Visiting for the Trials? Here's 'Must' Reading

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Welch The Register-Guard

You're an out-of-stater here for the Olympic Trials. And you want to understand Oregon. You're not a Gray Line tour type. You don't want to dip your big toe in our state. You're after total immersion.

OK, here are the 10 books you need to read by Trials' end to understand us from all angles:

"Hiking Oregon's History" by Bill Sullivan. Few people know this state, particularly off the beaten trail, better than Sullivan, who lives only a few hammer tosses from Hayward Field. From Chief Joseph and the "trail of tears" to ghosts at Heceta Head Lighthouse on the coast - a must-see on one of your two "rest days" - Sullivan offers insightful stories of Oregon's historical nooks and crannies.

"Oregon: This Storied Land" by William Robbins. In this 2005 Oregon Book Award finalist, the former Oregon State University prof offers a historical analysis of the state without getting all gushy.

"Atlas of Oregon." Thinking "Oh, this is just a map" is like thinking Bill Bowerman was just a track and field coach. In words, maps, tables and graphs, this 301-page gem is a feast for the eyes of the Oregon curious, examining the state from every angle except "Per Capita Number of Oregonians, By County, Who Saw Pre hold off Oregon State's Hailu Ebba in the 1,500 meters in 1972."

"The Oregon Story" by the staff of The Oregonian. I know, I know, a Register-Guard columnist recommending a book by The Oregonian is like Phil Knight waxing poetic about a pair of Adidas Meteors. But it's enlightening, visual and complemented by all sorts of cool trivia, including the fact that hacky sack was invented by two Oregon City residents in 1983.

"Fire at Eden's Gate" by Brent Walth. The book, by former Register-Guard - and current Oregonian - reporter Walth, is about former Gov. Tom McCall's passion and perseverance that galvanized Oregon as a national environmental leader in the 1960s and 1970s. …