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Oregon State University Press

Website: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/

For fifty years, Oregon State University Press has been publishing exceptional books about the Pacific Northwest -- its people and landscapes, its flora and fauna, its history and cultural heritage. The Press has played a vital role in the region's literary life, providing readers with a better understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian.

Founded in 1961 when the University adopted its current name of Oregon State University, the OSU Press at first published mainly scholarly works on the biological and natural sciences. But sprinkled throughout our list were titles about Oregon that appealed to the book-loving public.

Fifty year -- and nearly 400 book -- later, the heart of our mission is still the same. We are a scholarly publisher with distinguished books in several academic areas from environmental history and natural resource management to indigenous studies and we publish titles that celebrate, evaluate, invent, and illuminate the Oregon condition.


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Oregon State University Press

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Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies Cover

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Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies

David G. James and David Nunnallee present the life histories of the entire butterfly fauna of a geographic region in exceptional and riveting detail for the first time in North America in Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies.

Virtually all of the 158 butterfly species occurring in southern British Columbia, Washington, northern Idaho, and northern Oregon are included in the book. Color photographs of each stage of life—egg, every larval instar, pupa, adult—accompany information on the biology, ecology, and rearing of each species.

Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies will appeal to naturalists, hikers, amateur entomologists, butterfly gardeners, conservationists, students, and general readers of natural history. For scientists and dedicated lepidopterists, the book provides an unparalleled resource on the natural history of immature stages of butterflies in the Pacific Northwest—and beyond, as many of Cascadia’s butterflies occur in other parts of North America as well as Europe and Asia.

Light on the Devils Cover

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Light on the Devils

Coming of Age on the Klamath

When Louise Wagenknecht’s family arrived in the remote logging town of Happy Camp in 1962, a boundless optimism reigned. Whites and Indians worked together in the woods and the lumber mills of northern California’s Klamath country. Logging and lumber mills, it seemed, would hold communities together forever.

But that booming prosperity would come to an end. Looking back on her teenage years spent along the Klamath River, Louise Wagenknecht recounts a vanishing way of life. She explores the dynamics of family relationships and the contradictions of being female in a western logging town in the 1960s. And she paints an evocative portrait of the landscape and her relationship with it.

Light on the Devils is a readable and elegant memoir of place. It will appeal to general readers interested in the Pacific Northwest, personal memoir, history, and natural history.

The Lumberman's Frontier Cover

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The Lumberman's Frontier

Three Centuries of Land Use, Society, and Change in America's Forests

Thomas R. Cox

With The Lumberman’s Frontier, Thomas Cox has reconstructed a groundbreaking history that stands apart from all previous studies of American forests.

Forests were ubiquitous in early America, but it was only in selected areas that trees, rather than farming, ranching, or mining, attracted settlement. These areas constitute the lumberman’s frontier, which appeared first in northern New England in the seventeenth century, followed by upstate New York, the Allegheny Plateau, the upper Great Lakes states, the Gulf South, and the Far West.

The forest frontiers generated capital and building materials important in the nation’s development, but they also left a legacy of environmental problems, class and urban-rural divisions, and economic frictions. The 1930s marked the end of the lumberman’s frontier, but these consequences continue to shape attitudes and policies toward forests, most notably the questions “Whose forests are they?” and “How and by whom should forests be used?”

Drawing upon recent work in social and economic history, as well as a wealth of historical data on forest industries and individuals, The Lumberman’s Frontier neither glorifies economic development nor falls into the maw of ecological gloom-and-doom. It puts individual actors at center stage, allowing the points of view of the workers and lumbermen to emerge.

Massacred for Gold Cover

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Massacred for Gold

The Chinese in Hells Canyon

R. Gregory Nokes

In 1887, more than 30 Chinese gold miners were massacred on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. Massacred for Gold, the first authoritative account of the unsolved crime—one of the worst of the many crimes committed by whites against Chinese laborers in the American West—unearths the evidence that points to an improbable gang of rustlers and schoolboys, one only 15, as the killers.

The crime was discovered weeks after it happened, but no charges were brought for nearly a year, when gang member Frank Vaughan, son of a well-known settler family, confessed and turned state’s evidence. Six men and boys, all from northeastern Oregon’s remote Wallowa country, were charged—but three fled, and the others were found innocent by a jury that a witness admitted had little interest in convicting anyone. A cover-up followed, and the crime was all but forgotten for the next 100 years, until a county clerk found hidden records in an unused safe.

In bringing this story out of the shadows, Nokes examines the once-substantial presence of Chinese laborers in the interior Pacific Northwest, describing why they came, how their efforts contributed to the region’s development, and how too often mistreatment and abuse were their only reward.

Meander Scars Cover

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Meander Scars

Reflections on Healing the Willamette River

Abby Phillips Metzger

“Metzger’s keen insights spring from a lifetime of direct observation while growing up along the river and recording its most subtle changes and the impact of the scarring in the eco-region it passes through. Written with passion and grace, the book is, in a sense, a love story for a once-wild river now tamed. Metzger asks, ‘Who gives us permission to intervene?’ She concludes that in the great web of history, nature will ultimately decide, and that we humans are left only to imagine.” —Carol Ann Bassett, author of Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution

Abby Phillips Metzger’s book of personal stories recounts a forgotten Oregon river, the Willamette, as it was before white settlement. Once a rich network of channels and sloughs, the Willamette today bears the scars of development and degradation. Yet, through canoe trips and intimate explorations of the river, Metzger discovers glints of resiliency: a beaver trolling through a slough, native fish in quiet backwaters, and strong currents that carry undertones of the wild Willamette. Together with tales from farmers and scientists alike, these experiences lead Metzger to ask whether something scarred can fully heal, and whether a disjointed river can be whole again.

