David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest
By Jack Nisbet
(Sasquatch Books, Hardcover, 9781570616136, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
List Price: $23.95*
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Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed book Sources of the River, which set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region. Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout other areas of western North America. Douglas's discoveries include hundreds of western plants--most notably the Douglas Fir. The Collector tracks Douglas's fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker, and details his adventures in North America discovering exotic new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas's journeys into a literal brave new world of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands. In telling Douglas's story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.
Jack Nisbet is a historian, teacher, and author focusing on the intersection of human history and natural history in the Pacific Northwest. His Sources of the River won the Murray Morgan Prize from the Washington State Historical Society.