UW Press "Welcome to Seattle" Collection
Twelve books that will introduce you to your new city
Welcome to Seattle! To help you get settled in your new hometown, the Graduate School and the University of Washington Press have compiled a short list of recommended reading. These lively and engaging reads are a window into our local history, environment, and culture. You can find many more good reads about Seattle and its environs by searching the Press' website key word "Seattle."
Receive 20% off these selected reads by entering WGS11 in the Promo code box when checking out.
Before Seattle Rocked: A City and Its Music
Kurt E. Armbruster
The rich, deep roots of Seattle's musical heritage have profoundly affected the city's cultural life. For this once remote city, music forged links as real as those created by railroads and steamships. Personal anecdotes and memories from many of Seattle's most beloved musicians enrich this entertaining panorama of Seattle music from the 1890s to the 1960s.
"Packed with history, personalities, and great stories, this multilayered look at Seattle's musical beginnings will delight anyone interested in the sources that fed the region's unique cultural identity. A fun and absorbing read!" —Maxine Frost, Classical KING FM 98.1
"This unusual book is chock-full of marvelous anecdotes about Seattle's musical history, from folk to country to opera to jazz." —Paul de Barros, Seattle Times jazz critic and author of Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle
"Kurt Armbruster has done an extraordinary job in honoring the musicians that have made Seattle such an innovative place for music. A remarkable book, about some remarkable people." —Gerard Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era
Quintard Taylor, Foreword by Norm Rice
Quintard Taylor explores the evolution of the Central District, synonymous with black Seattle for much of the twentieth century, from its first few residents in the 1870s to a population of nearly forty thousand in 1970.
"One is struck by the African-American community's sustained view that there is something distinguishing about Seattle. Politicians and pundits, as well as ordinary citizens, would do well to read this engrossing history of black Seattle and grasp our city's potential as a model for the nation." —John C. Walter, The Seattle Times
Hiking Washington's History
This trail guide narrates forty historic trails, ranging from short day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips over mountain passes.
"Comprehensive and well-researched, Bentley's trail guide breathes life into Washington state's natural landscapes by linking trails to historical events. . . . Whether you're interested in hiking or history, this read satisfies an urge for either." —The Green Life, Sierra Club
"Bentley's is the best kind of guidebook: intelligent, well-researched and easy to use." —The Oregonian
Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place
In Native Seattle, Coll Thrush explodes the commonly accepted notion that Indians and cities are mutually exclusive, that Indians and cities cannot coexist, and that one must necessarily be eclipsed by the other. Native people played a vital part in the founding of Seattle and in what Seattle is today just as urban changes transformed what it meant to be Native.
"Thrush shows just how important a role indigenous people s served in the economic and cultural growth of the city and region and he traces their history through the twentieth century to the present day..." —HistoryLink.org
"By demonstrating how white place-stories involving disappearing Indians have shaped our accounts, he successfully works to restore both the deeper history of urban places as well as the influence of Native people in the subsequent development of cities." —Journal of American History
"A vivid new book...Native Seattle chronicles the breathtaking and traumatic pace of change Seattle's Native people have endured, and the resiliency with which they have regrouped and reconstituted themselves...Its meticulous atlas describes the 'lost' places of the Indian landscape. But they're not really lost - they live today under the city's 21st-century skin." —The Seattle Times
The Natural History of Puget Sound Country
Arthur R. Kruckeberg
At long last there's a book for the Northwest that takes up where field guides leave off. More than a guidebook for identifying plants and animals, this unique natural history of the Puget Sound basin is a layman's handbook to the ecology of the region, revealing the fascinating interconnections of its geology and landforms, its climate, its diverse habitats, and the biology of its plants and animals.
"A comprehensive reference for citizens in the Northwest, as well as for conservationists, natural resource professionals, and the general public everywhere." —Choice
"The Puget Sound watershed now has a lavish book worthy of its great diversity and beauty." —Whole Earth Review
With charm, humor, and deep understanding, a Japanese American woman tells how it was to grow up on Seattle's waterfront in the 1930s and to be subjected to "relocation" during World War II.
