UW Press News, Reviews, and Events

UW Press Authors in the News

Gordon Hirabayashi famously challenged the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, before embarking on a long and distinguished academic career. His nephew Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, coauthor of A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States recently discussed his uncle’s battle–and eventual victory–on CSPAN’s BookTV. You can watch the discussion here.

The Wilderness Act turned fifty this month, but is it still working in Washington state and beyond? James Morton Turner, author of The Promise of Wilderness, examined the current state of wilderness legislation in this The Seattle Times editorial.

Upcoming Conferences

Fall conference season begins this month, with the UW Press acquisitions team traveling to numerous academic meetings across the country. If you’re attending any of these conferences, please be sure to stop by the exhibit hall to say hello and browse through our latest books!

American Society for Ethnohistory
October 8-12
Indianapolis, Indiana

Western History Association
Booth 10 / October 15-18
Newport Beach, California

The Annual Conference on South Asia
Booth 7 / October 16-19
Madison, Wisconsin

American Studies Association
Booth 103 / November 6-9
Los Angeles, California

National Women’s Studies Association
November 13-16
San Juan, Puerto Rico

American Anthropological Association
Booth 212 / December 3-7
Washington, D.C.

New Books

MCAGREGreat Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest
By Ian McAllister, forward by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The Great Bear Rainforest is the fabled region that stretches up the rugged Pacific coast from the top of Vancouver Island to southern Alaska. A longtime resident of the area, award-winning photographer and conservationist Ian McAllister takes us on a deeply personal journey from the headwaters of the Great Bear Rainforest’s unexplored river valleys down to where the ocean meets the rainforest and finally to the hidden depths of the offshore world.

Along the way, we meet the spectacular wildlife that inhabits the Great Bear Rainforest – in a not-so-unusual week, McAllister quietly observes twenty-seven bears fishing for salmon, three of which are the famed pure white “spirit” bears, Kermodes. McAllister introduces us to the First Nations people who have lived there for millennia and have become his close friends and allies, and to the scientists conducting groundbreaking research and racing against time to protect the rainforest from massive energy projects.

Rich with full-color photographs of the wolves, whales, and other creatures who make the rainforest their home, Great Bear Wild is a stunning celebration of this legendary area.

BHAROORoots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest
By Amy P. Bhatt and Nalini Iyer, forward by Deepa Banerjee
New in paperback

Immigrants from South Asia first began settling in Washington and Oregon in the nineteenth century, but because of restrictions placed on Asian immigration to the United States in the early twentieth century, the vast majority have come to the region since World War II.

Roots and Reflections uses oral history to show how South Asian immigrant experiences were shaped by the region and how they differed over time and across generations. It includes the stories of immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka who arrived from the end of World War II through the 1980s.

GOOROGRoger Shimomura: An American Knockoff
By Anne Goodyear and Chris Bruce
Distributed for Washington State University Museum of Art

For four decades, Roger Shimomura’s paintings, prints, and theatre pieces have addressed sociopolitical issues of Asian America. He does this through a style that combines his childhood interest in comic books, American Pop Art, and traditions of Japanese woodblock prints, thereby evoking his Japanese ancestry while locating him firmly within modern American artistic developments.

Through this artistic device, he is able to bring together a wild mixture of compositions that offer up patterns of criticism within visually compelling works of sumptuous color and lighthearted Pop directness. In his recent work, under the banner, An American Knockoff (2009 to the present), Shimomura has taken on the long tradition of self-portraiture through the radical lens of cultural conflict. Two thematic directions – assimilation and resistance – are often fused together as the artist inserts himself as an aging Asian Everyman in various guises and situations, both funny and poignant.

CHIGOIGoing Down to the Sea: Chinese Sex Workers Abroad
By Ko-lin Chin
Distributed for Silkworm Books

In this book, eighteen Chinese women tell how they came to sell sex in Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Los Angeles, and New York.

The women’s candid stories put a human face on issues of globalized commercial sex and provide a raw, inside view of the money-driven transnational sex industry.

