This book had two things really going for it: 1) It gave me a taste of pioneer life on chicken farms out in our part of the country in the early decadThis book had two things really going for it: 1) It gave me a taste of pioneer life on chicken farms out in our part of the country in the early decades of the 1900s (granted, she's on a mountain on the Olympic Peninsula, but close enough); 2) MacDonald at times uses really fabulous language to describe events and people, and I loved the way she anthropomorphized things like the stove ("Stove") and the mountains.
On the downside, though, I kind of felt like she was SO negative at times, especially about the people she met. I get that out in the rural country in the early 1900s, not everyone was "civilized" and "cultured," but I find it hard to believe that EVERYONE was wacky and batty and country-bumpkins, and that she was the only "normal" person out there. So I got a little fed up with that.
So, two stars -- it was fun to read about chicken farming and pioneer life in our region, but it's not like my life was missing anything before I read this, and I would have been just as fine living the rest of my life without reading it....more
What I love about this book is that it's a history of the *land* of Seattle. Businessmen and families are only mentioned as they relate to the land: tWhat I love about this book is that it's a history of the *land* of Seattle. Businessmen and families are only mentioned as they relate to the land: they had a home at this current intersection, which was torn down or moved as part of Denny Hill; they had a business at this former intersection, which was created with fill on tideflats; he rallied to create a railroad in this part of the city, which required building out. The history of the land isn't told as often as the stories of the people are, so this was a refreshing take on Seattle history.
The book covers the geological aspect of the city (glaciers!), the original shorelines and using fill to create new land areas, connecting Lake Union/Lake Washington/Puget Sound, and the big one... regrading Denny Hill.
Speaking of "the big one," I also love how Williams relates some of the historical stories about the land to modern (or, in some cases, modernish) day -- Why did some buildings get wrecked more than others during the 2001 Nisqually earthquake? Because those buildings were on fill, not solid land. How will the current shoreline/original shoreline/glacier remains have an impact on Bertha and the new State Route 99 tunnel? And by the way, what about the Bertha project (When Williams first started mentioning Bertha in the book, I feared that those mentions would date the book and make it less relevant 10 years from now, let alone 40 or 50 years from now. Then I realized we're talking about the tunnel boring project... We'll still be trying to dig that tunnel 40 or 50 years from now! ... *sigh* Poor Bertha.), and other potential tunnels or roadways around the city? How about the new seawall that will be built to replace the old seawall that was built where new land was created using fill? And toward the end (but I can't seem to find it now, so I hope I didn't imagine this), when he seems to get wistful (or maybe that was just me) about the fact that Seattleites of the late 1800s/early 1900s wanted to get rid of Denny Hill to make the city more open for business and traffic, but then business didn't grow like they expected, and we now have tunnels and buses and trucks that could easily get through/around/over the hill, so did it really need to be flattened? Oh, that kills me!
And finally, his remarkable statement that "Just as early Seattlelites had to adapt to what they found, we now have to adapt to what our predecessors left us" is fabulous! It brings everything together: the history of the land, the history of the city, the revisions to the land that the citydwellers made, and all of the little connections to current-day that he's made throughout the book.
I was disappointed, though, that this was such a short book! I expected it to be much longer, because the topic is so underrepresented. Still, what a great history!...more
In the research notes of The Voyage Of The Continental, a YA historical fiction about Asa Mercer bringing women to Seattle from the East Coast in 1866In the research notes of The Voyage Of The Continental, a YA historical fiction about Asa Mercer bringing women to Seattle from the East Coast in 1866, the author, Katherine Kirkpatrick, mentions this book as another historical fiction (but for adults, rather than YA) account of "Mercer's girls."
While the book is technically about a girl who went on Mercer's expedition, it's not really *about* the expedition, at least not in my mind. The voyage doesn't even begin to start until page 94, and it's not until page 106 that the trip finally begins! You're almost 1/4 of the way through the book before the journey even starts! And in those 94 pages before the girls make their way to the boat, you get A LOT of story that didn't seem relevant. I didn't really care about the creep that the main character's cousin was supposed to marry. She's not even going to Seattle! Why do we care? And then once they did start on the voyage, Rucker skips huge chunks of time. I think it was mentioned that they were on the shores of New Jersey, then some stuff happened, with no reference to time or distance elapsed, and the next thing we know, they're in Rio! Then the main character has a romantic encounter with someone on the ship, and then they're in San Francisco! Wait a minute!! There should be a whole lot of time between those cities -- don't just skim over all the details of what happened on the ship! Seasickness! Confinement! The question of how everyone's going to pay for the trip! Give me more than "Oh, he was dreamy. I'm so happy! But he's a scoundrel! No, I'm still happy! Now we're in love! Ta-da! We're on the other side of the continent! We've arrived!"
This book might be okay if you're more into the romance of the story, and care less about the actual Mercer story. If you want to read about Mercer's expedition and the trials and tribulations of bringing a boatload of women to help teach, nurse for, and populate a wilderness town, this isn't the book for you. And since I don't care about romance stories (How many times do we need to talk about a young woman's breasts?!?) or girl-meets-boy / happily-ever-after stories, and I *do* want to read about Mercer's trip, then this wasn't the book for me....more
Like The Voyage Of The Continental, this is a YA historical fiction about Mercer's girls, the women, young and old, that Asa Mercer brought from the ELike The Voyage Of The Continental, this is a YA historical fiction about Mercer's girls, the women, young and old, that Asa Mercer brought from the East Coast to Seattle to help populate the new city. In contrast, however, The Voyage of the Continental is mainly about the trip itself, but Petticoats West focuses more on life after the ships arrived in Seattle and the girls starting their new lives.