"Monica Sone's account of life in the relocation camps is both fair and unsparing. It is also deeply touching, and occasionally hilarious." —New York Herald Tribune
"The deepest impression that this unaffected, honest little story made on me was of smiling courage." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Honest and revealing, this account of life in the relocation camps is touching and sometimes humorous. This novel will provide greater understanding into this important historical event." —Asia Mail
Reading Seattle: A City in Prose
Edited by Peter Donahue and John Trombold
This anthropology spans seven decades of fiction, memoirs, histories, and journalism that define Seattle or impart its flavor through the literary prism.
"What is here is bracing, informative, and strikingly varied...No matter what your tastes are, the anthology provides a fascinating sense of listening in on the mind of the city, humming away over the decades and coming up with myriad harmonies and discords distinctively its own." —The Seattle Times
"Donahue and Trombold have compiled a volume that fills a book void, especially in recognizing the outpouring of writing about Seattle in the most recent decade...[They] have worked hard to include many of the city's finest writers over the past 70 years...[and] have also done an admirable job in showcasing many lesser-known but rising talents." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Edited by Michael Brown and Richard Morris
This book explores the human geography of the city and region, from economic restructuring to P-patches and much more, to better understand why Seattle is Seattle.
"Seattle Geographies ... aims to decode what makes Seattle seem so simple and transparent on the surface, but so complex and contradictory when viewed over time and across political and social divides." —The Seattle Times
"A fascinating book, a sort of fact-based, Whitman-esque grab bag with some nice photographs of the city and maps of racial distribution, voting patterns, same-sex-couple densities, poverty pockets, income levels and, yes, even skate parks." —Capitol Hill Times
Seattle in Black and White: The Congress of Racial Equality and the Fight for Equal Opportunity
Joan Singler, Jean Durning, Bettylou Valentine, and Maid Adams
Energized by the national civil rights movement, an interracial group of Seattle residents joined together to form the Seattle chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), operational from 1961 through 1968. This book by four founding members tells the local, Seattle story about the national movement to bring about a more integrated and just society.
"The four authors deserve credit for their vision and their dedication to documenting an important time in Seattle's history." —Mary T. Henry, HistoryLink
"The book will revive memories for those who lived here at the time and serves as an eye-opener for those who think Seattle has always been the paradigm of a progressive, northern city." —City Living
Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle
This classic describes Seattle's first hundred years, seen through the lives of the vigorous personalities of its settlers and early citizens: pioneering, Indian warfare, lumber, railroads, the great fire of 1889, the Alaska gold rush, the amusement business, newspapers, the general strike of 1919, and the tumultuous politics of city and state that have made history in the Northwest.
"Mr. Morgan's book is the sort of corrective history that all communities should welcome." —Stewart Holbrook, New York Herald Tribune
Vigilante Newspapers: A Tale of Sex, Religion, and Murder in the Northwest
Gerald J. Baldasty
This riveting work of social history documents the role the news media played in spurring the murder of Edmund Creffield, a charismatic "Holy Roller" evangelist who in 1903 enraged the citizenry of Oregon and Washington—and eventually the whole country—by defiantly challenging the religious and sexual mores of the time.
"No one who reads this book can doubt the power of the press to affect public opinion, the rule of law, or vigilantism." —Western Historical Quarterly
"An absorbing and fascinating read, as instructive as it is macabre." —Klamath Herald and News
"Baldasty's study carefully weaves together societal and media values in the face of dramatic and at times bizarre religious practices. It is good scholarship and a good yarn." —Oregon Historical Quarterly
The Weather of the Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest experiences the most varied and fascinating weather in the United States, including world-record winter snows, the strongest non-tropical storms in the nation, and shifts from desert to rain forest in a matter of miles. Cliff Mass brings together eyewitness accounts, historical records, and meteorological science to unravels the intricacies of Northwest weather.
"These captivating facts from a local atmospheric science guru will elevate your chitchat from 'Hey look, it's raining again,' to 'Do you know the origins of the Pineapple Express?'" —Seattle Magazine
"Mass' book, The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, is terrific, with great explanations of the many phenomena that impact our region, and with clear charts, graphics, and excellent photos to match." —Crosscut.com