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Wildmen, Wobblies & Whistle Punks: Stewart Holbrook's Lowbrow Northwest (Northwest Reprints)by Stewart Hall Holbrook
The great Stewart Holbrook was a storytelling titan and remains one of the most important writers in Pacific Northwest history. Wildmen, Wobblies and Whistle Punks is a career-spanning collection of over two dozen pieces set mostly in Holbrook's beloved Oregon. Comfortable writing about nearly anything, Holbrook told true tales that often dealt with the fantastic, the forgotten, and the forlorn. Like H. L. Mencken, his contemporary and friend, Holbrook stood up for the marginalized working man and exposed the hypocrisies of the ruling classes. Holbrook could seemingly make any topic interesting with his easy blend of humor, character, and lively prose. Wildmen, Wobblies and Whistle Punks contains some truly unbelievable stories about the Tillamook burn (355,000 acres of old growth forest fire), the 1942 aerial bombing of Brookings, Oregon, by the Japanese, the 1903 Heppner flood (deadliest natural disaster in state history), and the late-19th century practice of "crimping" drunken patrons from Portland saloons. Replete with a dizzying and rugged array of sensational characters, including railroad moguls, anarchists, murderers, tavern owners, lumberjacks, communists, robber barons, prophets, cattle kings, outlaws, and prostitutes, this collection will intrigue anyone with even the remotest interest in the Pacific Northwest or neglected American history. From Wildmen, Wobblies and Whistle Punks:
Yet the supporters of this and of other myths are not to be charged with fabricating. They are merely poets, poets seeking to fasten a measure of that mysterious thing we call art to an event or a thing that is graceless without it.
Recommended by Blaine, Powells.com
The great Stewart Holbrook was a storytelling titan and remains one of the most important writers in Pacific Northwest history. Wildmen, Wobblies and Whistle Punks is a career-spanning collection of over two dozen pieces set mostly in Holbrook's beloved Oregon. Comfortable writing about nearly anything, his true tales often dealt with the fantastic, the forgotten, and the forlorn. Replete with a dizzying and rugged array of sensational characters including railroad moguls, anarchists, murderers, tavern owners, lumberjacks, communists, robber barons, prophets, cattle kings, outlaws, and prostitutes, this collection will intrigue anyone with even the remotest interest in the Pacific Northwest or neglected American history.
Synopses & Reviews
Stewart Holbrook — high-school dropout, logger, journalist, storyteller, and historian — was one of the best-loved figures in the Pacific Northwest during the two decades preceding his death in 1964. This anthology collects two dozen of his best pieces about his adopted home, the Pacific Northwest. Holbrook believed in "lowbrow or non-stuffed-shirt history." Holbrook's lowbrow Northwest ranges from British Columbia logging camps to Oregon ranches, and is peopled with fascinating characters like Liverpool Liz of the old Portland waterfront, the over-sexed prophet Joshua Ii of the Church of the Brides of Christ in Corvallis, and Arthur Boose, the last Wobbly paper boy. Here are stories of forgotten scandals and crimes, forest fires, floods, and other catastrophes, stories of workers, underdogs, scoundrels, dreamers, and fanatics, stories that bring the past to life.
A popular regional writer of the Pacific Northwest who fell into obscurity after his death, Holbrook (1893-1964) gets a lively repackaging of his work in this collection of 26 pieces drawn from his journalism and his books. Holbrook went west from his native Vermont in 1920 and worked in logging camps before discovering his vocation as a writer. His first book, Holy Old Mackinaw, published in 1938 (and still in print), made his name. Known as "the Lumberjack Boswell," he specialized in entertaining histories of offbeat characters, such as the profiles included here of Prophet Joshua the Second (and his harem) from the Church of the Brides of Christ, the tough logging camp signal boys known as whistle punks, and labor union diehard Arthur Boose of the Industrial Workers of the World, popularly known as "the Wobblies." Eschewing deep messages or provocative thought, Holbrook at his best is a supreme storyteller, taking old tales like "The Great Homestead Murders" and shaping them into mesmerizing reads. Booth, whose first book this is, is founder and chair of the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Here are the best of Holbrook's colorful and irreverent accounts of the region's history, from forgotten scandals and murders to stories of forest fires and floods and tales of loggers and life in the logging camps.
About the Author
Stewart Holbrook was born in Vermont in 1893 and came to the Northwest in 1920. After working as a logger, he moved in 1923 to Portland and spent the rest of his life writing. He was a fast and productive writer, regularly turning out 3,000 to 5,000 words a day. He wrote for the Oregonian newspaper, as well as articles for magazines ranging from the New Yorker to Startling Detective. He also wrote, co-authored, and edited over three dozen books. His first book, Holy Old Mackinaw: A Natural History of the American Lumberjack, was published in 1938, and it made him a national figure.
Brian Booth is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Oregon Institute of Literary Arts, and also serves as Chairman of the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission.
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