Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
, a website that supports local bookstores.
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West
This biography of Meriwether Lewis is the book that rekindled interest in the Lewis & Clark expedition, a bestseller with footnotes. Don’t expect a great deal of information on the Columbia, however. A Montanan, Ambrose wrote twice as much text per mile on the Missouri River as he did on the Columbia. All the same, a nice complement to a week following Lewis & Clark’s trail along the lower Columbia.
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska
This is the best plant guide for our area. Organized by family, it has good photographs and drawings and rewards identification of each plant with a wealth of ecological information and notes on human uses.
Northwest Passage: the Great Columbia River
Possibly the most comprehensive of the histories of the Columbia, broad in scope, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Seeking Western Waters: The Lewis & Clark Trail for the Rockies to the Pacific
These authors have done something unique. For each day of the expedition’s travel in the Columbia River watershed, they provide a journal excerpt, explanatory text, and a photograph. Nearly every page provides a photo of an artifact, landscape, plant or animal described in the journals of Lewis and Clark.
Way to the Western Sea: Lewis & Clark Across the Continent
Looking for one short, readable book that tells the entire Lewis & Clark story? Lavender encapsulates it all, adding interesting background and context for the events of the expedition. This is the book I was handed by the staff of Fort Clatsop National Memorial when I began volunteering there in 1992.
Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place
Bob Pyle, a winner of the John Burroughs award for natural history (for Wintergreen), here has written what Kathleen Dean Moore best described as “a lovingly rendered ecology of people in their home place”, just west of Skamokawa in Gray’s River.
River of the West: Stories from the Columbia
This beautifully written book tells the story of the Columbia through the individual stories of its inhabitants, from Native Americans early and modern, explorers, missionaries, emigrants, fishermen and those seeking new lives during the dam-building era.
Naked Against the Rain: The People of the Lower Columbia 1770-1830
This book is hard to find, but it is an excellent account of the Chinookan peoples native to the lower Columbia River.
Beach of Heaven: A History of Wahkiakum County
Local historian, gill-netter and Episcopal priest, Irene Martin has won a Governor's Heritage Award for her books on local history. She lives in Skamokawa and will be an evening program presenter for our Road Scholar program.