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River Pigs & Cayuses: Oral Histories from the Pacific Northwest (Northwest Reprints)by Ron Strickland
Synopses & Reviews
Ron Strickland's oral histories recover a part of the original Northwest character that is rapidly disappearing. In River Pigs and Cayuses, he gathers stories from old-timers in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Brimming with lively accounts both humorous and poignant, the book illuminates cadences and traditions that Strickland hopes will survive long after the storytellers are gone. Here a moonshiner, a fish pirate, a timber cruiser, a branding iron maker, a smoke jumper, a frontier bride, and twenty-five other fascinating individuals speak vividly, revealing their personal histories in their own words.<P>Strickland introduces each story, providing information on the teller and placing the story in context. In telling their own stories, his subjects speak to the diversity of life and labor in the Northwest. A short glossary enhances the "listening" experience, as do Strickland's own photographs of the storytellers.<P>In a new introduction, William Kittredge notes that Strickland's interviewees are most passionate when speaking of their survival in the work-a-day world, sustained both by their livelihoods and by the solace of companionship. "What we hear echoing over and again in these voices", Kittredge writes, "is pride, at having managed difficult lives, and having along the way earned independence, all the individuality they could manage, and an unapologetic sense of self".
Book News Annotation:
A long-time hiker and good listener, Strickland decided at some point to start recording the stories he heard on his rambles, especially between 1970 and 1983 as he was exploring and choosing routes for what eventually became the Pacific Northwest Trail, winding from the Rocky Mountains to the ocean. Here are 31 of them, first published in 1979 by Lexikos, San Francisco. He includes a glossary of odd terms, but does not explain how to pronounce them.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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