WSU Press

New Titles


New and Forthcoming Releases

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

Available now!

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.

“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

Available now!

 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

Available now!

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

Idaho Book Award Honorable Mention!

Be Brave Tah-hy! cover

Be Brave, Tah-hy!

The Journey of Chief Joseph's Daughter

Jack R. Williams
Illustrated by Jo Proferes

“Tah-hy!” I jerked my head up as I heard my name. “Tah-hy! They are coming!”

On June 17, 1877, gunshots marked the start of war—one that swept twelve-year-old Tah-hy and her people into a harrowing journey across the American West. Relentlessly pursued, they endured multiple battles, cold, hunger, and death. Eventually, after months of exile and heartbreak, they began their path to a new way of life.

Based on actual events and narrated by Tah-hy’s youthful voice, this biographical novel is intended for young adults, but will also interest older readers. The story presents many aspects of the Nez Perce Dreamer culture and reminds us of what was lost when they were overpowered and displaced. 144 pages.

ISBN 978-0-87422-313-2

$29.95 list

Civility and Democracy cover

Civility and Democracy in America

A Reasonable Understanding

Edited by Cornell W. Clayton and Richard Elgar

A true democracy sanctions the challenge of deeply held values and accepted societal standards, but in the United States today, some members of the political arena have abandoned respectful communication. Instead, contentious political discourse stalls Congress and, at times, erupts into violence. Negative personal attacks and outrageous character assassinations replace civil dialogue focused on reasoned arguments and intelligent debate. Yet incivility has existed in various forms throughout American history, often preceding positive change.

In March 2011, Washington State University hosted one of four major conferences held across the country. The purpose was to initiate discussion about the state of civility in American democracy. Leading scholars from a variety of disciplines participated, concentrating on five distinctive perspectives: history, religion, architecture, philosophy and ethics, and communication and media. Comprised of 22 papers presented at the conference, Civility and Democracy in America: A Reasonable Understanding offers the insight of these seasoned experts. 192 pages.

ISBN 978-0-87422-312-5

$25.95 list

Planet Rock Doc cover

Planet Rock Doc

Nuggets from Explorations of the Natural World

Dr. Elsa Kirsten Peters

Passion is meant to be shared, and Dr. Elsa Kirsten Peters, better known as the Rock Doc, regularly conveys her enthusiasm for all things science in her nationally syndicated column. Now the curious geologist has compiled her favorites, along with a few new contributions, into Planet Rock Doc.

With her wry sense of humor, personal anecdotes, and knack for explaining the complex in simple terms, Peters stretches far beyond geology to explore a wide range of topics related to natural and applied sciences. In the process, she reflects on the remarkable observations and inventions cultivated by great minds of the past.  She comments on current debates, and she lends promise to the future, illuminating cutting-edge research.

For easy access, articles are arranged by subject matter—geology and paleontology, energy and engines, food and agriculture, climate change, human health, biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and education and history.

Dr. Peters, a native of rural Washington State, earned her doctorate from the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at Harvard University. She taught undergraduate-level courses for a decade and is the author or co-author of numerous journal articles, as well as several textbooks. 198 pages.

ISBN 978-0-87422-310-1

$22.95 list

Exploring Washington's Majestic State Capitol book cover

Exploring Washington's Majestic State Capitol

Cathleen Norman

Published by the Washington State Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee

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.

ISBN 978-1-57864-782-8

$12.00 list

  Crimson Spoon cover

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.

ISBN 978-0-615-86917-9

$38.00 list


View the press release and watch Jamie Callison discuss his book!


WSU Press, Washington State University, PO Box 645910, Pullman, WA, 99164-5910 USA 509-335-3518 Contact Us