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The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest

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The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Combine the sense of nationhood with the European values of scholarship and advanced technology; take into account the European habit of organized aggression; mix in simple cultural differences such as what you eat and how you smell: Little wonder that instead of meeting on equal terms, Europeans so often approached the native population from an assumption of superiority that quickly descended into violence and disdain." Bob Hicks, the Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review)

Synopses & Reviews

Review:

Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed book Sources of the River, which set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region.

Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout other areas of western North America. Douglas's discoveries include hundreds of western plants — most notably the Douglas Fir.

The Collector tracks Douglas's fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker, and details his adventures in North America discovering "exotic" new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas's journeys into a literal "brave new world" of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands.

In telling Douglas's story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.

Review:

"[A]n entertaining portrait of the unfettered determination that drove one of the giants in the field...and infused the young nation he viewed with a keen and zealous spirit." Booklist

Book News Annotation:

From 1823 to 1834, Scottish plant collector and naturalist Douglas explored what is now Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, and the impact he had continues to be enormous today. A naturalist based in Spokane, Washington, Nisbet draws on his journal and letters home to trace his itinerary not only in this region but also afterward farther north into the Canadian Rockies and through California and across to Hawaii. Among the perspectives are the rites of Neptune 1824-25, sleeping on shattered stones in the summer of 1826, breathing new climates from 1829 to 1932, and craters in 1834. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Historian and naturalist Jack Nisbet's previous books include Visible Bones: Journeys across Time in the Columbia River Country, The Mapmaker's Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau, Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson across Western North America, and Purple Flat Top: In Search of a Place.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Wendy in Port Townsend, September 21, 2011 (view all comments by Wendy in Port Townsend)
As a new resident of the Pacific Northwest, I was attracted to this book, which won an award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. The Douglas Fir, the Douglas Iris, and the Douglas Squirrel are named for David Douglas, along with dozens of other species. He collected and named over 500 new species for the Royal Horticultural Society in the 1820s, bringing many samples back to England to be used in gardens. Douglas was a fascinating man, incredibly energetic and curious, as he traveled often alone with his dog, hiking up mountains and paddling in canoes along rivers to find new plants for British gardens and to use the latest scientific equipment to determine the height of mountains. Douglas learned about edible forest plants by watching Native Americans cooking, and he met all sorts of characters as he hiked among remote forts and sailed to and from England and Hawaii. Jack Nisbet writes poetically, brilliantly framing the dramatic life and bizarre death of this Scotsman for the 21st Century reader. I like how Nisbet locates current place names and points out local flora and fauna that Douglas would have seen in his travels, even if Douglas doesn't mention them in his own journals. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the history and natural history of the Pacific Northwest, and to those who enjoy reading a biography of a very unusual character.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781570616136
Subtitle:
David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest
Publisher:
Sasquatch Books
Author:
Nisbet, Jack
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Pacific Northwest
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Life Sciences - Botany
Subject:
History
Subject:
Canada Description and travel.
Subject:
Northwest, Pacific Description and travel.
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090901
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW illustrations throughout, maps thr
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.50 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Science and Technology
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » History
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Botany » Flora of the Pacific Northwest
Science and Mathematics » Botany » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest
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$ In Stock
Product details 304 pages Sasquatch Books - English 9781570616136 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Combine the sense of nationhood with the European values of scholarship and advanced technology; take into account the European habit of organized aggression; mix in simple cultural differences such as what you eat and how you smell: Little wonder that instead of meeting on equal terms, Europeans so often approached the native population from an assumption of superiority that quickly descended into violence and disdain." (read the entire Oregonian review)
"Review" by , Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed book Sources of the River, which set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region.

Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout other areas of western North America. Douglas's discoveries include hundreds of western plants — most notably the Douglas Fir.

The Collector tracks Douglas's fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker, and details his adventures in North America discovering "exotic" new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas's journeys into a literal "brave new world" of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands.

In telling Douglas's story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.

"Review" by , "[A]n entertaining portrait of the unfettered determination that drove one of the giants in the field...and infused the young nation he viewed with a keen and zealous spirit."
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