The author, an expert in the field of criminal justice, frames their personal accounts with contextual details and incisive commentary to provide a rich understanding of the realities and myths of prostitution and global sex trafficking. While the interviews were gathered as part of an extensive research project for the author’s 2012 book, Selling Sex Overseas, the full accounts are published here for the first time. The women describe, in their own words, what motivated them to leave China to work in the sex trade abroad, how much they earn, what hardships they face, and what they hope for in the future.

Upcoming Events

Jeffrey Karl Ochsner with Feliks Banel, Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, Second Edition, September 29, Town Hall Seattle,  7:30 p.m.

Joshua Howe, Behind the Curve: Science and the Politics of Global Warming, September 29, Oregon Historical Society’s History Pub at McMenamin’s Kennedy School, Portland, 7:00 p.m.

Frances McCue and Mary Randlett, Mary Randlett Portraits, October 14, Town Hall Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

Moon Ho Jung with Dan Berger, The Rising Tide of Color: Race, State Violence, and Radical Movements Across the Pacific, October 15, University Book Store, 7:00 p.m.

Joshua Howe, Behind the Curve: Science and the Politics of Global Warming, October 20, Seattle Public Library, 7:00 p.m.

Ian McAllister, Great Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest, October 26, Town Hall Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

Wilderburbs and Wildlife in the American West: A Q & A with Lincoln Bramwell

Wilderburbs: Communities on Nature’s Edge is the environmental history of a housing phenomenon that places human developments in close proximity to wild places: on the edges of forests, deserts, and mountain slopes of the American West. Author Lincoln Bramwell, chief historian for the USDA Forest Service, spoke with us recently about what drove his interest in this topic and some of the major challenges that can accompany life in wilderburbs.

Q: Are wilderburbs and the sort of human/nature encounters they introduce a new phenomenon? 

Lincoln Bramwell: Wilderburbs are in no way a new phenomenon. People with means around the world have maintained country estates outside of the crowded metropolis for millennia. Wealthy Americans began imitating English country estates following the Revolution when cities like Philadelphia and Boston grew in population and density. While these spaces were definitely out of reach for all except the upper class, by the nineteenth century rail lines allowed the middle class to live in larger single occupant homes away from the city. The automobile  further expanded how far Americans could live outside of town and maintain a job in the city, but the romantic suburb of the wealthy remained unattainable as the homes and development outside cities morphed into suburban sprawl.

Only in the mid- to late twentieth century did you see a confluence of factors that allowed the middle class to find their version of the romantic suburb in greater numbers. After the development of all-weather highways throughout the country, the affordability of all-wheel drive vehicles, the information and communication revolution that freed people and capital from the city center, and the availability of forested lands for sale and development did you start to see large numbers of Americans move beyond the suburban fringe and into wilderburbs. The trend really began to boom the last two decades of the twentieth century, but the desire to live in the woods but close enough to enjoy the amenities of the city is as old as our nation.

Q: How did you experiences as a wildland firefighter inspire and influence your research on wilderburbs?

LB: This project was born on a fireline. All throughout undergrad and graduate school, I spent summers fighting fires for the Forest Service. The work took me all over the West, from the uninhabited backcountry to the outskirts of major cities. Over time, I noticed more and more houses spring up in the woods like mushrooms after a spring rain. And these were not just solitary cabins, entire subdivisions tucked into the trees using every conceivable type of vegetation as screening between homes.

The presence of these homes started to change my job as a firefighter. As more people and homes with greater monetary value moved into the woods, the expectation for firefighters to control wildfires increased. The expectations translated into pressure to push fire crews beyond their capacity and outside of safety guidelines; loss of life was the inevitable result. With these changes taking place, I started asking questions about the appearance of housing developments on the forest edge. These questions sparked an inquiry that lasted years and culminated with this book.

Q: What are some of the unexpected challenges that wilderburb residents encounter?

An artist's conceptual drawing for the Pinebrook development outside Park City, Utah.

