Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Book

Spring 2004

Washington's Historical Courthouses

In Washington’s Historical Courthouses, Ray Graves (’50 Pol. Sci.) has compiled a wonderful pictorial survey of the proud cultural and architectural heritage of the state. It contains beautiful photographs by Erick Erickson, a thoughtful introduction by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, and a very interesting discussion of the historic development of each of the state’s 39 county seats and the architectural qualities of each courthouse built before 1930.

The book makes an important contribution to the history of the state’s cultural development, and it establishes a very useful typology of this prominent building type. It is amazing to review the variety and creativity of design in … » More …

Spring 2005

Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest

In Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest, Linda Carlson provides much insight into the rewards and trials of life in the small, isolated communities of a bygone Northwest.

A company town was generally a glorified camp established in the late 1800s by a logging or mining company. The company provided housing for its workers, and often mandated the school curriculum, owned the general store, and decided whether or not alcohol and gambling were allowed. A few paid their employees in scrip, the company’s own currency. There was no local government, as the company boss dictated just about anything he wanted. Nevertheless, Carlson ’73 defines these … » More …

Fall 2005

Common Courage: Bill Wassmuth, Human Rights, and Small-Town Activism

“While those who act out violently—hate groups or lone wolves—may be few, the sentiments that lead them to believe their actions are acceptable stem from every-day bigotry and an unwillingness to confront it.” So writes Andrea Vogt to reflect the views of the late human rights activist Bill Wassmuth (1941–2002), as well as, one suspects, to warn the rest of us who are now left without his courageous leadership in the Northwest.

In Common Courage: Bill Wassmuth, Human Rights, and Small-Town Activism, Vogt chronicles Wassmuth’s life in the context of a discussion of the respective roles of education, religion, and community in eradicating the every-day … » More …

Summer 2002

The Cayton Legacy: An African American Family

Set in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, The Cayton Legacy chronicles the evolution of a remarkable African American family. From the Civil War to the present, generations of the Horace and Susie Cayton family helped illuminate the black and white experience and the troubled course of race relations in the United States.

The Caytons sought to define themselves in relation to their family traditions and to society as a whole. In the process, the distinguished family attained financial success and influence, both regionally and nationally. Family members published newspapers, wrote books, and were elected to public office. They worked for civil and human … » More …

Summer 2008

Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America

Charles B. Kastner ’81
University of New Mexico Press, 2007

For generations, the 1920s have provided fodder for authors. The super-hyped sensationalism of those ballyhooed years seems a bottomless pool of entertaining topics. The decade of Lindbergh, Valentino, Capone, and Ruth, of flappers, Mah Jong, crossword puzzles, and marathon dances, also produced the Bunion Derby, a marathon footrace across America. It is to his credit that Seattle author Charles Kastner (’81 M.A. History) not only … » More …

Spring 2002

Breederman

Author Murray Anderson (’50 Dairy Husbandry) weaves his experiences as a herdsman, milk tester, milking machine salesman, artificial inseminator, and fieldsman into a novel that describes the struggle for survival of small farmers in northwest Washington.

In Breederman, Anderson takes readers back to the ’50s and ’60s, when every farm was a family farm, and farmers knew how many cows their neighbors had and how many pounds of milk they shipped.

The book grew out of a series of vignettes Anderson wrote about his experiences as an artificial inseminator.

“One of my goals was to capture the struggles of families to remain on the farm … » More …

Summer 2003

Smoke Follows Beauty

There’s a scene in “The Kanasket Chicken Killings” that illuminates a great deal of what Brian Ames (’85 Political Science) is up to in his collection of short stories, Smoke Follows Beauty. As he’s replacing the camshaft of a road grader, mechanic Henri DeLaat, trying to make sense out of what’s been happening on his farm, reduces the confusing events he’s been living through to a mathematical formula: “A, there are chickens going missing. B, it is probably the work of coyotes. C, coyotes can be stopped. D, how? A plus B plus C equals D, a simple equation.” Immediately, he drops a bolt into … » More …

Winter 2005

Head Full of Traffic

If his two latest short story collections are indicative, Brian Ames ’85 is a prolific writer of unsettling talent. Releasing both Head Full of Traffic and Eighty-Sixed: A Compendium of the Hapless in 2004, Ames packs 22-plus pieces into each collection. Granted, many of the works run only a few pages long, but these are stories brief only in word length.

In Head Full of Traffic, ostensibly labeled a collection of horror pieces, Ames skillfully adds his own flair to the genre. In “Carnival,” a crazed carnie imagines an apocalyptic Midway. “Weeb staggers away from the Fun House, swivels that cornpone head when he hears … » More …

Winter 2005

Eighty-Sixed: A Compendium of the Hapless

If his two latest short story collections are indicative, Brian Ames ’85 is a prolific writer of unsettling talent. Releasing both Head Full of Traffic and Eighty-Sixed: A Compendium of the Hapless in 2004, Ames packs 22-plus pieces into each collection. Granted, many of the works run only a few pages long, but these are stories brief only in word length. Rich language and dense atmospheres are Ames’s literary tools, and he manages to convey entire tableaus in single sentences. “He doesn’t fully comprehend meter or rhythm, only understands the voltage through his cortex, manifested in sudden spastic knee bouncing, rapid articulation, back and forth, … » More …

Summer 2007

Domesticating the West: The Re-creation of the Nineteenth-Century Amer

In Domesticating the West, Brenda K. Jackson ’02, a Washington State University history Ph.D., explores the settlement of the West by the 19th-century middle class. Specifically, Jackson presents a dual biography of Thomas and Elizabeth Tannatt, middle-class migrants from Massachusetts to Washington Territory in the late 1800s. Jackson begins her book by examining the middle-class backgrounds of the Tannatts and their experiences prior to and during the Civil War. Jackson effectively demonstrates that both Thomas and Elizabeth grew up solidly middle class, in terms of relative wealth, status, and privilege, though Thomas’s situation was a bit more precarious. As a result, Jackson argues, “throughout his … » More …