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Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

Small Western Towns Face Special Challenges


PULLMAN, Wash.— 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.


The Man Who Built the Northwest’s First Engineered Highway


PULLMAN, Wash.— It took tremendous effort to build a road in the 1850s. When Governor Isaac I. Stevens needed someone to direct construction of the U.S. Military Wagon Road, he selected John Mullan, an army lieutenant and West Point engineering graduate.  That project—the first government-funded road across the Northern Rockies —came with exceptional challenges.


Pacific Northwest Agricultural History


PULLMAN, Wash.— Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the Pacific Northwest. Family wheat farms are one of the largest economic drivers of jobs in eastern Washington, creating approximately 25,000 jobs and a trade surplus for the state.


Chance Encounters Shed New Light on Pacific Northwest History


PULLMAN, Wash.—Like the 1852 journey Edward Jay Allen—the hero of their book—took to Puget Sound, the authors’ path to publishing was filled with surprising twists and turns. While researching a related topic, Karen L. Johnson discovered a tantalizing article that sparked an obsession with the twenty-two-year-old pioneer roadbuilder.  She partnered with fellow Oregon Trail buff Dennis M. Larsen, and the pair began a long hunt for Allen’s letters cited in the article,


A Country Doc with the Heart of a Hero


PULLMAN, Wash.— The newest book from Washington State University Press, Rugged Mercy: A Country Doctor in Idaho’s Sun Valley, tells the story of Robert Henry Wright, known to many in his day as the “doctor who never lost a patient.” He graduated from American Medical College in 1906, a time when medical practice was shifting from folklore and quackery to real science, and the West was emerging from its frontier past.


An Authentic Retelling of the Life of Chief Joseph’s Daughter


PULLMAN, Wash.— The first young adult book from Washington State University (WSU) Press, Be Brave, Tah-hy!: The Journey of Chief Joseph’s Daughter, is unlike many popular and historical novels written for adolescents, because the protagonist is not portrayed as a modern heroine. Instead, her thoughts and actions are appropriate for a girl of her age, time and background.


Hanford’s Role in the Manhattan Project


PULLMAN, Wash.—Award-winning former Seattle Times science writer Hill Williams has written Made in Hanford: The Bomb that Changed the World. Other books offer scant coverage of the facility’s role in the Manhattan Project, but as the title implies, Hanford is the heart of Williams’ book.


WWII Occupation Led to Season of Suffering


PULLMAN, Wash.— Unusual because it relates struggles faced by ordinary French citizens, our new World War II memoir also provides insight into challenges that arise when different cultures collide. Written for her children decades ago, the author’s guileless voice enhances her adolescent memories of the German occupation—an existence of fear, loss, suffering, and fierce hatred—and illustrates the immense emotional toll of war.