An artist’s conceptual drawing for the Pinebrook development outside Park City, Utah.

LB: There are many challenges that homeowners encounter once they leave the familiarity of the suburbs and move into the forest’s edge. First, land use regulations are very different in unincorporated areas of Western counties. In the book I give the examples of residents in Colorado that became frustrated when their closest neighbor turned his one-acre lot into a showcase for his wrecked car collection and of the shock of homeowners outside Park City, Utah who learned their development’s water system was not regulated by the state and could contain any number of contaminants.

In wilderburbs, residents normally accustomed to living in metropolitan areas additionally faced three primary types of environmental challenges: threats from wildfire, water scarcity, and encounters with wild animals. In my interactions with homeowners, I found that most had an idea of how to handle one or two of these challenges but were often unaware of the third. Having their house burn down, well run dry, or pet lost to a predator higher on the food chain, proved to be the catalyst for many homeowners to abandon the wilderburbs and return to the city.

Q: The prospect of viewing animals is often part of the appeal of the setting until those same creatures is inconvenient or dangerous. How is this dual view of wild animals dangerous for both humans and animals?

LB: The relationship between wilderburb residents and homeowners is fascinating. In that relationship I saw the greatest expression of cultural assumptions and values in relation to wild animals. For many homeowners that I interviewed, the chance to live in proximity to wildlife was one of the main attractions that drew them to live beyond the suburban fringe. However, homeowners often felt differently about wildlife once they moved into wildlife habitat and encountered animals more frequently.

A western mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), with its distinctive large ears, in Arizona's Kaibab National Forest, 1948. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.

A western mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), with its distinctive large ears, in Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, 1948. Photo courtesy of the USDA Forest Service.

Mule deer in the West are the ubiquitous creature featured in wilderburb advertisements because they are prevalent and non-threatening. Once people live in deer habitat they are less than happy to find that the animal will eat all the blooms and ornamental shrubbery that homeowners planted around their property. For wilderburb residents, deer often cease to be a source of adoration and instead come to be seen as a nuisance, vandal, and threat to their property.

My favorite illustration of the values that people ascribed to animals involved moose in Utah. The state is the southernmost habitat in North America for a sub-species of moose. These massive animals have no fear of humans and are by far the most dangerous animal that people might encounter in that state. But due in part to the animal’s great stature and relative rarity, it is admired by much of the population. In the book, I discuss an incident in which a gentleman found a juvenile female moose in his front yard outside Park City, Utah. After retrieving his handgun, he fired several shots at the animal, wounding it and hitting his neighbor’s home with bullets. An outraged community prosecuted the man who received jail time and a fine for mortally wounding the moose, but only received a lesser fine for shooting into his neighbor’s home. The difference in sentence for shooting at an animal versus his neighbors was very illustrative of the high regard that the community held for the animals.

Q: In charting the history of wilderburbs, you present a model of development that is in constant conflict with the limitations of its wild setting. Will you describe that conflict and what, if any, solutions you envision?

A view of Pinebrook and Summit Park in 2004. In the foreground are condos, reflecting the mixed-density design used in Pinebrook. Photo credit Lincoln Bramwell.

A view of Pinebrook and Summit Park in 2004. In the foreground are condos, reflecting the mixed-density design used in Pinebrook. Photo credit Lincoln Bramwell.

LB: The focus of the book is the constant tension between homeowners’ desires and reality, the points of friction where homeowners’ dreams for the landscape meet the reality of nature’s capacity to support those aspirations. Working through this project I found that nature is not merely a stage humans act upon, but neither is it an absolute determinate in human actions. A negotiation takes place between human culture and the natural world. Living on the fringe of urban spaces thrusts humans into new relationships with their environment. For many, these relationships are unexpected, surprising, and sometimes too much for them—spurring a significant proportion of movement back to the city after a short sojourn in the woods.

After studying this issue for years I think the best solution or remedy is for homeowners and government regulators to educate themselves about the potential costs and impact of this type of development. Never rely on developers assurances alone—make your own informed decision and understand the costs your home will have on the environment, the county, and your own lifestyle.

