowstone Point, the harbor became one of the most heavily guarded in the United States. Continued technical advances improved batteries, carriages, guns, communication, and fire control. Effective resistance also relied upon maintaining a sufficient number of highly trained enlisted men.

The removal of guns for use in World War I, as well as the redirection of specialized troops to field artillery units heralded the system’s demise. Eventually, armed forces abandoned permanent fortifications in favor of mobile artillery. None of Puget Sound’s five forts ever saw battle, but like many military installations, perhaps their greatest value rested in the strong deterrent secured by their existence.

Battle Ready describes the designs, innovations, and frustrations that were part of implementation as well as the experience of serving in the fortifications during the period of their greatest importance. The extensively researched volume summarizes the fascinating saga of Washington State’s seacoast defense and presents the broad story in both a national and local context.

What readers are saying:

“A contribution to the field… the first scholarly attempt to describe the evolution of the seacoast defenses of Puget Sound and to put them in the context of national defense policy.”—Bolling Smith, Editor, Coast Defense Journal

“A scholarly study of the Puget Sound forts has been a long time coming, and is sorely needed...I welcome this work.”—William Woodward, Ph.D., Professor of History, Seattle Pacific University

ISBN 978-0-87422-316-3
$32.95 list

Read the Bellingham Herald review

Read the Kitsap Sun review


Rethinking Rural cover

Rethinking Rural

Global Community and Economic Development in the Small Town West

Don E. Albrecht

The vastness and isolation of the American West forged a dependence on scarce natural resources—especially water, forests, fish, and minerals.  The small towns clustered near these assets were often self-sufficient and culturally distinct. By 1941, mass media, as well as improved transportation and infrastructure, propelled these sequestered settlements into the mass society era. Today, the internet is shaping another revolution, and it promises both obstacles and opportunity. Some formerly prosperous communities struggle to survive, while others attempt to cope with unprecedented growth.

Seeking to understand the impact of a global society on western small towns, the author, Director of the Western Rural Development Center at Utah State University, conducted strategic planning roundtables in thirteen states. The gatherings brought three major concerns to the surface: sustaining natural resources, creating vibrant rural economies, and enhancing educational and employment prospects.  Rethinking Rural summarizes characteristics of the isolation, mass society, and global society eras, provides an overview of western environmental history, explores the significant challenges identified during the forum discussions. More importantly, it offers guidance to community leaders, policy makers, and scholars seeking ways to address poverty, increasing inequality, and shifting demographics, as well as resource management and conservation issues.

ISBN 978-0-87422-319-4
$28.95 list


John Mullan book cover

John Mullan

The Tumultuous Life of a Western Road Builder

Keith C. Petersen

John Mullan’s celebrated road—a 625-mile link that connected the Missouri and Columbia Rivers—established the West Point graduate as an accomplished engineer. After completing the Northwest’s first engineered highway at age thirty-two, he lived for nearly another half century, a period of dynamic change. When he died in 1909, automobiles were making their initial crossings along his route. The arterial eventually became a critical link in America’s longest interstate freeway, I-90. Yet despite frequent mentions in books about the nineteenth century Northwest, the soldier/explorer has remained little more than a caricature: a dashing young Army officer who comes West, builds one of its most important thoroughfares, and then disappears from regional literature.

Now, in lively prose, Idaho State Historian Keith Petersen takes a fresh look at Mullan, whose road significantly impacted the development of the Northwest. His story includes business partnerships and personal relationships with some of the West’s most intriguing characters: Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet, General William T. Sherman, Chico founder John Bidwell, Idaho gold discoverer Elias Pierce, Yakama Indian chief Owhi, and others. The first comprehensive portrayal of John Mullan’s life, this deeply researched biography probes the explorer’s complex personality, his rise to fame, and his fall from grace.