A story of re-discovery as told by a learner, Meander Scars will appeal to readers of literary nonfiction, river advocates, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts interested in sustaining healthy river systems for themselves, their children, and beyond.

Mexicanos in Oregon Cover

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Mexicanos in Oregon

Their Stories, Their Lives

Erlinda V. Gonzales-Berry and Marcela Mendoza

Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives sheds new light on why migrants come to Oregon, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States.

Although Oregon has had a settled Mexican-origin population since the mid-nineteenth century, the number of Latinos residing in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last two decades, leading to increased diversity across the state, particularly visible in the public school system and in agricultural and service occupations.

Mexicanos in Oregon explores this history of migration and settlement of mexicanos, highlighting their sustained practices of community building, their struggles for integration, and their contributions to the economic and cultural life of the state. Using archival records, primary and secondary sources, demographic statistics, and personal testimonies, and drawing from multiple disciplines, Gonzales-Berry and Mendoza create a picture of the economic, political, social, and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of mexicanos. The blend of scholarly research and individual stories reflects the very human dimension and complex forces that make up the mexicano experience in Oregon.

Morning Light Cover

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Morning Light

Stories from Yamhill County

Barbara Drake

When Barbara Drake and her husband left Portland and moved to a small farm in western Oregon’s Yamhill Valley in the late 80’s, they saw it as a temporary relocation—they would return to the city eventually. But as the couple’s experiences on the farm multiplied—training herding dogs, enlisting a pair of traveling dowsers to help them find a good well, and stargazing in a singular nighttime darkness—certain themes began to emerge, and the couple decided to hang on to their rural life as long as possible.

Barbara Drake articulates the lessons she’s learned from her long stint of country living in her new book, Morning Light. Replete with records of native wildflowers, an encounter with an elderly man who lived on her farm eighty years ago, and an old family recipe for wild blackberry pudding, Morning Light is an appreciation and exploration of the landscape of western Oregon, and readers will come to know it better through the book.

As entertaining and instructive as it is personal and reflective, Drake’s writing will resonate with anyone who has experienced a convergence of family history with natural history, considered their place in the historical continuum, or wondered if their lifestyle can be sustained with age.

In a world where even “the country” is becoming increasingly citified, Morning Light reminds us why we should care for our rural landscapes—while we still can.

Multnomah Cover

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Multnomah

The Tumultuous Story of Oregon's Most Populous County

Covering people and events from 1854 to the present day, this definitive history of Multnomah County provides compelling details about public works triumphs and political scandals.

Founded as a convenience so residents of the fast-growing city of Portland wouldn’t have to ride by horseback to Hillsboro, Oregon’s tiniest county geographically soon grew to be the state’s most populous.  Through nearly sixteen decades, Multnomah County’s history seldom has been calm and peaceful.  From hangings that turned into grim public spectacles in the nineteenth century to a glaring failure to deal with urban growth in the middle of the twentieth, the county survived several attempts to revamp its structure or merge with Portland’s better-known municipal government.

Highlighted episodes include the construction of the iconic Columbia River Highway between 1914 and 1918, the tragic flooding of Vanport City in 1948, the employee strike of 1980, the library scandal of 1989-1990, and the same-sex marriage license debacle of 2004.

Historian Jewel Lansing and journalist Fred Leeson make effective use of archival sources, oral histories, newspaper articles, and personal interviews to create the definitive reference on Multnomah County history, politics, and policy. History buffs and informed Portland citizens will be particularly engaged by the regional trivia and narrative details.

The Next Tsunami Cover

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The Next Tsunami

Living on a Restless Coast

Bonnie Henderson

On a March evening in 1964, ten-year-old Tom Horning awoke near midnight to find his yard transformed. A tsunami triggered by Alaska’s momentous Good Friday earthquake had wreaked havoc in his Seaside, Oregon, neighborhood. It was, as far as anyone knew, the Pacific Northwest coast’s first-ever tsunami.

More than twenty years passed before geologists discovered that it was neither Seaside’s first nor worst tsunami. In fact, massive tsunamis strike the Pacific coast every few hundred years, triggered not by distant temblors but by huge quakes less than one hundred miles off the Northwest coast. Not until the late 1990s would scientists use evidence like tree rings and centuries-old warehouse records from Japan to fix the date, hour, and magnitude of the Pacific Northwest coast’s last megathrust earthquake: 9 p.m., January 26, 1700, magnitude 9.0—one of the largest quakes the world has known. When the next one strikes—this year or hundreds of years from now—the tsunami it generates is likely to be the most devastating natural disaster in the history of the United States.

Illuminating the charged intersection of science, human nature, and public policy, The Next Tsunami describes how scientists came to understand the Cascadia Subduction Zone—a fault line capable of producing earthquakes even larger than the 2011 Tohoku quake in Japan—and how ordinary people cope with that knowledge. The story begins and ends with Tom Horning, who grew up to be a geologist and return to his family home at the mouth of the river in Seaside—arguably the Northwest community with the most to lose from what scientist Atwater predicts will be an “apocalyptic” disaster. No one in Seaside understands earthquake and tsunami science—and the politics and complicated psychology of living in a tsunami zone—better than Horning.

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