Q: Do you think that more should be done to educate people about the challenges they might face if they choose to move to wilderburbs?

LB: Absolutely more should be done to educate all three stakeholders in the wilderburbs—homeowners, developers, and planners. States and counties have a responsibility to educate their planners so that they understand the costs associated with rural development. Without this understanding, counties with fewer economic resources can unwittingly agree to providing services to far flung communities they did not anticipate before approving the residential project.
For homeowners, education should come from two self-interested sources: from counties that wish to maintain particular environmental or social amenities, and secondly, homeowners need to educate themselves about the possible risks of living in the woods. Wilderburbs is an excellent place to start!

Lincoln Bramwell is chief historian of the USDA Forest Service.

Gordon Hirabayashi: A Personal History through Diaries and Letters

In 1943,  Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and mass removal of Japanese Americans and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned as a result. In A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States, Gordon’s brother James and nephew Lane brought together his prison diaries and voluminous wartime correspondence to tell the story of Hirabayashi v. United States, the Supreme Court case that ultimately vacated his conviction.

In this guest post, Lane Hirabayashi discusses why the first hand accounts written at the time of Gordon’s detention offer a powerful testament to his plight. Examining the nature of memory and oral history more broadly, Hirabayashi explores how diaries and letters  provide a very different kind of evidence than recollections and testimony taken long after the fact.

In the mid-2000s my father, Jim, asked my aunt Susan if he could borrow the diaries and letters that Gordon had written during the war years. Jim simultaneously began to gather all of the materials that both he and Gordon had in their personal files about Gordon’s legal challenges during the 1940s and again during the 1980s. It was a large body of material—fifteen or so banker’s boxes, each of which was half- to three-quarters full—that sat for a number of years to one side of the living room in my father’s house in Mill Valley. Every time I’d visit from Southern California, typically during Christmas and summer vacations, Jim would have sets of files out and he say, “Take a look at this.” I’d sit down, read for a while, and then we’d talk about whatever Jim had put aside. Sometimes there were particular items that Jim wanted to talk about or, alternatively, specific facts or stories about our family that he wanted to relate to me.

Eventually, Jim invited me to work with him to develop a manuscript. For months we talked and corresponded about how best to approach writing about Gordon. I originally had a fairly standard approach in mind, although one that could explore sociological theories of biography as per Norman Denzin and Pierre Bourdieu.

Gordon Hirabayashi in 1938

Jim and I kicked this around for many months. An initial review of a book prospectus by editors at the University of Washington Press, however, suggested that we give primacy to Gordon’s voice in any manuscript that we develop. This advice prompted Jim, who had always thought that there was enough material in Gordon’s papers to sustain a full-length manuscript, to begin to block out parts of the diary that could serve as the heart of a book.  As I received and read these segments, typically sent in the body of long e-mails, I began to realize that Jim was right. Jim was finding enough interesting material that could be broken down without too much trouble into larger chronological and/or thematic blocks that eventually became the sections and chapters of A Principled Stand.

In the course of hammering out a text, which was a slow but organic process, we also began to grapple with certain gaps in Gordon’s 1940s-era material. As readers of A Principled Stand will notice, for example, Gordon doesn’t comment at all on Japanese war atrocities in Asia or the Pacific Islands. People have asked about this at various book talks I’ve given and I really have not known what to say. There were things that Gordon simply didn’t comment on but I’m compelled to say that as a life-long Quaker and a pacifist, Gordon would never have supported or rationalized the killing and injustices associated with war, no matter who happened to be carrying these out.

There were other instances in which we did have a great deal of information, but not specifically accounts from Gordon’s war-time diaries or letters. The first section of the book, for example, covers Gordon’s lineage, parents, and early years of family life in the Kent-Thomas farming area, south of Seattle. Although Gordon had not written about this during the 1940s, he covered such material many times in the numerous oral history interviews he had given, as well as in his published papers and unpublished manuscripts and speeches.