What readers are saying:

“Petersen’s biography infuses John Mullan’s many-sided story with both the road-builder’s personal energy and a thorough context of the forces that drove his work. It also casts an unflinching eye on the military aspects of Mullan’s experience in the Interior Northwest, and what that meant for the tribes. A full account, gracefully rendered.”—Jack Nisbet, author of Sources of the River; The Mapmaker’s Eye; and The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Pacific Northwest

“It turns out John Mullan was a human being. Aspects of Mullan’s life have been studied in depth, but few, if any, had taken a clear-eyed look at the whole picture until Keith Petersen came along to fit the pieces together—Mullan’s boyhood days, the hunger for success and fame that drove him—sometimes to maniac extremes—in family and professional relationships, in explorations and road building exploits, and in his later careers as a developer and attorney.”—Kim  Briggeman, Missoulian reporter and Mullan Road historian

John Mullan places Mullan’s life squarely within the context of the times and explains how his driven and sometimes knotty personality led to his success and his failures.”—Jon Axline, author of Conveniences Sorely Needed: Montana's Historic Highway Bridges, 1860-1956; and Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History

ISBN 978-0-87422-321-7
$32.95 list

Read the Missoulian article about Keith and his book!

Keith also spent a day with Washington State Magazine reporter Eric Sorensen. Read the article.


Coal Wars cover

Coal Wars

Unions, Strikes, and Violence in Depression-Era Central Washington

David Bullock

Sleepy little Roslyn has always been a coal town, ever since a railway company opened the first mine in 1886. Strikes are a way of life for central Washington miners and their families, but Tuesday, April 3, 1934, is different.  This time, the labor shutdown divides families and pits neighbor against neighbor. Fearful children beg their fathers not to cross picket lines. “I’d rather have you yellow than dead,” one sobs. Supporters of the Western Miners Union of America—ordinary wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters—pelt cars with rocks, rotten eggs, pine cones, and cow pies. They curse and shriek insults. As the morning wears on, their taunts and assaults escalate.  They fight for their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons—tough men performing dangerous jobs.

The striking laborers typically spend ten or more hours at the workplace.  Dressing, preparing lights and equipment, and traveling into the mine shaft are all done on their own time. Some trips take nearly an hour each way. The miners and their families want safer working conditions, fair wages, and a six-hour workday. They had expected their longtime national union, the United Mine Workers of America, to stand strong during contract negotiations. Instead, UMWA leaders chose dismissive actions, setting the stage for the rise of a new local organization, the Western Miners Union of America.

With a country in the midst of a national economic depression, the fledgling group faces opposition from a mighty labor union, a powerful railroad empire, and even their own government. Communist activists and other radical labor groups offer support. But when conflicting alliances turn residents of Roslyn, Cle Elem, and Ronald against each other, a heated and violent battle follows, leaving deep, lasting scars.

Author David Bullock witnessed the bitter sentiments first hand. His grandfather, a Roslyn miner, lived through the events depicted in Coal Wars. Fully documented, his refreshingly balanced account is brought to life through interviews with local residents, newspapers, court documents, and corporate archives. Capturing the details surrounding a dual union movement in the 1930s American West, the narrative also describes the region’s melting pot of working families and the socio-political impacts of New Deal policies on their lives.

ISBN 978-0-87422-325-5
$24.95 list


Red Light to Starboard cover

Red Light to Starboard

Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster

Angela Day

Minutes before supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, before rocks ripped a huge hole in her hull and a geyser of crude oil darkened the pristine waters of Prince William Sound, the ship’s lookout burst through the chart room door. “That light, sir, it’s still on the starboard side. It should be to port, sir.” Her frantic words were merely the last in a litany of futile warnings.

A parade of promises began the next day. Exxon Shipping Company president Frank Iarossi declared, “If it is a claim that is associated with the spill, we’ve assumed full financial responsibility.” A week later, Alaska Governor Steve Cowper spoke at the Valdez Civic Center. “We don’t want anybody to think that they have to hire a lawyer and go into federal court and sue the largest corporation in America…The state of Alaska represents you. And we want to be sure that…people who are damaged by this, get compensated fairy and quickly.” He also indicated that the state would see to it Prince William Sound was cleaned up, regardless of the cost.

Eight days after the disaster, Valdez native Bobby Day flew over the spill and knew his life as a herring fisherman—a population that would be decimated by the spill—was shattered. He also struggled with feelings of betrayal and guilt and later, a divided community. His intimate portrayal lends a local perspective and provides an insider’s look at commercial fishing.

Lengthy investigations revealed cover ups, covert operations, reckless corporate management, numerous safety violations, and a broken regulatory process. At the time of the spill, oil flowed through the Alyeska pipeline at a profit of $400,000 per hour, yet In the end, the ten thousand fishermen affected by the spill spent nearly twenty years in litigation and received little compensation for their losses. Despite a massive cleanup effort, oil remains on the beaches and continues to impact marine life.

