Ron Strickland's oral histories recover a part of the original
Northwest character that is rapidly disappearing. In River Pigs and
Cayuses, he gathers stories from old-timers in Washington, Idaho,
and Montana. Brimming with lively accounts both humorous and
poignant, the book illuminates cadences and traditions that
Strickland hopes will survive long after the storytellers are gone.
Here a moonshiner, a fish pirate, a timber cruiser, a branding iron
maker, a smoke jumper, a frontier bride, and twenty-five other
fascinating individuals speak vividly, revealing their personal
histories in their own words.
Strickland introduces each story, providing information on the
teller and placing the story in context. In telling their own
stories, his subjects speak to the diversity of life and labor in
the Northwest. A short glossary enhances the "listening"
experience, as do Strickland's own photographs of the
In a new introduction, William Kittredge notes that Strickland's
interviewees are most passionate when speaking of their survival in
the work-a-day world, sustained both by their livelihoods and by
the solace of companionship. "What we hear echoing over and again
in these voices", Kittredge writes, "is pride, at having managed
difficult lives, and having along the way earned independence, all
the individuality they could manage, and an unapologetic sense of
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