This book presents a short interpretive history of the Pacific Northwest. It seeks main themes, paints with broad strokes, and engages in what one of my colleagues calls responsible reductionism. Capsule biographies of representative figures introduce each of the five parts and are intended to capture a sense of the past.
Some readers may wonder whether the hinterland theme introduced in chapter 1 is appropriate to describe the Pacific Northwest. For geographers a hinterland is an area that lies behind a seaport or seaboard and supplies the bulk of its exports. Hinterland as used in this book has a broader though still legitimate meaning: it describes a region that until the Second World War was remote from the continent's main centers of economic and political power and until recent times was often tributary to more developed cities and regions.
Readers may also question why I did not spend more time on one topic or another or why I profiled Tom McCall, for instance, instead of some other figure to introduce the modern Pacific Northwest. The choice of what material to emphasize represents an author's value judgment tempered by suggestions from colleagues and by the availability of previously published histories.
Alas, for the Pacific Northwest, much still remains to be written about events after the Second World War and, indeed, about many other aspects of the region's history. A number of these gaps result from what can be labeled the heroic nature-heroic men approach to Pacific Northwest history. Its persistent theme is that because nature assumed heroic proportions in the
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Publication information: Book title: The Pacific Northwest:An Interpretive History. Edition: Revised. Contributors: Carlos Arnaldo Schwantes - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1996. Page number: xxi.