In any case, when we began trying to put together a complete manuscript, we hit a wall. We had to take a step back, look at what we had covered, then determine what was missing and what we really needed to fill in. We started to look through Gordon’s numerous oral histories, his publications, and his unpublished manuscripts—including speeches—that were given or presented decades after the fact. We both noticed that there was a spontaneity and a spirit to Gordon’s diaries that was unique compared to any of the other materials in his personal papers. In other words, Gordon’s immediate, written accounts of the events of the 1940s had a freshness that neither his oral histories nor his accounts from later in life seemed to capture. My personal impression was that Gordon’s first-hand accounts from the 1940s also had a deeper religious inflection than did his post-1950’s renditions of the past.

In doing so, we began to discuss a series of questions that we both found fascinating: After the passage of time, are people able to recall their experiences in terms of the actual thoughts and feelings they had at the time? What happens if we examine accounts of a given event—especially if it happened to be challenging or traumatic—immediately afterward? What about ten, twenty, or fifty years after the fact? How do threats that exist at the time of the original account shape how it is recorded? What happens to an oral history account of a traumatic event if the outcome is eventually salubrious, as in Gordon’s case? And, conversely, how might memories and oral history accounts be impacted by negative or destructive outcomes?

In terms of our particular biographical/autobiographical project, there are a good number of post-hoc accounts of Gordon’s life available (and the family gave a good number of pieces along these lines to the University of Washington Special Collections). These included accounts written by Gordon himself and by others, so those pieces are on the record for consideration by any and all. What is unique about A Principled Stand is that it’s Gordon’s direct account of his wartime experience, taken long before he knew what the outcome would be.

For future researchers, we’ve provided a data set that can be mined for methodological insights. Anyone who is interested can go to the UW Special Collections and begin to assess, empirically, if and how the passage of time, plus the eventual vindication of his stand, influenced Gordon’s account of what happened between 1942 and 1945.

The point of this essay is not to argue that accounts written on the spot, immediately after an event is experienced, are superior to post-hoc oral histories. Rather, I argue that the way one remembers a dramatic or traumatic event may change, evolve, differ over the period of a year, a decade, or half-century. In Gordon’s case, his diaries reflect the voice and sensibilities of a remarkable twenty-four year old who endured incredible hardship without ever losing sight of his convictions. The take-away is that if we only had the post-hoc papers, speeches, and oral history accounts of the mature man, father, Ph.D., professor, and world-traveled Quaker, we still wouldn’t know much about the mind of the youth who, at a relatively young age, determined to take a principled stand.

Lane Ryo Hirabayashi is professor of Asian American Studies and the George and Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community at UCLA. His coauthored book, A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States, is newly available in paperback.

Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World

September marks the start of narwhal migration season, but this fragile species is facing new challenges posed by global warming, commercial fishing, and seismic testing. Here Todd McLeish, author of Narhwals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World details some of the perilous new threats this endangered marine mammal faces in its annual move to warmer waters.

Mid-September is the beginning of migration season for nearly the entire population of 80,000 narwhals that spend the summer in the bays and fjords of the High Arctic islands of eastern Canada and the west coast of Greenland. After spending the ice-free months of July, August, and early September traveling in large groups, raising their calves, and eating next to nothing, they are beginning their slow journey to the southern end of Baffin Bay. They will be forced south for several hundred miles, keeping ahead of the southward expansion of sea ice until November when they reach what will be the edge of the winter ice pack, which typically extends across the Davis Strait from southern Baffin Island to the central coast of Greenland. There they will repeatedly dive to the seafloor — nearly a mile below — to feed on abundant fish and squid. The 30-minute round trip feeding forays aren’t without risks, as they must not only find food but also an opening in the ice cover to breathe while avoiding Greenland sharks in the water column and waiting polar bears at the surface.

