Synopses & Reviews
In To Build a Ship
, Don Berry explores the extent to which a man can betray himself and his morality for a dream or obsession. It's the story of a handful of settlers who take up land on the beautiful Tillamook Bay in the early 1850s — defiant dreamers battling the wilderness. With forested mountains at their backs and the open sea as their sole road to trade, they are suddenly isolated from the outside world when the only captain who would enter their harbor dies. With the survival of their new settlement threatened, they decide to build their own schooner.
At first the challenge brings out the best in the men, but the tension of their gigantic purpose overtakes them. Obstacles accumulate and complications mount: a death, a murder trial, trouble with restive Indians, and finally a travesty of justice. Excitement, shock, and gripping drama mark this story of men pushed to the point of madness as they see the Morning Star of Tillamook slowly take shape on the wild Pacific shore.
Don Berry's novels about the Oregon Territory are as rich and compelling today as when they were first published more than forty years ago. These new editions of Trask, Moontrap, and To Build a Ship include an introduction by Jeff Baker, book critic for The Oregonian.
About the Author
Don Berry (1932-2001) considered himself a native Oregonian, despite the fact that he was born in Minnesota, with a lineage from Fox Indians. After attending Reed College, where his housemates included poet Gary Snyder, who shared his interest in Eastern metaphysics, Berry began a lifetime of pursuing his many passions: playing down-home blues and composing synthesizer music, sumi drawing and painting, sculpting in bronze, exploring theoretical mathematics, and writing for prize-winning films.
In addition to his three novels about the Oregon Territory (Trask, Moontrap, and To Build a Ship) published in the early 1960s, Berry wrote A Majority of Scoundrels, a history of the Rocky Mountain fur trade. An early Internet pioneer, he also created a remarkable body of literature that exists now only in cyberspace.