Redlight to Starboard documents a story that stunned the world, recounting regional and national events. The compelling narrative explains how an industry often seen as greedy came to be entrusted with a spectacular, fragile ecosystem, and discusses the governmental and public policy decisions that contributed to the disaster, as well as personal and environmental consequences. It also follows policy steps taken since the spill and through opportunities for citizen input and oversight, offers hope for preventing future disasters.

ISBN 978-0-87422-318-7
$19.95 list

View the book trailer

Listen to Angela Day's interview on KCHU radio's Exxon Valdez 25th anniversary program


Structural Human Ecology cover

Structural Human Ecology

New Essays in Risk, Energy, and Sustainability

Edited by Thomas Dietz and Andrew Jorgenson
With a Preface by Paul Ehrlich

People’s influence on ecosystems can create serious environmental consequences. Structural Human Ecology is a term coined to describe scientific studies and analyses of the stress individuals and communities place on the environment, human well-being, and the tradeoffs between them. As an emerging discipline, it is devoted to understanding the dynamic links between population, environment, social organization, and technology. The community of specialists working in this field offers cutting-edge research in risk analysis that can be used to evaluate environmental policies and thus help citizens and societies worldwide learn how to most effectively mitigate human impacts on the biosphere. The essays in this volume were presented by leading international scholars at a 2011 symposium honoring the late Dr. Eugene Rosa, then Boeing Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sociology at Washington State University.

What readers are saying:

“Including work by some of the leading scholars on risk, this book displays the sensitivity, grace, and intelligence that characterize the work of Gene Rosa. He has taught us all.”—Kristin  Shrader-Frechette, Ph.D., O’Neill Family Endowed Professor, Department of Philosophy and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

“Throughout his ground-breaking work in such areas as energy, risk, and human stress on the environment, Gene Rosa's commitment to conceptual precision, theoretical development, and rigorous empirical testing has been a model for many.  This impressive collection of essays is testament to the intellectual and personal influence that Gene has had across a wide range of scholars.”—Aaron M. McCright, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Lyman Briggs College, Department of Sociology, and Environmental Science and Policy Program, Michigan State University

ISBN 978-0-87422-317-0
$28.95 list


 Harvest Heritage cover

Harvest Heritage

Agricultural Origins and Heirloom Crops of the Pacific Northwest

Richard D. Scheuerman and Alexander C. McGregor
With color plates by John Clement

Using imported heirloom grains and fruits, Spanish explorers, fur traders, missionaries, and some Native Americans planted subsistence gardens in the Pacific Northwest. After immigration surged in 1843, it took a surprisingly short time for the region’s fertile lands to become a commercial agricultural powerhouse.

Demand for food exploded with the industrial revolution as well as the urbanization of Europe and eastern America, and the doors of international export opened wide. Agribusiness expanded to meet the need.

By 1890, advancements in mechanization, seed quality, irrigation, and sustainable practices had spurred a farming boom. Columbia Basin irrigation and the development of synthetic fertilizers, as well as Cooperative Extension efforts and impressive work by agricultural researchers greatly boosted regional production. Harvest Heritage explores the people, history, and major influences that shaped and transformed the Pacific Northwest’s flourishing agrarian economy.

ISBN 978-0-87422-316-3
$32.95 list


A Yankee on Puget Sound cover

A Yankee on Puget Sound

Pioneer Dispatches of Edward Jay Allen, 1852–1855

Karen L. Johnson and Dennis M. Larsen

In April 1852, seeking to restore his failing health, recent college graduate Edward Jay Allen left his Pittsburgh home and set out on the Oregon Trail. Like others who flocked to the West that year, he faced extreme risk and hardship along the way. Unlike many immigrants—and despite returning east just three years later—his exploits left a distinct, indelible mark on the Pacific Northwest.

From the beginning, Allen’s journey involved unique twists. He floated down the Snake River and for a short time, with Ezra Meeker as his partner, ran a ferry at Fort Boise. Instead of turning south, he traveled over the Cowlitz Trail to Olympia, where he was drafted as a delegate to the Monticello Convention. He wrote the memorial to Congress requesting the separation of Washington Territory.

Allen claimed donation land and built a cabin on Budd Inlet just north of Olympia. While he lived there, he served as a scout to survey the Naches Pass for a wagon road, led the work crew that built it, initiated relief efforts for Longmire wagon train families, explored Puget Sound on a whaleboat, ran for the Territorial Council, and with two team members, made the first recorded ascent of Mt. Adams.