Whereas The Voyage of the Continental had a lot of history, and was researched using Roger Conant's journal and articles about the trip, Petticoats West is much lighter in the factual history, but much richer in details about the surroundings and other descriptions....more
Another interesting book about the different aspects of life at Bletchley Park, from the jobs to the different personalities to their recreation to thAnother interesting book about the different aspects of life at Bletchley Park, from the jobs to the different personalities to their recreation to the legacy of the Park and restoring the Park as a museum to tell the story of the Park and its codebreakers....more
This book basically has two functions: 1) to describe Bletchley Park's service during World War II, and 2) to put forth military and communications leThis book basically has two functions: 1) to describe Bletchley Park's service during World War II, and 2) to put forth military and communications lessons learned during WW II to be used in the future.
I enjoyed the Bletchley Park part of the book, although Welchman's descriptions of machines (Engima and the decoding bombes) and their operations sometimes were too technical for me. I also liked The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories more as a behind-the-scenes of the operations and people at Bletchley, but this book provided another perspective.
The second function of the book (which takes up roughly the last 1/3 of the book), however, didn't do it for me as much. I don't have a big desire to know about military tactics, although the way he relates lessons learned during WWII was sometimes interesting; plus, the book is over 30 years old, so I don't know how much of it is still true. And that's the other thing: I'm not in a position to actually take any of the advice he gives (in case you don't know me, I'm not a military general or a person in high position in the US military or government), so I don't know if his recommendations have been put into practice, and I wouldn't know how to forward them anyway (not being a high-ranking member of the military or government). So for me, the last 1/3 was superfluous. ...more
This book has a lot of great, historical photos, like most Arcadia Publishing books; however, it's a little different from the typical Images of AmeriThis book has a lot of great, historical photos, like most Arcadia Publishing books; however, it's a little different from the typical Images of America books because it wasn't written by a historian, but rather a common person (or people) who wanted to document life when they were growing up, so the writing's a little folksier and the photo selection is a little more sentimental. Still, good book (as always with Arcadia books). ...more
This was a nice history of Bartell Drugs, one of the nation's longest-running drugstore companies, based in the Puget Sound region (still) by the BartThis was a nice history of Bartell Drugs, one of the nation's longest-running drugstore companies, based in the Puget Sound region (still) by the Bartell family (still) since 1890.
It had a nice story, with lots of good chronology and tidbits. As you'd expect from any book written by a historical organization, there were interview quotes, old photos, newspaper articles, and a very thorough history. It felt like the in-depth quality trailed off as it got closer to present day, but the olden history was handled fabulously.
I kept feeling like I should run down the street and shop at my nearest Bartell's. Maybe go buy some toothpaste or something, just to give this family-run business more of my money....more
A lovely sampler of items held in King County museums and historical organizations. It's like a quick tour of a museum plus a history of King County pA lovely sampler of items held in King County museums and historical organizations. It's like a quick tour of a museum plus a history of King County plus an appreciation builder for what those organizations do....more
Another wonderful book from the Arcadia Images of America series, this one technically in the Images of Aviation series.
The one weird thing about theAnother wonderful book from the Arcadia Images of America series, this one technically in the Images of Aviation series.
The one weird thing about the book, though, was some of the pairings of text with photos. There were times, for example, in the "Modern Times" chapter that talked about something current, yet the photo was from World War II. Another weird pairing was a description of tower No. 3, with the photo being of a Boeing Dreamlifter taking up the foreground, and the top of a tower (presumably No. 3) in the background.
My only other quibble with this book is that there aren't any photos of my grandfather. Between being stationed at Paine Field post-WWII and working at Boeing after retirement, I wanted a picture with him very clearly in it! :)...more
Brief histories of all the trolley systems that served the central- and north-Puget Sound region in the first decades of the 1900s. There are lots ofBrief histories of all the trolley systems that served the central- and north-Puget Sound region in the first decades of the 1900s. There are lots of photos, and one thing I really like is that Wing includes what's currently (well, 1988) at that location in a lot of his captions, and/or includes current-day (again, 1988) photos for comparison....more
Being a lover of Seattle and local history, I was ashamed (ashamed!) that I'd never watched Here Come the Brides. Last year, I decided I needed to sitBeing a lover of Seattle and local history, I was ashamed (ashamed!) that I'd never watched Here Come the Brides. Last year, I decided I needed to sit down and watch the show, which then led to me becoming curious again about the Mercer girls, the women Asa Mercer brought from the East Coast to Seattle for all the men who were settling the town. I knew who/what they were, but not a whole lot about them, and especially not the trip. I think I sort of knew they took a boat, but when I saw it on the TV show, I was surprised that they didn't go by land, so I obviously didn't remember my seventh-grade history all that well. I did some searching for books about Mercer, the girls, and the trip, and one of the books I came up with was this account, in the form of a journal kept by Roger Conant, a reporter for the New York Times who took the voyage to document it for the NY newspaper.
I also read The Voyage Of The Continental, a YA historical fiction about the trip, and unfortunately, this book pales in comparison. That's not surprising, given that Conant's book is a journal, and The Voyage of the Continental, while written in the form of a journal, is a novel, which means more plot, and more storyline and character development. Conant's account, however, is interesting for the fact that it was an actual, I-was-there account of this mass (not so mass) migration from the East Coast to the West Coast, traveling down to the tip of South America and back....more
I don't often suggest watching the movie rather than reading the book, but I think the movie was so well done that the book doesn't give you much of aI don't often suggest watching the movie rather than reading the book, but I think the movie was so well done that the book doesn't give you much of anything that the movie was lacking. Still, though, it's a good book; but the movie was SO good, it feels like it's just as good as the book (even though there were some scenes made up for the film)....more