history

Tacoma Narrows Bridge
7:59 am
Fri November 7, 2014

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Shook Itself To Pieces 74 Years Ago

Howard Clifford running off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge during collapse, Tacoma, Washington, November 7, 1940.
Credit University of Washington

This is what the Tacoma Narrows Bridge looked like as it collapsed on November 7, 1940. High winds caused the bridge to twist, shake, and then fall apart.

The suspension bridge had always been known for being shaky. Builders nicknamed it “Galloping Gertie,” and it became a popular joyriding location, moving like a wave beneath drivers. Nobody expected it to collapse.

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Leavenworth History
12:14 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Leavenworth's Hard Times Before Bavarian Success

A view of the surrounding mountains from the one of the roads through Leavenworth enhances the Bavarian feel of the community.
Credit Leavenworth / http://www.leavenworth.org/

The town of Leavenworth is known for its Bavarian-themed Oktoberfest, alpine skiing, and spectacular holiday light displays. Leavenworth has often been named the ultimate holiday town which gives the North Pole a run for its money!

But Leavenworth didn’t start out that way. The town’s roots lie in three Native American tribes. The Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes all shared the land between Wenatchi Lake and Icicle Creek as hunting grounds.

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NWPR Books
6:46 am
Wed September 24, 2014

A Historic Backdrop Frames Forbidden Love In 'The Paying Guests'

Frances has it bad, and that's not good. Normally she's an intelligent, reliable, resourceful young woman, a companion to her widowed mother, keeper of the large house on Champion Hill in which the two of them rattle about, now that the men of the family have died. But then Frances falls in love, and the carefully wrought edifice of her life collapses in a heap of passion and catastrophe.

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NWPR Books
3:39 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

James Ellroy's 'Perfidia' Is A Brutal, Beautiful Police Procedural

Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 4:32 pm

There are a lot of reasons not to read James Ellroy's newest novel, Perfidia — the opening shot in his proposed second L.A. Quartet. It's a long and sprawling book with about a million pages and 10,000 characters, so if that kind of thing scares you, go back to your Hunger Games and leave the grown-ups alone.

It's a brutal book. More than one person crawls home with a handful of his own teeth. A quick gunshot to the head? That's a merciful way to go in Ellroy's Los Angeles, and not many characters get that kindness.

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Statue Dispute
7:18 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Kitzhaber Creates Commission To Study Statue Squabble

A statue of early pioneer missionary Jason Lee stands in the U.S. Capitol Building ... for now.
Credit Architect of the Capitol

Each state is represented by two statues in the United States Capitol Building. Some Oregon lawmakers have tried repeatedly to replace one of their state's specimens. Now, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is pulling together a commission to try to settle this statue squabble once and for all. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

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NWPR Books
7:37 am
Tue August 26, 2014

'Land And Sea' Is An Unceasingly Bleak Story

iStockphoto.com

Not long after we're introduced to John, the protagonist of Katy Simpson Smith's The Story of Land and Sea, he's reflecting on the loss of his wife, who died in childbirth several years ago. John is a former sailor on pirate ships who gave up the privateer's life to take care of his daughter, Tabitha. "The grief, besides, has waned to washes of melancholy," Smith writes, "impressions connected to no specific hurt but to the awareness of a constant. He is in no pain but the pain of the living."

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NWPR Books
8:23 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Songs Of Innocence And Bitter Experience In 'Dreamless Dead'

First Second

British army troops once kicked a soccer ball around as they went into battle. True story! In fact, it's one of the first and best anecdotes in Paul Fussell's classic study of World War I, The Great War and Modern Memory. That astonishing image illustrates just how naive the recruits were about modern war's potential for unprecedented destruction — and it sets the stage for their devastating shock and disillusionment.

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NWPR Books
8:59 am
Sun August 17, 2014

A Tumultuous Journey Along This 'Narrow Road'

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 4:14 pm

Tasmanian-born novelist Richard Flanagan named his latest book after a spiritually intense travel journal by the 17th century Japanese poet Basho, but this extraordinary new novel presents us with a story much more tumultuous than the great haiku writer's account of his wanderings. Flanagan has written a sort of Australian War and Peace, centered on the extraordinary Dorrigo Evans (also Tasmanian-born), a heroic yet philandering doctor.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed August 6, 2014

An Heir To E.M. Forster's Vision In 'Every Stone'

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 4:38 pm

Every literate nation should have the epics it deserves. The Indian subcontinent already has Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (among a few others), and now we can add to that illuminating company Kamila Shamsie's new novel, A God in Every Stone. Stretching from the ancient Persian Empire to the waning days of the British Empire, the novel has an enormous wingspan that catches a wonderful storyteller's wind.

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NWPR Books
7:21 am
Tue August 5, 2014

The 'Bridge' From Watergate To Reagan, Masterfully Drawn

News becomes history in a second. That's one of the reasons history stays alive — people will always discuss the past as long as there's something to disagree about, and there's always something to disagree about. "A fog of crosscutting motives and narratives," writes Rick Perlstein, "a complexity that defies storybook simplicity: that is usually the way history happens." Beyond the names and dates, history never offers any easy answers. It doesn't even offer easy questions.

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