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The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest
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The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,301 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
Timothy Egan describes his journeys in the Pacific Northwest through visits to salmon fisheries, redwood forests and the manicured English gardens of Vancouver. Here is a blend of history, anthropology and politics.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 3rd 1991 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kim by: Theobroma
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.
John Boettner
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Personally I found this book created the seminal event that influenced the remaining course of my life; both as a lifelong resident of Washington State, and particularly as an Aquatic Scientist. My work has caused me to travel many parts of Washington State that Timothy Egan mentions in this book, so in many ways Egan and I are kindred spirits. Between this work and the book: "King of the Fish" by David R. Montgomery, I gained insight into the workings of man that I'd never know without this inf ...more
Eldan Goldenberg
Dec 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Three stars doesn't do this book justice. It should get 5 for the second half, and -1 for the worst parts.

When it's good, this is a beautiful, moving and informative description of the Pacific Northwest. Egan can be wonderful at describing the beauty of the region and the emotions it induces in people, and at the stupidity and sheer unbridled greed that has led to some of the worst problems we have today. But he can also over-reach, both in terms of just over-egging his writing and exaggerating
May 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is Timothy Egan's homage to the Northwest. I bought the book at an author's reading for his new book The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America. When Egan signed it for me, he said that I might find it dated. It was published in 1990 and is somewhat dated--the Seahawks are still playing in the Kingdome, Astoria has not yet attained cuteness (based on being mostly a tourist town) and although he talks about the wind in the Gorge in reference to the windsurfers, the windmil ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
The tone is level but there's no hiding the fact this is, ultimately, a rather indignant book. And to the reader a depressing one. It is also very good.

Egan - following in the footsteps of a mid-19th century traveler of the Northwest, Theodore Winthrop (who wrote of his trip in The Canoe and the Saddle) - takes a year out "attempting to follow the Yankee [Winthrop] from Oregon desert to green-smothered rain forest, from storm-battered ocean edge to the inland waters, from the new cities of the N
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves the Pacific Northwest, history, gets wound up about resource mismanagement
I am a native Oregonian and move through life radiating a lot of Oregon love. But loving Oregon means embracing the ongoing conflict between civilization and nature.

Timothy Egan's book does an excellent job sharing both the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest and the man-made disaster. As Egan travelled around the region, exploring the history of Native Americans, white settlers and the land, I was dumbstruck by the shear number of salmon and trees obliterated by over-logging, over-fishing and da
Andy Perdue
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: northwest
An amazing journey through the beautiful and tragic Pacific Northwest. This might just be the best book I've read in the past 10 years. I'd seen in on shelves for the past 20 and finally picked it up in a used bookstore in Cannon Beach.

Author Timothy Egan follows the path of 19th century adventurer Theodore Winthrop - for whom a town in Washington and a glacier on Mount Rainier were named. During Egan's journey, he shared environmental concerns regarding timber, salmon, rivers, dams and pollutio
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Written before locally based Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft took over the world, Egan's book defines the Pacific Northwest in terms of its abundant, and increasingly threatened, natural resources. Almost 25 years later, it seems as relevant as ever.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this book but feel it could use a reprint including some updates on many of the material discussed as some things have changed. I did appreciate the snapshot in time that I missed the first time around of a region that is struggling with retaining what makes it special in the face of a confluence of factors both domestic and international.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Timothy Egan writes about the northwest with a poetic grace. I first read this shortly after it came out (purchased at Tower Books!), shortly after I moved to the west side of Washington. The author says this hasn't aged well and unfortunately I agree.

The book is a series of articles, loosely following in the footsteps of Theo Winthrop, descendant of John Winthrop (the first governor of Massachusetts Bay). Young Winthrop wrote a book (The canoe and the saddle) about his experience, and some quot
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was loaded with gems about the Pacific NW. The expression 'Tweed Curtain' referencing Victoria, BC's UK roots. The Strait of Juan de Fuca named after a Greek-born explorer in the service of Spain. And, the exploits of a living mountaineering legend, Fred Beckey.

A chapter an evening led me to sweet dreams of my Washington State.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
"And in all that period while I was so near Nature, the great lessons of the wilderness deepened into my heart day by day, the hedges of conventionalism withered away from my horizon, and all the pedantries of scholastic thought perished out of my mind forever."

~The Canoe and the Saddle, Theodore Winthrop
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Timothy Egan is a very consciencious writer. He wants the facts to be correct and I appreciate that. He's also a very good speaker, so if you have a chance to go to a reading, do it. Often writers are not good speakers, but he is. I'm eage to read his latest book, The Big Burn.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A must read for anyone who lives here, particularly newcomers. Egan's selection great stories and characters from the Pacific Northwest and the masterful way in which he weaves those threads into a beautiful tale is what makes this a tough book to put down.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good way to start learning about the known natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a romance to the place I grew up. Not always pretty, and often scarred, it is beauty in its truth. Grandeur and simple it is all laid out.
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
what a great romp through the history of the northwest. i really enjoy this book with its anecdotes and descriptions.

