Astoria

Author: Peter Stark
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062218315
Release Date: 2014-03-04
Genre: History

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing. Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment's leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition. Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast—one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn—nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.

By More Than Providence

Author: Michael J. Green
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231542722
Release Date: 2017-03-07
Genre: Political Science

Soon after the American Revolution, the United States began to recognize the strategic significance of Asia and the Pacific and its vast material and cultural resources. Many asked whether the United States should partner with China, which operates at the center of Asia, or Japan, which is located in the middle of the Pacific. Where should the United States draw its defensive line, and how should it export democratic principles? In a history that spans the eighteenth century to the present, Michael J. Green follows the development of U.S. policy toward East Asia, identifying recurring themes in American statecraft that reflect the evolving nation’s political philosophy and material realities. Drawing on archives, interviews, and his own experience in the Pentagon and White House, Green finds one overarching concern driving U.S. policy toward East Asia: a fear felt by Americans that a rival power might use the Pacific to isolate and threaten the United States and prevent the ocean from becoming a conduit for the westward free flow of trade, values, and forward defense. By More Than Providence works through these problems from the perspective of history’s major strategists and statesmen, from Thomas Jefferson to Alfred Thayer Mahan and Henry Kissinger. It records the fate of their ideas as they collided with the realities of the Far East and adds clarity to America’s stakes in the region, especially when compared with those of Europe and the Middle East.

John Jacob Astor

Author: Axel Madsen
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0471009350
Release Date: 2002-03-14
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

On The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors: "A well-written biography."-New York Times On Stanwyck: The Life and Times of Barbara Stanwyck: "Madsen's admirably researched, insightful portrait of her aloof nature . . . reveals she was always torn between her wish to give of herself and her need to be in control."-Christian Science Monitor On Chanel: A Woman of Her Own: "Fascinating . . . . Takes the reader behind the coromandel veneers of Chanel's life."-New York Times Book Review "Carefully knits together the complex pattern of Chanel's complicated existence. It's not an easy task."-Toronto Globe and Mail On Gloria and Joe: "Axel Madsen finally gives the public a fascinating chronicle of the romance that could have ruined more than two careers."-Dallas Morning News On Cousteau: "Both critical and understanding. And it is exceptionally readable. Readers are well advised to take the plunge."-Chicago Tribune On Malraux: "Will stand as the best of more than a dozen books about Malraux in print."-Kansas City Star

Last Breath

Author: Peter Stark
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0345449525
Release Date: 2002-02-05
Genre: Travel

Sudden, extreme deaths have always fascinated us-- and now more than ever as athletes and travelers rise to the challenges of high-risk sports and journeys on the edge. In this spellbinding book, veteran travel and outdoor sports writer Peter Stark reenacts the dramas of what happens inside our bodies, our minds, and our souls when we push ourselves to the absolute limits of human endurance. Combining the adrenaline high of extreme sports with the startling facts of physiological reality, Stark narrates a series of outdoor adventure stories in which thrill can cross the line to mortal peril. Each death or brush with death is at once a suspense story, a cautionary tale, and a medical thriller. Stark describes in unforgettable detail exactly what goes through the mind of a cross-country skier as his body temperature plummets-- apathy at ninety-one degrees, stupor at ninety. He puts us inside the body of a doomed kayaker tumbling helplessly underwater for two minutes, five minutes, ten minutes. He conjures up the physiology of a snowboarder frantically trying not to panic as he consumes the tiny pocket of air trapped around his face under thousands of pounds of snow. These are among the dire situations that Stark transforms into harrowing accounts of how our bodies react to trauma, how reflexes and instinct compel us to fight back, and how, why, and when we let go of our will to live. In an increasingly tamed and homogenized world, risk is not only a means of escape but a path to spirituality. As Peter Stark writes, "You must try to understand death intimately and prepare yourself for death in order to live a full and satisfying life." In this fascinating, informative book, Stark reveals exactly what we’re getting ourselves into when we choose to live-- and die-- at the extremes of endurance.

