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.