Astoria, at the mouth of the columbia, was british during the war of 1812, the confederates roamed off shore during the civil war and the japanese fired upon it during wwII. it was founded by john jacob astor of manhattan a fur emporer from new york.

douglas fir named after david douglas, a young scottish botanist who spent a year in the cascades and discovered plants and trees tha
Dr T
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting look at the Pacific Northwest covering a wide variety of topics. While fairly well written, it suffers from having been published in 1990. Many of the topics he covered in the book look quite different nearly 30 years later. He belabors the timber industry and the Corps of Engineers for the havoc they wreaked on the Northwest over the previous years, and deservedly so. In these last 30 years, the public has come to a much greater awareness of what makes the northwest unique, and w ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book. Timothy Egan shows you what the Pacific Northwest is all about by describing his visits to the places described by Theodore Winthrop's "The Saddle and The Canoe" The first book ever written about the Pacific Northwest based on the author's visit in 1853.

Tim Eagan tells you about the mighty Columbia River, Mount Rainier, The Salmon, Olympic Mountains, The history of Seattle, and the First people here, and clearly reveals the source of the tension that exists in Seattle
Roger Briggs
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is Timothy Egan's first book, an elegant American history of discovery and exploitation of resources in the Pacific Northwest. It is a tale of Native Americans, immigrants, and explorers in a mix of the grandiosity of nature that may leave you both worried and hopeful that we may yet be able to stop the erosion of our natural environment and its bounty caused by the trauma of dams and timber harvests in the Pacific Northwest over the last 175 years. Egan takes a journalistic view of his mat ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

This book was very readable; it chronicles various aspects of the history of the Northwest, with a focus on Washington. Topics discussed are the exploration of the Northwest coast, timber, farming and fishing in Washington, and dams and atomic bomb development. He has an environmentalist's view on the industries and its affect on people, both in farming and on Native Americans. He ties history, environmentalism and economy together in a very readable way. Recommended for anyone with a
Juliana James
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a heart-wrenching history of the impact on the Pacific Northwest by humans, namely the struggle of the salmon, the decimation of the indigenous people here, the beauty of hiking in the mountains, an incredible description of the geography and a lot to learn, it's true to it's intent you may be blinded by the beauty of the writing, and broken-hearted by the truth of the human history.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This may be my favorite of all the Tim Egan books I have read. Egan provides what might be called an environmental tour of the Pacific Northwest. Even though it was written in 1990, it did not seem dated, in fact, it was surprisingly current. I liked that he used a rather unknown 19th century traveler, Theodore Winthrop as a link connecting the chapters and the flow of the book’s story. I also like that he included the east side of the state where I live.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I was enchanted with the idea of following the route of the explorer Winthrop who paddled and climbed in the Puget sound region in the 1850's. Egan's musings though, all quickly overlooked joy in nature to focus on the despoiling of it. Many anachronistic motives ascribed to those who came before. I also was amused by his praise of Seattle and how they had taken a stand to limit growth......ha ha ha....they are leading the charge now to develop anything they can.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing, troubling, crammed full of information and history......but a bit overwhelming. I found that treating each chapter as an essay, and giving myself time to think about all the implications, was the best approach. My book club decided that we NEED an updated version!!! SO much to talk about!!
Jordan Koepfler
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Timothy Egan book and I can't wait to start my next one. My Dad had mentioned to me how good this book was and it didn't disappoint. Egan takes us on a journey of the history of the PNW starting in the 18th century until just before the millennium. It's beautifully written and I found myself walking along side Egan and Winthrop while reading this book.
Mark Grisham
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago (mid 90s), but remember that it evoked the environment of the Pacific Northwest much more so than anything else I've read. I think this is the one where he's trekking up a mountain to honour his grandfather's wish of his ashes being scattered there. I'd like to read more of Egan's books.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you want to read a super informative, engaging, creative read on the Pacific Northwest, this book is your friend. Although a tad long and information dumpy at times, I learned a lot in this creative nonfiction book. Definitely worth the read!
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing history and current situation of the Pacific Northwest. It's sad what happened there with the Columbia and the salmon, the engineering of Seattle. Like Egan, I would have liked to have seen it how it was before. It makes the wild places so precious. Well written. Love the way he writes.
Jeff Cook
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Very well written & researched. Egan is a great writer in general & of the land where he lives & grew up. The PNW is part of the American democratic experiment. Egan lays it out - the good, the bad & the ugly.
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Timothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who resides in Seattle, Washington. He currently contributes opinion columns to The New York Times as the paper's Pacific Northwest correspondent.

In addition to his work with The New York Times, he has written six books, including The Good Rain, Breaking Blue, and Lasso the Wind.

Most recently he wrote "The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that
More about Timothy Egan...
“Sometimes the wind along the Pacific shore blows so hard it steals your breath before you can inhale it.” 14 likes
“The larger question for the Northwest, where the cities are barely a hundred years old but contain three-fourths of the population, is whether the wild land can provide work for those who need it as their source of income without being ruined for those who need it as their source of sanity.” 6 likes
More quotes…