Fur Fortune and Empire The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America

Author: Eric Jay Dolin
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393079241
Release Date: 2011-07-05
Genre: History

A Seattle Times selection for one of Best Non-Fiction Books of 2010 Winner of the New England Historial Association's 2010 James P. Hanlan Award Winner of the Outdoor Writers Association of America 2011 Excellence in Craft Award, Book Division, First Place "A compelling and well-annotated tale of greed, slaughter and geopolitics." —Los Angeles Times As Henry Hudson sailed up the broad river that would one day bear his name, he grew concerned that his Dutch patrons would be disappointed in his failure to find the fabled route to the Orient. What became immediately apparent, however, from the Indians clad in deer skins and "good furs" was that Hudson had discovered something just as tantalizing. The news of Hudson's 1609 voyage to America ignited a fierce competition to lay claim to this uncharted continent, teeming with untapped natural resources. The result was the creation of an American fur trade, which fostered economic rivalries and fueled wars among the European powers, and later between the United States and Great Britain, as North America became a battleground for colonization and imperial aspirations. In Fur, Fortune, and Empire, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin chronicles the rise and fall of the fur trade of old, when the rallying cry was "get the furs while they last." Beavers, sea otters, and buffalos were slaughtered, used for their precious pelts that were tailored into extravagant hats, coats, and sleigh blankets. To read Fur, Fortune, and Empire then is to understand how North America was explored, exploited, and settled, while its native Indians were alternately enriched and exploited by the trade. As Dolin demonstrates, fur, both an economic elixir and an agent of destruction, became inextricably linked to many key events in American history, including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812, as well as to the relentless pull of Manifest Destiny and the opening of the West. This work provides an international cast beyond the scope of any Hollywood epic, including Thomas Morton, the rabble-rouser who infuriated the Pilgrims by trading guns with the Indians; British explorer Captain James Cook, whose discovery in the Pacific Northwest helped launch America's China trade; Thomas Jefferson who dreamed of expanding the fur trade beyond the Mississippi; America's first multimillionaire John Jacob Astor, who built a fortune on a foundation of fur; and intrepid mountain men such as Kit Carson and Jedediah Smith, who sliced their way through an awe inspiring and unforgiving landscape, leaving behind a mythic legacy still resonates today. Concluding with the virtual extinction of the buffalo in the late 1800s, Fur, Fortune, and Empire is an epic history that brings to vivid life three hundred years of the American experience, conclusively demonstrating that the fur trade played a seminal role in creating the nation we are today.

The Oregon Trail

Author: Rinker Buck
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451659160
Release Date: 2015-06-30
Genre: History

In the bestselling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck's The Oregon Trail is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules—which hasn't been done in a century—that also tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country. Spanning 2,000 miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America. In the fifteen years before the Civil War, when 400,000 pioneers used it to emigrate West—historians still regard this as the largest land migration of all time—the trail united the coasts, doubled the size of the country, and laid the groundwork for the railroads. The trail years also solidified the American character: our plucky determination in the face of adversity, our impetuous cycle of financial bubbles and busts, the fractious clash of ethnic populations competing for the same jobs and space. Today, amazingly, the trail is all but forgotten. Rinker Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. The New Yorker described his first travel narrative,Flight of Passage, as “a funny, cocky gem of a book,” and with The Oregon Trailhe seeks to bring the most important road in American history back to life. At once a majestic American journey, a significant work of history, and a personal saga reminiscent of bestsellers by Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed, the book tells the story of Buck's 2,000-mile expedition across the plains with tremendous humor and heart. He was accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an “incurably filthy” Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, Buck dodges thunderstorms in Nebraska, chases his runaway mules across miles of Wyoming plains, scouts more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, crosses the Rockies, makes desperate fifty-mile forced marches for water, and repairs so many broken wheels and axels that he nearly reinvents the art of wagon travel itself. Apart from charting his own geographical and emotional adventure, Buck introduces readers to the evangelists, shysters, natives, trailblazers, and everyday dreamers who were among the first of the pioneers to make the journey west. With a rare narrative power, a refreshing candor about his own weakness and mistakes, and an extremely attractive obsession for history and travel,The Oregon Trail draws readers into the journey of a lifetime.

Americana

Author: Hampton Sides
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 030742474X
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Travel

Harley-Davidson bikers . . . Grand Canyon river rats. . . Mormon archaeologists . . . Spelling bee prodigies . . . For more than fifteen years, best-selling author and historian Hampton Sides has traveled widely across the continent exploring the America that lurks just behind the scrim of our mainstream culture. Reporting for Outside, The New Yorker, and NPR, among other national media, the award-winning journalist has established a reputation not only as a wry observer of the contemporary American scene but also as one of our more inventive and versatile practitioners of narrative non-fiction. In these two dozen pieces, collected here for the first time, Sides gives us a fresh, alluring, and at times startling America brimming with fascinating subcultures and bizarre characters who could live nowhere else. Following Sides, we crash the redwood retreat of an apparent cabal of fabulously powerful military-industrialists, drop in on the Indy 500 of bass fishing, and join a giant techno-rave at the lip of the Grand Canyon. We meet a diverse gallery of American visionaries— from the impossibly perky founder of Tupperware to Indian radical Russell Means to skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. We retrace the route of the historic Bataan Death March with veterans from Sides’ acclaimed WWII epic, Ghost Soldiers. Sides also examines the nation that has emerged from the ashes of September 11, recounting the harrowing journeys of three World Trade Center survivors and deciding at the last possible minute not to "embed" on the Iraqi front-lines with the U.S. Marines. Americana gives us a sparkling mosaic of our country, in all its wild and poignant charm.

