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The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest (Vintage… (edition 1991)

by Timothy Egan

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3061036,480 (4.14)22
Member:teelgee
Title:The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest (Vintage Departures)
Authors:Timothy Egan
Info:Vintage (1991), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read in 2007
Rating:****
Tags:Cascadia, place, nonfiction, 2007, history, environment, borrowed, Nancy

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The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest by Timothy Egan

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This should have been a 5 star book. The title "The Good Rain"; the locale - Washington, Oregon and British Columbia - my homeland, especially Washington; and the stories. The story about the Goldman family alone was worth 5 stars - a horrific true-crime tragedy. Young family brutally killed, and it turned out to be a mistake by a drunken, mentally disturbed man. The back story that set him off included a proto-McCarthyite attack on the previous generation of Goldman's, pre-WWII. The attacker won the election battle but long term lost the battle against cheap electricity from Grand Coulee dam. Still bitter from being on the wrong side, he was telling a drifter in the bar how he had been wronged and, perhaps unintentionally, sent the fellow off to find and kill the wrong Goldman. I will not soon forget that tragic story.

But the author ruined it for me. The first hint was in an early chapter, set in Victoria, BC. A statue of the namesake was referred to as representing "an overweight queen." I told myself not to take it personally, and the various stories had just about overcome my annoyance. Then he visited the site of Mt. St. Helens, and while there he interviewed a female park ranger. Her comments were found worthy to be included at length, but throughout the segment, she was referred to only as "the rangerette." No more than 1/2 star for Timothy Egan.

I don't want to ever read anything else he wrote.
( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
This is a non-fiction book wherein Timothy Egan travels around the Pacific Northwest in the the steps of a 19th century travel writer, Theodore Winthrop. Egan catalogues the changes over the centuries, comparing Winthrop's passages with the current conditions - so we have history and social commentary along with the descriptive writing. It's enlightening; but since it was written in the early 1990s, it could stand an update. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Nov 27, 2016 |
An excellent set of articles about the Pacific Northwest by an excellent writer and researcher. Almost two decades have passed since Egan wrote this, and an update would be not only useful but much appreciated. Still, it was very interesting to read these pages knowing which of the then controversial issues were resolved and which remain controversial. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
This book is one of the most depressing books I've read in a long time. In this book Egan set out to follow in the footsteps of Theodore Winthrop, a 19th century American writer and traveller, who wrote a deailed book about his travels around the Pacific Northwest of the North American continent. Egan talks about the differences he found 137 years after Winthrop wrote his book.

And as I said at the start it's very depressing. The sheer amount of damage and devestation caused by man is horrendous. Forests and rivers that had lasted thousands and thousands of years were destroyed within decades. Mankinds insatiable greed and stupidity has butchered so much that is irreplaceable. But there is hope, though this book doesn't show much. Written 20 years ago environmentalists back then were seen as druggies and hippies, people on the fringe. Since that time environmental awareness has grown throughout the world. It's still nowhere near good but it's the most aware Western civilization has been for an extremely long time.

I can't wait to travel to the locations Egan talks about to see how they have fared since the book was written. Internet searching shows most of the threatened forests have survived and are starting to prosper. Native populations of grey wolves, sea otters, salmon and orca are slowly building back up. We may unfortunately never go back to what it once was but we can stop it from disappearing altogether. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
In this book, Timothy Egan travels around the Pacific Northwest and give the reader a sense of its natural, environmental, and modern history. He (sort of) follows the footsteps of Theodore Winthrop who explored the area in 1853. He compares what Winthrop saw, and what Winthrop predicted for the area, to what Egan saw in 1990.

I have lived in the Northwest for over 30 years and have traveled around quite a bit, but this book was full of interesting things that I did not know. It even gave me one or two new places I need to visit. Egan manages to fit quite a bit into a small volume.

His observations make you think a lot about some of the trade-offs we've made - sometimes out of good but ignorant intentions and sometimes out of carelessness. Obviously there is no excuse for our treatment of the native tribes. But sometimes the things we did that have negatively impacted the environment have been for good reasons - damns that brought electricity to farmers in eastern Washington, for example. While Egan has an obvious bent toward leaving things as they were, he also presents the other side of the argument.

The book will be much more interesting to those who live in or have visited the Northwest. But it might just spur an interest in one who has not been here before.

I have already given this book as a gift and will probably do so again. ( )
  ksnider | Jan 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679734856, Paperback)

Egan succeeds in capturing the richness and beauty of the Pacific Northwest (and it's possibly imminent destruction) with rich description, appropriately chosen and reported interviews, and visits to exactly the places I would have chosen for such a book. From manicured gardens in essentially English Vancouver, B.C., to Indian reservations in western Washington, to the proud rural communities in eastern Washington, and visits to the precipitous peaks and brooding volcanos of the Cascade Mountains, Egan captures the presences and peoples of this region more effectively than most any other book I have encountered. Highly Recommended.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Retraces the 1853 journey of Theodore Winthrop through Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, offering a narrative of a land caught between conservations and development and its people.

(summary from another edition)

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