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The Final Forest: big trees, forks, and the Pacific Northwest Paperback – October 12, 2010

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The Final Forest: big trees, forks, and the Pacific Northwest + Not Just Trees: The Legacy of a Douglas-Fir Forest + Hidden Forest, The: The Biography of an Ecosystem
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295990627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295990620
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Dietrich presents in an easy-to-read narrative style the point of view of various participants in this war, from the logger whose way of life is threatened to a biologist concerned with saving the Northern spotted owl. Highly recommended.

(Library Journal)

This is a mesmerizing story of the complexity of the relationships between forests and people that at once honors the uniqueness of places while spanning universal themes.

(BC Studies)

A remarkably readable and lucid account.

(Audubon Magazine)

Time has brought ' The Final Forest' acclaim as a realistic portrayal of a critical era for the West End communities.

(Living on the Peninsula)

The best book about the environment that I've read in a year.


Dietrich's 1992 account of the timber wars on the Olympic Peninsula has been updated with a new preface and afterword that explains what some of the main characters have been up to and explores the irony of Forks, Wash., becoming an international destination as a result of the Twilight series.

(The Oregonian)

In writing as lush as the threatened forests he describes, William Dietrich captures why the battle isn't merely for the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest and California but for the health of the planet itself.

(Michael L. Fischer, former Executive Director, Sierra Club)

William Dietrich has gone to the heart of the greatest forest left in North America and returned with a clear and compelling story of why so many people are fighting over it. Like the towering firs of the Olympic Peninsula, this book will stand the test of time.

(Timothy Egan, author of The Big Burn)

Book Description

Before Forks, a small town on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, became famous as the location for Stephenie Meyer's Twilight book series, it was the self-proclaimed "Logging Capital of the World" and ground zero in a regional conflict over the fate of old growth forests.

More About the Author

I'm a novelist and non-fiction author of twenty books, with two brand-new ones out in the fall of 2014.

One is my first young adult/adult thriller, "The Murder of Adam and Eve." This time-travel tale set in prehistoric Africa has two 16-year-olds, Nick Brynner and Eleanor Terrell, trying to save our genetic ancestors from annihilation by an alien race. It's a coming of age story, survival story, love story, and environmental fable.

The other is a nonfiction coffee table-type book called "The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby." The Mountaineers Books publication has more than 200 photos and illustrations and is a gorgeous read.

Meanwhile, my bestselling HarperCollins series continues to feature American adventurer Ethan Gage in the Napoleonic era, and has sold into 28languages. The latest is "The Three Emperors." It is the seventh book in the Ethan Gage series, and follows "The Barbed Crown," published in May of 2013. The paperback version of "The Barbed Crown" is out now.

I began my writing career as a newspaper reporter in 1973,sharing a Pulitzer at the Seattle Times for coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I also taught for five years at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment.

I published my first non-fiction book, "The Final Forest," in 1992. It was updated in 2010 to "The Final Forest: Big Trees, Forks, and the Pacific Northwest." It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Governor Writers Award.

I followed that with "Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River," still in print.

My first novel, "Ice Reich," came in 1998 and is a World War II thriller based on a real-life Nazi expedition to Antarctica. This bestseller is still available as an ebook.

My other novels:

"Getting Back." An eco-thriller set in the Australian Outback in the near future.

"Dark Winter." A killer is on the loose among the personnel at America's South Pole base. Creepy!

"Hadrian's Wall." Love, war, and conspiracy during the late Roman Empire.

"The Scourge of God." A young couple must survive the invasion of the empire by Attila the Hun.

"Blood of the Reich." A contemporary Seattle woman sees her car blown up and learns of her horrific connection to a 70-year-old Nazi conspiracy that will take her to Tibet and Germany.

And the Ethan Gage novels:

"Napoleon's Pyramids." Our American hero accompanies Napoleon's 1798 invasion of Egypt and grapples with pyramid mysteries.

"The Rosetta Key." Ethan and his companion Astiza are caught up in Bonaparte's 1799 invasion of the Holy Land and his ascension to power in France.

"The Dakota Cipher." Norse mysteries play a role in a struggle for power on the Great Lakes frontier.

"The Barbary Pirates." Ethan and his scientist friends find an ancient super-weapon coveted by pirates who are at war with America.

"The Emerald Storm." A stolen emerald leads Ethan and his new family into peril in Haiti and the lush, perilous isles of the Caribbean.

"The Barbed Crown." Ethan finds himself a spy as Napoleon prepares to crown himself emperor and France challenges England at the naval showdown of Trafalgar.

"The Three Emperors." Seeking to reunited with Astiza and his son Harry in 1805, Ethan must survive the battle of Austerlitz and hunt down a medieval machine that can foretell the future.

Additional nonfiction includes:

"On Puget Sound." With Art Wolfe photos.

"Natural Grace." Essays on plants and animals in my native Pacific Northwest.

"Green Fire: A History of Huxley College." The nation's first dedicated environmental college.

As you can see, I'm curious about many things. I also enjoy research.

Travel for my novels has taken me to the Arctic, Antarctic, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Australia, Sicily, Greece, Paris, Britain, Hungary, Tibet...hey, someone's got to do it. I've traveled on a sailboat in the South Pacific, landed on an aircraft carrier, flown in a B-52, visited the South Pole, and been terrified flying with the Blue Angels.

As a journalist, I was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, won National Science Foundation fellowships to Antarctica, and speak frequently on environmental issues. I've covered Congress, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the environment, science, social issues - even the military. I've traveled frequently for my writing, but live in the Pacific Northwest where I was born. I'm married, with two grown children.

I live in a house looking out at the San Juan Islands, surrounded by fir, cedar, and hemlock, and sometimes get to watch bald eagles while I'm writing. Connecting with readers is one of life's biggest thrills.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Armando on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took this class, and it was required reading. I am glad that it was. My professor is in the book and for good reason. We also had a chance to chat with the author in class, and he was a great guy. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about what is going on in the forest on the Olympic peninsula from the activists to the loggers. Great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Messmer on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This updated version of the Final Forest is a fascinating history of the "Spotted Owl" controversy concerning logging in the West End of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The story is told through the eyes of each stakeholder group...featuring individuals who exemplify each set of issues and perspectives. Excellent research and writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colleen on December 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Growing up in an era where I heard of the spotted owl and the surrounding controversy as told by the loggers in my family, this book was a wonderfully impartial recount of the facts of the case. The back stories of all sides of the issue were very helpful in being able to more completely understand why each person formed the opinions that they did. With the mainstream media focusing only on the controversial aspect of any issue, it was refreshing to be able to read and form my own opinions on the subject.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By perugirl on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a book I needed to get for one of my daughter's college courses. The info provided about the content helped her know this was a book that she would be able to use for her course work. It was received quickly and in great condition.
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