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Visible Bones: Journeys Across Time in the Columbia River Country Paperback – April 10, 2007
"Seven Skeletons" by Lydia Pyne
An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with fossils and salamanders. It ends with Jaco Finley who was a confederate of David Thompson, an early explorer in Canada and the United States. In between we hear stories of a rock in the Columbia River that has been ground into gravel and the natural history of a mountain that ended up in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Always, the stories lead to people. Nisbet tells of how smallpox ravaged the native tribes and he describes a trip to gather roots with a Salish woman.
Each new story brings a different facet of life in the Columbia River Basin. Each one is gentle but leads the reader into a new avenue of thought. I read the book aloud to my wife while we drove through Washington and Oregon. It flows naturally and smooth like the water where the Musquash swims.
To take the dimension of history first. The writer starts out with a personal tale of hunting for trilobites in a creek swollen with snow melt. Trilobites are the tiny fossilized creatures whose massed bodies helped to create the land in this western corner of the U.S. But this is not a Geology 101 text. It places the 250 million year old fossil in the human scale of things - part of human history, part of the writer's experience. And that is the magic of this book - it takes a vast store of history, geology, nature and human nature and blends it into an understanding of how the Columbia River country used to be and how it came to be the way it is now.
The writer presents the natural history also. He shares with us the "water dog" (actually a salamander), the sheep moth and buzzards. We see muskrats through the eyes of native hunters and we discover Indian tobacco. We watch as the river changes with the coming of fur traders, dam builders and the presence of nuclear material.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great history of the region and the environment
Every aspect of the environment from A to Z
A lot of human interest
Interesting and filled with interesting information, especially since we live in Washington stat.Published 18 months ago by Mary Karen McHattie
I had to read this for a class, and it became one of my favorite books. I love the power of a good narrative and this book is full of very good narratives. Read morePublished on July 4, 2013 by Jeremy Mattern