But the greater threats they face lay not in the predators they have avoided for tens of thousands of years — including killer whales, their chief summertime predator — but in the increasing threats resulting from a warming climate. We read a great deal in the news about the declining summer ice that is likely to make the North Pole ice free in summer in just a few years, but little is written about the changing weather patterns that cause shifts in the ice, opening leads for marine mammals to surface to breath and quickly closing them again, sometimes entrapping whales and sending them to their death. September is a particularly risky month for ice entrapments, as the longer ice-free periods entice the whales to stay north longer than they should.

Photo by Paul Nicklen/National Geographic Stock

Recent events are likely to add additional stresses to the population of narwhals and other marine mammals in the area. A newly approved plan by the Canadian government for seismic testing in Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait, which is currently being challenged in court by several Inuit communities, is likely to have a significant effect on narwhals. The animals are skittish and easily frightened by minor noises like splashing by Inuit kayakers, so the loud noises from seismic testing and future oil and gas drilling could force them to abandon their wintering and nursery grounds altogether.

Similar problems are likely to arise as increased shipping occurs in the Arctic Ocean. Seventy-one cargo ships traveled a route north of Russia to get from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic in 2013, and those numbers are expected to increase dramatically in coming years. The first cruise ship will cross the Northwest Passage north of Canada and Alaska in 2016, opening the region to expanded travel and tourism that is unlikely to benefit whale populations. And longer ice-free periods each year are already expanding the commercial fishing season in Greenland, which is in direct competition with narwhals, who primarily feed upon the same species targeted by the fishermen, Greenland halibut and Arctic cod.

Although it was just 18 months ago that Narwhals was first published, its predictions about the future threats the animals would face appear to be coming true sooner than expected.

McLeish, Todd 2--credit Renay McLeishTodd McLeish is the author of Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World, which is newly available in paperback. His other publications included Golden Wings and Hairy Toes: Encounters with New England’s Most Imperiled Wildlife and Basking with Humpbacks: Tracking Threatened Marine Life in New England Waters. He lives in Pascoag, Rhode Island.

The Promise of Wilderness

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, a piece of legislation that now protects more than 100 million acres of American land from development. In this guest post, James Morton Turner, author of The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964, contends that the Wilderness Act gave us much more than millions of acreage of wild lands–it gave us a political process that engaged citizens can use to protect and advocate for the conservation of other lands, both wild and public.

The map of the National Wilderness Preservation System is the legacy of five decades of wilderness advocacy. From the shifting sands of Passage Key in Florida to the mountain highlands of the La Garita Wilderness in Colorado to the vast expanses of the Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska, one out of every twenty acres in the United States has been set aside in perpetuity as wilderness. Those areas are meant to be, as the Wilderness Act proclaimed, “an enduring resource for the American people.”

wilderness map

Map of the National Wilderness Preservation System as of 2009, from “The Promise of Wilderness.”

For those who have worked hardest to protect wilderness, that map does not represent 758 wilderness areas that are now isolated and effectively insulated from future challenges and threats. Instead, it affirms something John Muir learned over a century ago: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” The health of the nation’s wildest landscapes depends on the health of the larger landscapes in which they are embedded.

Protecting wilderness means protecting the surrounding public lands, on which the water, wildlife, and aesthetics of wilderness depend. Protecting wilderness means cultivating a rural landscape and economy in which people can work the land sustainably. Protecting wilderness means engaging in other environmental issues, such as climate change, which will transform even the wildest of places. And, finally, protecting wilderness means fostering a healthy political landscape—the future of wilderness depends on a vibrant and engaged polity too.

Most critiques of wilderness begin and end with the Wilderness Act. Specifically, they highlight the definition of wilderness: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Critics argue that such a wilderness ideal, which draws a sharp line between humans and nature, perpetuates a romantic conceptualization of wild nature that is, at best, naive, and has little to offer in the face of the most pressing modern environmental dilemmas. But the problem with such readings of the Wilderness Act is that they often stop at that definition.

