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Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyonby R. Gregory Nokes
"R. Gregory Nokes is clearly obsessed with the 1887 murder of more than 30 Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon, one of the blackest episodes in Oregon's sordid history of race relations....The result of Nokes' obsession is an informative and exciting account." Matt Love, the Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
In 1887, more than thirty 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, unearths the evidence that points to an improbable gang of rustlers and schoolboys, one only fifteen, 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 county, 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 one hundred years, until a county clerk in Wallowa County found hidden records in an unused safe.
Massacred for Gold traces the author's long personal journey to expose details of the massacre and its aftermath and to understand how one of the worst of the many crimes committed by whites against Chinese laborers in the American West was for so long lost to history.
"This is an important book. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, Massacred for Gold should be required reading in the American West. Sadly, it took more than 100 years for someone to give this massacre the relentless attention and indignation it has always deserved, but Gregory Nokes has finally done it." Jim Lynch, author of The Highest Tide and Border Songs
About the Author
R. Gregory Nokes traveled the world as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press and the Oregonian, where he first wrote about the murders of the Chinese miners in 1995. His article "A Most Daring Outrage, Murders at Chinese Massacre Cove, 1887" appeared in the Oregon Historical Quarterly in 2006, and his reporting on the subject has resulted in a formal designation of the massacre site as Chinese Massacre Cove. He attended Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow. Greg and his wife, Candise, live in West Linn, Oregon.
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