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Book Review: The Good Rain, by Timothy Egan

My One Sentence Review

The Good Rain is a personal and well-written exploration of many important environmental and cultural topics that are uniquely northwestern.

Genre: Non-fiction, nature

Amazon.com review

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.


Introduction: Finishing Up with Grandpa

While scattering the ashes of his grandfather on the slopes of Mt. Rainier, Egan ponders the origin of the name of Winthrop Glacier. He later finds out the glacier was named for Theodore Winthrop, a Nineteenth Century explorer and author who would become Egan’s muse for The Good Rain.

1: The Continental Heave

The treacherous Columbia River Bar, where the mighty river empties into the Pacific.

2: Enchanted Valley

Egan hikes up into the heart of the sublime Olympic Mountains.

3: Toe of the Empire

A visit to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

4: The Last Hideout

Searching the high mountains for Fred Beckey, infamous mountaineer and author of the Cascade Alpine Guide.

5: With People

The history and changing faces of Seattle.

6: Natives

The Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on the Pullayup tribe in Washington.

7: Friends of the Hide

Sea otters, wolves, killer whales and other wildlife.

8: Under the Volcano

The volcanoes of the Cascades.

9: The Wood Wars

The logging industry and the conflicts surrounding it.

10: Salmon

The history of the salmon fisheries in the northwest.

11: Harvest

The agricultural bounty on the east slopes of the Washington Cascades.

12: God’s Country Cancer

Rural politics and scandal in the Okanagan Valley of Washington.

13: Columbia

Dams, salmon, and culture of the Columbia River.

Epilogue: Pacific Nation

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