Here’s a round-up of reading recommendations featuring 11 titles curated by the staff at WSU Press.
Be Brave, Tah-hy!: The Journey of Chief Joseph’s Daughter by Jack R. Williams with illustrations by Jo Proferes (2012). Exquisitely illustrated and rich with depictions of Nimiipuu Dreamer culture, Tah-hy’s young voice narrates this novel about the harrowing 1877 flight of the Nez Perce.
Edge of Tomorrow: An Arctic Year by Sam Wright (1998). Living in a hand-built, 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin in the Brooks Range of Alaska 100 miles inside the Arctic Circle, Wright records his experiences and thoughts through seasonal changes, as he and his wife spend a year in isolation and contemplation.
Farallon Shipwreck and Survival on the Alaska Shore by Steve K. Lloyd (2000). In 1910, the steamship Farallon ran aground in Cook Inlet, stranding the crew and passengers on the barren shore. Lloyd brings to life the riveting tale of these hardy, seafaring men who survived hunger and despair under brutal circumstances.
In the Path of Destruction: Eyewitness Chronicles of Mount St. Helens by Richard Waitt (2015). A geologist with intimate knowledge of Mount St. Helens, Waitt chronicles the eruption through unforgettable, riveting narratives—the heart of a thoroughly researched chronology that also delivers engrossing science, history, and journalism.
Made In Hanford: The Bomb That Changed the World by Hill Williams (2011). At an isolated location along the Columbia River in 1944, the world’s first plutonium factory became operational, producing fuel for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II. Williams, a former Seattle Times science writer, traces the amazing, tragic story—from the dawn of nuclear science to Cold War testing in the Marshall Islands.
Making the Grade: Plucky Schoolmarms of Kittitas Country by Barb Owen (2008). Former Kittitas country schoolmarms reflect fondly on teaching in remote locales between 1914 and 1942. Facing their ordeals with creativity, dedication, and pluck, the young educators enhanced the lives of children, and earned the adoration of rural populations.
Not As Briefed: From the Doolittle Raid to a German Stalag by Colonel C. Ross Greening. Compiled and edited by Karen Morgan Driscoll Ross (2001). Greening piloted a B-25 in the 1942 Doolittle Raid, was shot down over Italy in 1943, escaped from a POW train, hid out in the mountains of northern Italy, and ended up in a German stalag. His remarkable paintings and writing recall his World War II experiences.
Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster by Angela M. Day (2014). Incorporating national and historical context as well as a local fisherman’s perspective, this volume depicts the catastrophe that stunned the world and devastated a spectacular, fragile ecosystem and its bordering communities.
Rugged Mercy: A Country Doctor in Idaho’s Sun Valley by Robert Wright Hailey (2013). Physician Robert H. Wright’s long and captivating career, chronicled by his grandson, illuminates frontier medical practice and family life as well as the region’s thrilling Wild West past.
Snowbound by Ladd Hamilton (1997). In 1893, three New Yorkers, their guide, and a camp cook were caught by an early winter in the Bitterroot Mountains, and forced by their own ill luck and bad judgment to a decision that shocked the nation. This is the scandalous, true tale of the Carlin party, whose adventure of a lifetime became an unthinkable tragedy.
Surviving the Oregon Trail, 1852: As Told by Mary Ann and Willis Boatman and Augmented with Accounts by other Overland Travelers by Weldon Willis Rau (2001). The 1852 overland migration, the largest on record, was a year in which cholera took a terrible toll on lives. Firsthand accounts, including the words and thoughts of a young married couple convey the journey’s hardships and heartbreak.
Books recommended by WSU president and others
Books by WSU alumni, faculty, and staff
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What to watch: Movies and TV shows featuring WSU, alumni, and staff
Staff picks: What Washington State Magazine staff are reading, watching, and listening to