The Wilderness Act did more than set forth a definition; it also established a political process. That process has been the engine that has powered a sustained political effort to designate additional wilderness and protect the public lands. As many observers agree, although they rarely look to wilderness advocacy as a model, it is such political engagement that modern American environmentalism needs more of, not less. Instead of a retreat from pressing realities, wilderness advocacy has been an ongoing exercise in citizen organizing, policy negotiations, and judicial and administrative maneuvers. Wilderness means more than pristine wild lands, backpacking adventures, or a stronghold for biodiversity; wilderness also means engaging citizens—both for and against wild lands protections—in a sustained discussion toward the common interest.

All of that is the promise of wilderness.

James Morton Turner is the author of The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964 and an associate professor of environmental studies at Wellesley College.


UW Press News, Reviews, and Events


Howard Zahniser, architect of the Wilderness Act.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, several authors in our Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series are partaking in the commemorations.

Mark Harvey, author of The Wilderness Writings of Howard Zahniser and Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser and the Path to the Wilderness Act, was interviewed by Colorado Public Radio about the Act’s rocky start. Listen to the full interview here. Harvey will also participate in the Visions of the Wild conference, to be held in early September in Vallejo, California.

Paul Sutter, Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series editor and author of Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement moderated the panel, “Wilderness Idea” at the USDA Forest Services’s Cradle of Wilderness event. A digital recording of the program will be available here.

Stay tuned for more events, interviews, and blog posts about the Wilderness Act in the coming weeks and months.


How to Read the American West by William Wyckoff, reviewed in High Country News:

“A field guide unlike any other, with a focus on patterns, variations and the distribution of landscape features….it draws attention to eco-tones, watersheds, settlement patterns and corridors of connection…ultimately, it considers our grip on the land and the land’s grip on us. –Michael Engelhard, High Country News


No-No Boy by John Okada, reviewed in Shelf Awareness:

“[This new edition] brings Okada’s groundbreaking work to a new generation…an internee and enlisted man himself, [Okada] wrote in a raw, brutal stream of consciousness that echoes the pain and intergenerational conflict faced by those struggling to reconcile their heritage to the concept of an American dream. –Nancy Powell, Shelf Awareness



Confronting Memories of World War II: European and Asian Legacies, edited by Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wook Shin, and Daniel Sneider, reviewed in Foreign Affairs:

“Wars evoke powerful emotions: grief and pride, humiliation and honor, outrage and exultation. As this excellent volume reveals, such feelings can come to form essential parts of national mythologies, and this has been especially so in the case of World War II.” –Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs



Upcoming Events

Lan Duong and Mariam B. Lam, Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora, Pomona Public Library, September 6 at 1 p.m.

William Wyckoff, How to Read the American West: A Field Guide, Western National Parks Association, September 24 at 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.

Jeffrey Karl Ochsner with Feliks Banel, Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, Second Edition, Town Hall Seattle, September 29 at 7:30 p.m.

New Books

Mary Randlett Portraits
By Frances McCue
Photographs by Mary Randlett
Known for both her landscapes and portraits, Mary Randlett began documenting Northwest figures in 1963 when Theodore Roethke asked her to photograph him in his Seattle home. Hers were the last pictures taken of the poet before his death, and the portraits garnered international attention.

Randlett’s photographs represent an artistic and literary history of the Pacific Northwest. No other book brings together these important historical figures from the rich past and present of this region. A curated collection of ninety photographs from the more than six hundred portraits she took of Northwest artists, writers, and cultural luminaries, Mary Randlett Portraits documents the region’s artistic legacy through one woman’s camera lens.


Wilderburbs: Communities on Nature’s Edge
By Lincoln Bramwell, foreword by William Cronon

Since the 1950s, the housing developments in the West that historian Lincoln Bramwell calls “wilderburbs” have offered residents both the pleasures of living in nature and the creature comforts of the suburbs. Remote from cities but still within commuting distance, nestled next to lakes and rivers or in forests and deserts, and often featuring spectacular views of public lands, wilderburbs celebrate the natural beauty of the American West and pose a vital threat to it. By looking at wilderburbs in the West, especially those in Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, Bramwell uncovers the profound environmental consequences of Americans’ desire to live in the wilderness.