Allen shared his adventures, deftly weaving descriptive passages, humor, and classic poetry into his correspondence and a trail diary, eloquently reflecting social, political, racial, and religious views of his time. His brother edited his letters, which were published by the Pittsburg Daily Dispatch, and his sister collected them into a scrapbook that has now survived 160 years.  Annotated but otherwise left alone, Allen’s voice refutes some commonly accepted notions and delivers new insight into Pacific Northwest history.

ISBN 978-0-87422-315-6
$29.95 list

View the book trailer


Rugged Mercy cover

Rugged Mercy

A Country Doctor in Idaho's Sun Valley

Robert S. Wright

In the dead of night in 1894, a trembling, wide-eyed 13-year-old boy assisted with his first surgery—an experience that changed his life. Robert H. Wright attended medical school, then returned home to Hailey, Idaho, to marry Cynthia Beamer, his childhood sweetheart, and to practice in the frontier west—a choice that required both rugged courage and devoted compassion. Called to risk his own life on multiple occasions, he remained composed during a crisis, and his gentle confidence calmed traumatized victims. At times, he performed operations by lantern light and traveled by buggy, dog sled, or Studebaker to reach remote patients. In 1917, he led the rescue effort at the North Star mine avalanche disaster.

Eventually, the doctor welcomed a grandson, also named Robert Wright, who eagerly absorbed thrilling tales of a pioneer past. Yet despite their close relationship, the younger Wright sensed mysterious secrets and unspoken heartbreak, and he began to probe for the untold stories. In Rugged Mercy, he unravels and celebrates the lives of his beloved grandparents. Alternating between accounts of the doctor’s decades of medicine and his own memories of growing up in Hailey, the author provides an intimate glimpse of challenges faced by rural physicians in the first half of the 1900s, of significant events in the history and evolution of the Wood River Valley and Sun Valley resort, and of family life in a small Idaho community.

ISBN 978-0-87422-314-9
$26.95 list


Exploring Washington's Majestic State Capitol book cover

Exploring Washington's Majestic Capital

Cathleen Norman

Washington’s picturesque legislative campus was constructed over decades beginning with the Governor’s Mansion in 1908. Extensively illustrated, this slim guide introduces readers to territorial history, Neoclassical gems such as the grand Legislative Building and stately Temple of Justice, as well as spectacular memorials, custom furnishings, and gardens. 64 pages.

Published by the Washington State Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee

ISBN 978-1-57864-782-8
$12.00 list


Crimson Spoon cover

Look inside!

The Crimson Spoon

Plating Regional Cuisine on the Palouse

Jamie Callison with Linda Burner Augustine
Photographs by E.J. Armstrong

“Start with quality ingredients, apply simple cooking techniques, and magic happens.”

To Jamie Callison, the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest is a chef’s playground. A creamery, apiaries, an organic farm, fruit orchards, a cattle herd, and legumes are all located just minutes from his campus kitchen—an “edible backyard” that inspired this delectable collection.

The Crimson Spoon features more than 100 recipes covering an array of palates—from comfort food like Cougar Gold Mac & Cheese to elegant fare like Pear and Mascarpone Ravioli. Many celebrate local ingredients like WSU Wagyu beef, garbanzo beans and lentils, soft durum wheat flour, and world-famous Cougar Gold cheese. Others highlight coastal treasures such as salmon and scallops.

In addition to utilizing high quality agricultural resources, Callison firmly believes that sharing delicious food, beautifully presented, strengthens bonds between family and friends—a splendid reward for pursuing his passion. Gorgeous color photographs showcase his mouth-watering dishes, and passages tucked throughout the hardcover's pages convey his life story and underscore his cooking philosophy.

A seasoned mentor and gifted teacher, Jamie Callison has trained numerous students as executive chef and instructor for Washington State University’s Hospitality Business Management Program.

Published by the WSU College of Business

ISBN 978-0-615-86917-9
$38.00 list


The Blue Note cover

The Blue Note

Seattle's Black Musicians' Union: A Pictorial History

David Keller

Documenting a portion of American cultural history, The Blue Note focuses on Seattle’s black American Federation of Musician’s Local 493. It is an upbeat story of race, jazz, gender, and union culture, set in the Pacific Northwest and the wider jazz world. Detailed research and end notes underpin a user-friendly pictorial format, spanning the years from the 1880s to the med-1950s. Featuring more than 100 photographs and other illustrations—many previously unpublished—The Blue Note uses union documents, first person oral histories, and extensive primary and secondary sources.