In the Kingdom of Ice

Author: Hampton Sides
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781780745268
Release Date: 2015-02-05
Genre: History

In 1879 the USS Jeanette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds and a frenzy of publicity. The ship and its crew, captained by the heroic George De Long, were heading for glory and the last unmapped area of the globe: the North Pole. But it was not long before the Jeanette was trapped in crushing pack ice. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies, facing a seemingly impossible trek across the endless ice. Battling everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival. With twists and turns worthy of a thriller, In the Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.

If We Had Wings

Author: Rinker Buck
Publisher: Crown Pub
ISBN: 0609605534
Release Date: 2001
Genre: History

An account of humankind's fascination with flight ranges from the early dreamers of the Renaissance to the moon landing and features photographs, documents, and other artifacts that provide a hands-on look at the history of aviation.

Catching Fire

Author: Richard W. Wrangham
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 9781846682865
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Science

In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus. At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow, helped structure human society, and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as "the cooking apes". Covering everything from food-labelling and overweight pets to raw-food faddists, Catching Fire offers a startlingly original argument about how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. "This notion is surprising, fresh and, in the hands of Richard Wrangham, utterly persuasive ... Big, new ideas do not come along often in evolution these days, but this is one." -Matt Ridley, author of Genome

Barefoot in Babylon

Author: Bob Spitz
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780142180877
Release Date: 2014
Genre: History

Gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Woodstock, from its inception and the incredible musicians that performed to its scandals and the darker side of the peace movement.

Savage Harvest

Author: Carl Hoffman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062116185
Release Date: 2014-03-18
Genre: History

The mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in New Guinea in 1961 has kept the world and his powerful, influential family guessing for years. Now, Carl Hoffman uncovers startling new evidence that finally tells the full, astonishing story. Despite exhaustive searches, no trace of Rockefeller was ever found. Soon after his disappearance, rumors surfaced that he'd been killed and ceremonially eaten by the local Asmat—a native tribe of warriors whose complex culture was built around sacred, reciprocal violence, head hunting, and ritual cannibalism. The Dutch government and the Rockefeller family denied the story, and Michael's death was officially ruled a drowning. Yet doubts lingered. Sensational rumors and stories circulated, fueling speculation and intrigue for decades. The real story has long waited to be told—until now. Retracing Rockefeller's steps, award-winning journalist Carl Hoffman traveled to the jungles of New Guinea, immersing himself in a world of headhunters and cannibals, secret spirits and customs, and getting to know generations of Asmat. Through exhaustive archival research, he uncovered never-before-seen original documents and located witnesses willing to speak publically after fifty years. In Savage Harvest he finally solves this decades-old mystery and illuminates a culture transformed by years of colonial rule, whose people continue to be shaped by ancient customs and lore. Combining history, art, colonialism, adventure, and ethnography, Savage Harvest is a mesmerizing whodunit, and a fascinating portrait of the clash between two civilizations that resulted in the death of one of America's richest and most powerful scions.

Heyday

Author: Ben Wilson
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465098705
Release Date: 2016-04-26
Genre: History

A global history of the 1850s, the turbulent decade that marked the peak of the Victorian era, the birth of modernity, and the beginning of the first global age

Alaska

Author: Walter R. Borneman
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 9780061865275
Release Date: 2009-10-13
Genre: History

The history of Alaska is filled with stories of new land and new riches -- and ever present are new people with competing views over how the valuable resources should be used: Russians exploiting a fur empire; explorers checking rival advances; prospectors stampeding to the clarion call of "Gold!"; soldiers battling out a decisive chapter in world war; oil wildcatters looking for a different kind of mineral wealth; and always at the core of these disputes is the question of how the land is to be used and by whom. While some want Alaska to remain static, others are in the vanguard of change. Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land shows that there are no easy answers on either side and that Alaska will always be crossing the next frontier.