Skip to main content Skip to navigation

American West

John Mullan
Summer 2014

Lost highway

John Mullan closed the last link of the Northwest Passage and vanished from history—until now

On a May morning in 1858, along a small creek on the northern edge of the Palouse, hundreds of warriors from several Inland Northwest Indian tribes closed in on 160 Army soldiers led by Col. Edward Steptoe. An Army retreat turned into a 10-hour running battle. Two company commanders were mortally wounded, panicking the men. At last, the troops took up defensive positions on a hillside in what is today Rosalia. As night fell, they were surrounded, outgunned, and down to two rounds of ammunition apiece.

More than a … » More …

Yankee on Puget Sound
Spring 2014

A Yankee on Puget Sound

a yankee on puget sound

Karen L. Johnson ’78 and Dennis M. Larsen ’68

WSU Press, 2013

 

Pioneer Edward Jay Allen lived near Olympia when the Oregon Territory was split in two and federal politicians elected to name the new territory Washington, rejecting the local suggestion of Columbia. Allen helped survey a wagon road over Naches Pass, a backcountry route still in use by those who favor mud and adversity over miles per gallon and speed. Future Union general George B. McClellan shared a cabin with Allen one summer, leading to a fast friendship a decade before … » More …

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 …