David Keller is an archivist and historian with a strong interest in labor and jazz history. He has written for Down Beat, Jazz Times, Columbia, and

The Blue Note takes me home to the heady days of Seattle’s jazz scene. It’s a fine blend of rare photographs, first person accounts and solid scholarship. It also shines light on the path-breaking union musicians who played Seattle and ultimately brought about the merging of the black and white unions.”—Quincy Jones

Published by Our House Publishing

ISBN 978-0-615-86781-6
$29.95 list


Forthcoming Releases

In the Path of Destruction cover

In the Path of Destruction

Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens

Richard Waitt

A napping volcano blinked awake in March 1980. Two months later, when that mountain roared, Jim Scymanky was about twelve miles northwest, logging a north slope above Hoffstadt Creek. “Rocks zinged through the woods, bouncing off trees, then the tops of trees snapped off… Suddenly I could see nothing…it got hot right away, then scorching hot and impossible to breathe. The air had no oxygen, like being trapped underwater…I was being cremated, the pain unbearable.”

Mike Hubbard was further away—sixteen miles northwest, near Green River. “It was hard to breathe, my mouth hot and full of dust. I was on my knees, my back to the hot wind. It blew me along, lifting my rear so I was up on my hands…It was hot but I didn’t feel burned—until I felt my ears curl.”

Ken Sugarman’s encounter came on a highway near Yakima. “My wife and I drove toward Tieton fifteen miles northwest. Only five minutes since the kids mentioned the cloud, ash rained heavily, the sky so dark I had headlights on.”

Steve Malone, at the University of Washington Seismology Laboratory, was inconsolable. “We’d failed. For two months we’d counted and located thousands of earthquakes, looked for changes to anticipate an eruption. Then it just happened. It killed many people. It killed David Johnston. We could hardly work.”

Author Richard Waitt was part of a U.S. Geological Survey team doing volcano research in the Cascades, and was one of the first to arrive following the mountain’s early rumblings. His journey collecting eyewitness accounts began with a conversation in a bar the third week after Mount St. Helens erupted. The couple he met barely outraced a searing ash cloud, and Waitt realized their experiences could inform geologic studies. He eventually conducted hundreds of interviews—sometimes two and three decades later—often making multiple visits to gather additional details, correct errors, and resolve discrepancies.

A meticulous scientist with intimate knowledge of Mount St. Helens, Waitt delivers a detailed and accurate chronicle of events. He tapped numerous primary sources—interviews, legal depositions, personal diaries, geologists’ field notes, radio logs, and police records. Newspaper stories and even sun shadows on photographs revealed additional intricacies. In the Path of Destruction’s eruption story unfolds through unforgettable, riveting narratives—the heart of a masterful chronology that also delivers engrossing science, history, and journalism.

ISBN 978-0-87422-323-1
$22.95 list


Native Trees of Western Washington cover

Native Trees of Western Washington

A Photographic Guide

Kevin W. Zobrist

Soft layers of moss and pine needles carpet the ground as dappled sunlight or misty rain filters through the forest canopy’s branches. Western Washington woodlands can be enchanting. Fortunately these magical places are abundant, covering half the state’s soil. Affording beauty and recreation as well as economic value, they endure as one of the area’s most important natural assets.

In Native Trees of Western Washington, Washington State University’s Kevin Zobrist examines regional indigenous trees from a forestry specialist’s unique perspective. He explains basic tree physiology and a key part of their ecology—forest stand dynamics. He groups distinctive varieties into sections, describing common lowland conifers and broadleaved trees, high-elevation species found in the Olympic Mountains and western side of the Cascades, and finally, those with a very limited natural range and small, isolated populations. Numerous full-color photographs illustrate key traits.

In addition, Zobrist discusses notable features, offering information about where to find particular species. He includes brief lists of some common human uses, citing Native American medicines, food, and materials, as well as commercial utilization from the time of European settlement to the present day. The result is a delightful and enlightening exploration of western Washington timberlands.

ISBN 978-0-87422-324-8
$18.95 list



Follow Kevin Zobrist on Twitter: @WSUExtForestry

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