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American West

New and Noteworthy
Summer 2013

New & Noteworthy

2013summer_wagontrail_cover

Planet Rock Doc: Nuggets from Explorations of the Natural World
WSU Press, 2012

The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals about the Nature of Endless Change
Prometheus Books, 2012
by E. Kirsten Peters

The Harvard-trained geologist, columnist, and WSU employee compiles her syndicated science columns in a peripatetic, curiosity-fueled volume in Planet Rock Doc, and applies her knowledge of geological systems to climate change throughout Earth’s history in The Whole Story of Climate.

Blazing a Wagon Trail to Oregon: A Weekly Chronicle of the Great Migration of 1843
by Lloyd W. … » More …

Gun show
Summer 2013

Gun Show Nation—a conversation with Joan Burbick

While researching her book Gun Show Nation, WSU English Professor Joan Burbick joined the National Rifle Association, visited gun shows around the country, and steeped herself in the history of American gun culture. Looking beyond the romance of the West, of Buffalo Bill and the magazine American Rifleman, she found issues of race, gender relations, moral crusades, and political and financial concerns.

As someone who writes nonfiction exploring the character and culture of America, Burbick has studied rodeo queens, examined Henry David Thoreau’s efforts to integrate natural history with human history, and looked into the American national culture of the 1900s. Now a professor emeritus, … » More …

Cover of Winning the West for Women
Summer 2012

Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist of Emma Smith DeVoe

winning west women book cover

Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal ’04 PhD
University of Washington Press, 2011

At a time when women’s rights and politics are dominating our national discourse, it would be good to consider our past. Emma Smith DeVoe’s story, for example, enhances our understanding of our nation’s Women’s Suffrage movement as well as the history of women in Washington. DeVoe led the 1910 campaign in our state—organizing, giving speeches, and raising money for the cause. … » More …

Winter 2011

The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel

kuo

Alex Kuo

Haven Books, 2011

 

Ge and G, mathematicians in northern China and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, respectively, navigate parallel academic paths at the beginning of this unique and challenging novel by WSU English professor Alex Kuo. The two characters don’t know each other, but their lives reflect a common experience over the course of 30 years.

The Chinese woman Ge and Chinese-American man G share a disgust for the emptiness of their teaching and the revolutions … » More …

Fall 2009

S.R. Martin Jr.—A life in the West

“Rudy” Martin started out with a plan to collect the history of his family from its Texas roots to his home in Washington. It was at first a project for himself and his children. But the American studies scholar yearned for context, color, and regional history. He had to build a more complete story. He sought out distant family members, dove into ancient county records, and culled through population research in his quest to understand how he and his family have been shaped by race, religion, and, most importantly, place.

His book, On the Move: A Black Family’s Western Saga, is not simply a memoir, … » More …

Winter 2002

The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers

How to describe Robinson Jeffers, now 40 years deceased? Visionary or reactionary? Hard-eyed realist or Romantic throwback? The West’s answer to the East’s Robert Frost? California’s anti-type in poetry and politics to John Steinbeck in fiction and politics?

Jeffers’s raw “inhumanism,” along with his defiance of government meddling, seems the essence of fabled American independence and individualism. In one of his anti-Modernist screeds, “Poetry, Gongorism, and a Thousand Years” (1948), which Tim Hunt, former professor of English at Washington State University at Vancouver, includes among other prose in the Selected Poetry, Jeffers advises young poets that a “posthumous reputation” is “the only kind worth considering.” … » More …

Fall 2003

Rodeo Queens and the American Dream

Whether we meet them in a pasture, at a burger joint, or in a comfortable kitchen, the women in Joan Burbick’s Rodeo Queens and the American Dream take us beyond the dust and glitter of the rodeo that for one season made them royal. Burbick, an American studies professor at Washington State University, began her engrossing study by wondering, Where are the former rodeo queens whose pictures appear annually in local newspapers? How have their lives turned out? Talking with the women yielded much tougher questions.

More than a series of interviews, Rodeo Queens explores rodeo as an American “cultural ritual.” Without losing sight of … » More …

Fall 2005

The Work of Wolves

Reading Kent Meyers’s The Work of Wolves reminded me of a time when I loved horses. To watch them gallop, to see them stoop and eat grass, to feel their breath as they’d nuzzle my hand for oats. To sense in them an innate sovereignty that people in our century seem sometimes to have abandoned.

Which is why this story of South Dakota’s iron landscape, compassion battling possessive hatred, and the plight of three horses, appeals so.

Stoic rancher’s son Carson Fielding takes a job he doesn’t want teaching an obsessively arrogant man’s wife to ride. Over the course of her training they fall into … » 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 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 …