 A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States
By Gordon Hirabayashi with James A. Hirabayashi and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi
New Paperback Edition

In 1943, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi defied the curfew and mass removal of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, and was subsequently convicted and imprisoned as a result. In A Principled Stand, Gordon’s brother James and nephew Lane have brought together his prison diaries and voluminous wartime correspondence to tell the story of Hirabayashi v. United States, the Supreme Court case that in 1943 upheld and on appeal in 1987 vacated his conviction. For the first time, the events of the case are told in Gordon’s own words. The result is a compelling and intimate story that reveals what motivated him, how he endured, and how his ideals changed and deepened as he fought discrimination and defended his beliefs.

Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World
By Todd McLeish
New Paperback Edition

Among all the large whales on Earth, the most unusual and least studied is the narwhal, the northernmost whale on the planet and the one most threatened by global warming. Narwhals thrive in the fjords and inlets of northern Canada and Greenland. These elusive whales, whose long tusks were the stuff of medieval European myths and Inuit legends, are uniquely adapted to the Arctic ecosystem and are able to dive below thick sheets of ice to depths of up to 1,500 meters in search of their prey-halibut, cod, and squid. From a history of the trade in narwhal tusks to descriptions of narwhals’ vocalizations as heard through hydrophones, Narwhals reveals the beauty and thrill of the narwhal and its habitat, and the threat it faces from a rapidly changing world.


Behind the Covers: “No-No Boy”

NoNo-OkadaJohn Okada‘s classic novel, No-No Boy, tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of a real-life “no-no boy.” During World War II, Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earned two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. As Ruth Ozeki writes in her introduction to the new edition of the book, Ichiro’s “obsessive, tormented” voice subverts Japanese postwar “model-minority” stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man’s “threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world.”

First published in 1956, No-No Boy was virtually ignored by a public eager to put World War II and the Japanese internment behind them. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel’s importance and popularized it as one of literature’s most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience. In 2014, the University of Washington Press brought out a new edition of the book, with hopes of introducing it to yet another generation of readers. In this guest post, designer Thomas Eykemans discusses his process of creating the cover for this new edition of the book. 

No-No Boy is among the most important books that the University of Washington Press publishes. It was vital for me to understand it as best I could before approaching the design of this new reissue. After reading it and learning about its historical context, I did extensive research into past iterations of the book, including a dramatization. It seemed clear that, as historical fiction, an illustration would be the most appropriate approach.


Alternative interpretations of “No-No Boy.” Left to right: the original 1956 jacket design; a 1979 Japanese edition; a poster for a 2010 play adapted from the book.


The 1976 paperback edition of “No-No Boy,” published by UW Press and designed by Koji Onodera. The original cover was printed using four spot colors (black, brown, red, and a tiny bit of blue). Years later, in an effort to reduce printing costs, it was reduced to two colors (black and red). Without the blue ink, the United States flag became unrecognizable, resulting in the oddly unsettling cover that most people are familiar with.

We reached out to Jillian Tamaki, an award-winning contemporary illustrator who teaches at the School of Visual Arts and recently released her second graphic novel. We were impressed with her dramatic and expressive work for clients such as Vintage and the Folio Society, and hoped that she might be able to contribute a fresh interpretation of No-No Boy.


Preliminary sketches by Jillian Tamaki.

After several rounds of sketches, we settled on a downcast profile of Ichiro overlaid with a bold title. The typeface is a modified Futura, a geometric sans-serif that was ubiquitous in the 1950s and appropriate to the era. The downward diagonals of the “N” and “Y” letterforms intersect the upward angle of the profile, creating a tense visual “X” that pulls the eye to the center before expanding outward. The soft, cool tones of the illustration contrast the intense warmth of the title while also alluding to the national colors of the U.S. and Japanese flags. These elements combine to evoke the deeply conflicted character of Ichiro and his struggles to find his place.

No-No Boy by John Okada

The 2014 paperback edition of “No-No Boy,” designed by Thomas Eykemans and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.