Thunder in the Mountains by Daniel J. Sharfstein

Thunder in the Mountains; Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard and the Nez Perce War by Daniel J. Sharfstein; 2017; $29.95; 613 pages; W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY; 978-0-393-23941-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Belmont; 9/18/17-10/1/17

Why did I read this?  I have always been a fan of Chief Joseph and always to learn more about the people that we have displaced.

An interesting story of two men who lived parallel lives during a time of great change.  General O.O. Howard, founder of Howard University fought in the Civil War on the Union Side and then headed up the Freedmen’s Bureau during reconstruction.  He believed in the betterment of the freed slaves but did not believe in that same equality for the indigenous people of America.  Chief Joseph was one of many leaders of a band of Nez Perce peoples. He was not the War Chief that conducted the war, he came to be acknowledged as the leader after the War Chiefs died.  I did not realize that the battles took place over such a vast territory.

There is more information here than needed, especially on C.E.S. Wood, the generals aide. I wish the book would have concentrated on more just the actual action and not be so much biography of the palefaces that threatened a way of life, disingenuously ignored laws and treaties, and lied.

Grade B

Murder in Linn County Oregon by Cory Frye

Murder in Linn County Oregon by Cory Frye; $21.99; 2016; 143 pages; The History Press, Charleston, S.C.; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 4/3/17-4/5/17

Why did I read this? Because it looked interesting.

In early 1922 there were several murders in Linn County, Oregon.  There was a case of murder between two  men who were supposedly picking up some moonshine, when one killed the other.  There was two men who stole a car and ended up killing the Chief of Police for Albany.  The was the case of a brewer of shine who killed a different Albany of Police and a minister and himself when the Sheriff and minister came to investigate a still.  On top of this there was a pedophile lurking about town.  This all happened between January and June of the year.  It was an awful six months in and around Albany as multiple families lost fathers.  This is an well written account of a time when alcohol was banned through the country, people were acting hyper morally and the Klan was strong in the state. Frye provides a great deal of historical context.


The Wax Bullet War, Chronicles of a Soldier & Artist by Sean Davis

The Wax Bullet War, Chronicles of a Soldier & Artist by Sean Davis; 2014; $16.95; 287 pages; Ooligan Press, Portland, OR; 978-1-932010-70-1; checked out from Multnomah County Libary, Woodstock; 9/17/16-9/27/16

Why did I read this?  I saw that Marilyn Weisenburg had picked it up and that the author was in the same company as her son David in Iraq.

Sean Davis had been in the Army but had gotten out and then on September 12, 2001 he reenlisted in the National Guard. 3 years later he along with his company of National Guardsmen from Oregon he found himself in combat in Iraq.  This is his  memories of that time up until he was seriously injured by an IED while on patrol.  The rest of the book is his story of recovery, physically, which seems to have been the easiest part.  The difficult part was dealing with the death of his friend in the same incident.  Sean tried to  bury his feelings in alcohol and drugs, until he reached a point where he couldn’t go any lower.  He is an artist and finally returning to his art helped pull him out of his downward spiral.  This is the story of a man who fought for his buddies and friends and was not prepared to deal with the aftermath.  His Army and his country didn’t seem to do much for him after his experience in combat.

Grade A, a clear and gripping view inside the mind of a combat veteran.


I don’t know what to say

American Wife-Love, War, Faith and Renewal by Taya Kyle with Jim DeFelice; 2015; $27.99; 334 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-239808-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland;6/16/15-6/21/15

I don’t know what to say about this book, it is mostly a rehash of American Sniper.  I can sympathize with Taya, having been raised by a single Mom (since Dad was so often deployed).  There were moments that moved me and moments that frustrated me.  I just know what to say.


The Anti Lemony Snicket

friscoA Long Way to Frisco, A folk adventure novel of California and Oregon in 1852 by Alfred Powers; $3.00; 1951; 186 pages; Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA; purchased from Multnomah County Library, Title Wave Used Bookstore; 4/7/15-4/8/15

A pair of miners, a old grizzled veteran and his seventeen year old sidekick, cash in their claim and try to decide what to do next.  When they here that many of the miners, storekeepers and entertainers in and around the gold mines want ham and bacon, they decide to become hog buyers from Frisco.  After that announcement they get a contract from a butcher in San Francisco for fourteen thousand pigs either one hundred pounds on the hoof or one hundred pounds dressed out.  They search all over Northern California and are unable to find that many pigs, and make their way north to Portland where they meet Joe Meek who helps them find the necessary number of pigs.  Through a series of misfortunes it turns out that they have to drive the pigs overland from Oregon City to San Francisco.  Just when it seems that their entrepreneurial spirit has been their downfall things work out for them.  This story is supposedly on a true story that the author read about in a biography of people from Oregon.


Did I enjoy the story?  Yes, the gold rush is a favorite era of stories for me.  There were so many colorful characters mixing with one another that they made for interesting stories.

What is with the title of the review?  Lemony Snicket wrote several books title A Series of Unfortunate Incidents, whenever anything good happened to the main characters something seemingly out of nowhere would destroy that good.  Here the characters use their wits to help themselves out of unfortunate circumstances.