UW Press News, Reviews, Events


Jean Morgan Meaux‘s In Pursuit of Alaska: An Anthology of Travelers’ Tales, 1879-1909 was featured in the “Best of the Best from the University Presses” panel at the American Library Association annual conference in June. It also appears alongside several other UW Press books in the bibliography of University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 24th Edition.

We provide here a roundup of the UW Press titles that were considered exceptional by reviewers from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Collection Development and Evaluation Section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA/CODES) in this year’s edition of the bibliography. We also include highlights from the reviewer comments that show why these books are so ideal for school libraries and general readers.

In Pursuit of Alaska: An Anthology of Travelers’ Tales, 1879-1909 edited by Jean Morgan Meaux 

“Being a historian, I am a sucker for first-person accounts of past eras. Jean Morgan Meaux’s collection of stories, articles, and diary entries from Alaskan travelers, pioneers and Gold Rush miners fascinated me. Well known writers such as John Muir and Charles Hallock mingle with the voices of famed travelers like Mary Hitchcock and scientists like Ernest Ingersoll. These short tales are full of vibrant descriptions, replete with terror, humor, indefatigable spirits, and ultimately, true adventure. The included images, coupled with vivid descriptions written in such stories as H.W. Seton’s Escape from Icy Bay, are gripping. I recommend this book for public libraries with strong geography or history collections”—Tina Beaird (RUSA/CODES)

Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master by Lorraine McConaghy and Judy Bentley

“A compelling and engaging narrative of a journey to freedom in an area of the United States not usually included in texts, fiction or non-fiction.”—Rebecca J. Pasco (AASL)


A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi v. United States by Gordon K. Hirabayashi with James A. Hirabayashi and Lane Ryo Hirabayashi

“A straight forward, fast paced memoir about a 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner who was willing to see his fight against discrimination to the end. Gordon Hirabayashi tells his story of violating a curfew and his subsequent arrest, jail time and court battles, which eventually resulted in him being sent to a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII. Although Hirabayashi’s case went to the Supreme Court in 1943, he did not receive justice until 1987, and even with many months in jail, the deeply religious Hirabayashi never wavers on values, beliefs or morals. A personal and well documented glimpse of a once ignored topic, this excellent read for any high school student gives a different angle on the Japanese Internment camps and the discrimination against Japanese- Americans during WWII.”—Annemarie Roscello (AASL)

Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics by Sarah Mittlefehldt

“A story of communities, the continuing economic and environmental impact of the Appalachian Trail, and the social history surrounding the very creation of the trail’s path, offer a unique view of an often overlooked natural treasure.”—Stacey Hayman (RUSA/CODES)



Upcoming Events

William Wyckoff, How to Read the American West: A Field Guide, Village Books, July 15 at 7:00 p.m.

William Wyckoff, How to Read the American West: A Field Guide, Seattle Public Library, July 16 at 7:00 p.m.

Brian Allen Drake, Loving Nature, Fearing the State: Environmentalism and Antigovernment Politics before Regan, Kansas City Public Library, July 16 at 6:30 p.m.

William Wyckoff, How to Read the American West: A Field Guide, Ravenna Third Place Books, July 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Watch this book trailer to get a taste of how William Wyckoff  book and upcoming events will help you see the landscapes of the American West in new ways:

New Books

Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction by T.V. Reed

The first full critical study of novelist and critic Robert Cantwell, a Northwest-born writer with a strong sense of social justice who found himself at the center of the radical literary and cultural politics of 1930s New York. Regarded by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as one of the finest young fiction writers to emerge from this era, Cantwell is best known for his superb novel, The Land of Plenty, set in western Washington. His literary legacy, however, was largely lost during the Red Scare of the McCarthy era, when he retreated to conservatism.

Vacationland: Tourism and Environment in the Colorado High Country by William Philpott; Foreword by William Cronon
New Paperback Edition
Winner of the Western Writers of America 2014 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western Nonfiction

Vacationland is more than just the tale of one tourist region. It is a case study of how the consumerism of the postwar years rearranged landscapes and revolutionized American environmental attitudes. Postwar tourists pioneered new ways of relating to nature, forging surprisingly strong personal connections to their landscapes of leisure and in many cases reinventing their lifestyles and identities to make vacationland their permanent home. They sparked not just a population boom in popular tourist destinations like Colorado but also a new kind of environmental politics, as they demanded protection for the aesthetic and recreational qualities of place that promoters had sold them. Those demands energized the American environmental movement-but also gave it blind spots that still plague it today.

Car Country: An Environmental History by Christopher W. Wells; Foreword by William Cronon
New Paperback Edition

The prevalence of car-dependent landscapes seems perfectly natural to us today, but it is, in fact, a relatively new historical development. In Car Country, Wells rejects the idea that the nation’s automotive status quo can be explained as a simple byproduct of an ardent love affair with the automobile. Instead, he takes readers on a tour of the evolving American landscape, charting the ways that transportation policies and land-use practices have combined to reshape nearly every element of the built environment around the easy movement of automobiles. Wells untangles the complicated relationships between automobiles and the environment, allowing readers to see the everyday world in a completely new way. The result is a history that is essential for understanding American transportation and land-use issues today.