history

Maybe a third of a million people came to California for the gold rush of 1849, and easily thousands more have come to the West since.  Many of them had little to show for their efforts. 

But not Glenn Wadstein.  He mined Jackson County's Sterling Creek for gold for a decade and a half at the end of the last century, and he claims to have pulled POUNDS of gold out of the stream. 

What did he do with his gains, and what kind of shape did he leave the creek in?  These and more questions are answered in Wadstein's video story at the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University. 

This is the latest chapter in Stories of Southern Oregon. 

Wikimedia

Wars in other places can capture great interest abroad.  Just look at how we view events in the Middle East. 

150 years ago, the world watched our Civil War with great interest, waiting to see if freedom and democracy would triumph. 

Historian Don Doyle views the foreign interest in the war in his book The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War

Public Domain

As a biologist, Pepper Trail can appreciate the work of other biologists. 

But he REALLY appreciates the work of Charles Darwin, who did so much to teach the world about how biology works. 

And it's not an arms-length appreciation; Pepper Trail BECOMES Charles Darwin in a lecture called "Voyage to the Origin of Species" coming to the Southern Oregon University Library today (Feb. 8). 

We visit with the biologist--Trail, not Darwin--before the presentation. 

Library of Congress

Abraham Lincoln was way too young to be a "founding father;" he was born ten years after George Washington died, for one example. 

But the thoughts, words, and actions of the country's original statesmen still reverberated for Lincoln. 

And their influence on him is detailed in Richard Brookhiser's book Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln

Harris.news/Wikimedia

It was Henry Luce, the publisher of Time magazine, who declared an "American Century" in early 1941. 

Historian Alfred W. McCoy is not at all convinced we'll get the full 100 years. 

McCoy has long observed the methods America has used to maintain its position as a superpower.  He sees China using its own methods to put the United States in the back seat, sooner rather than later. 

McCoy's latest book is In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power

Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

Chris Bratt is all about the trees.  He has plenty of experience using wood products from his days as a carpenter and contractor. 

And he's perfectly happy to leave the trees alone to grow, in his role as an environmental activist and forest protector. 

Chris Bratt's story is the latest to be archived in the Stories of Southern Oregon collection at the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library. 

Chris visits the studio to talk about his rich and varied life in the Applegate Valley. 

subberculture, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38492191

Do you see shapes in the clouds, or a face formed by the bathtub valves and spout?  Our brains just see patterns, it helps us navigate the world. 

But the KINDS of patterns we detect are shaped by culture, and those perceptions help shape our history.  That's the road on which Jeremy Lent takes us in his book The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning

The author calls his approach "cognitive history," and takes in points of history like the European view of the conquest of nature... which led to Europe conquering much of the world. 

Public Domain

Mark Twain is a giant of American literature, but mostly for characters he created.  The people in his real life get much less attention. 

Or did, until the publication of his writing about his loved ones; his wife and daughters and household staff. 

Editor Benjamin Griffin put much of that work in A Family Sketch and Other Private Writings

Griffin is one of the editors at the Mark Twain Project, aimed at putting previously unknown Twain writing before the public. 

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The Exchange returns for the last week of the year, but starting with a few favorites from programs past. 

At 8:00 - A Chinaman's Chance: One Family's Journey and the Chinese American Dream.  Author Eric Liu writes about his own experience in America, and casts a wider focus on Chinese Americans generally.

USDA/Public Domain

You can tell a lot about a person by how they eat.  And evidently, you can tell a lot about a country by the food it consumes. 

The British empire is the focus of Lizzie Collingham's book The Taste of Empire

It shows how items on the British table--and the quest for them--dictated where in the world English people went, and how they treated the people and products they found. 

Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10257013

A professor of Yiddish literature and a journalist walk into a studio. 

You were expecting a joke?  Actually, there will likely be several as we visit with Jeremy Dauber, the author of the book Jewish Comedy: A Serious History

The book takes in the development of Jewish comedy in America, but also extends much further back into the history of the Jewish people.  When you're often persecuted, a sense of humor can help. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archives

The height of the hippie years in America coincided with the peak years of logging in the country. 

And those trends came together in forest replanting efforts staffed by people who came to the Oregon woods to get away from "the establishment." 

Robert Hirning was part of one of those, based in Takilma, called "Green Side Up." 

The story is kept in SODA, the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University. 

The repository is called Stories of Southern Oregon.

Public Domain

"I am not a physicist and this is not a physics book." 

That's the statement from David Schwartz, the son of a physicist and the author of a new biography of Enrico Fermi, The Last Man Who Knew Everything

Schwartz figured it was time for a new biography, because Fermi's work (he died in 1954) continues to influence physics and its practitioners today. 

National Archives of The Netherlands

Women went to war with the rest of the world in World War II.  Not generally on the front lines, but on the home front, working in factories and taking on tasks men had done until they went off to battle. 

And those tasks include analyzing enemy messages, and breaking codes. 

10,000 women served as codebreakers in the war, a story told in Liza Mundy's book Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II.  

Wikimedia

The story of "exclusion laws" is well-known in Oregon.  The state skirted the slave-vs-free question at its birth by just banning all black people from living within its borders. 

But what about people who lived here BEFORE it was a state?  There are examples, including the shipwrecked black sailor James D. Saules, who arrived before many white settlers. 

His story is told in the book Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon

Dr. Mike Baxter/Wikimedia

Maybe you've taken one of those DNA tests that tells you where your ancestors lived.  They can contain a few surprises... for individuals, and for humans as a species. 

The science of genomics is ripping up some assumptions about the upright inhabitants of the Earth, and where they've lived and loved. 

Adam Rutherford explains in his book A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

Kim Wing, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55316196

The scary face-off between the United States and North Korea has a long history, with a lot of personalities involved.  American presidents and the Kim family, sure.  But have you ever heard of Donald Nichols?  You will now. 

Nichols was a 7th-grade dropout recruited to spy for the Americans on the Korean peninsula after World War II. 

He quickly grew into a master spy and master of black ops, a story told in Blaine Harden's book King of Spies:The Dark Reign of America’s Spymaster in Korea. 

Al Jazeera English-http://www.flickr.com/photos/aljazeeraenglish/8049728422/in/set-72157631653957819, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29515145

All eyes are on North Korea at the moment, thanks to its ongoing weapons tests. 

But Richard McGregor urges us to look elsewhere for the real story in Asia: the lingering and growing distrust and dislike between Japan and China. 

McGregor is a journalist who has covered Asia extensively, and he writes about the rising tensions in the region in Asia's Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century

Ancient enmities and modern missteps, including in Washington, are examined in the book. 

Wikimedia

Labor Day gives the Exchange staff a chance to use that last little bit of summer vacation.  But the show must go on, so we provide interviews from previous editions of the JX.  

At 8: This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids.  The effort by Danielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo needs no further explanation.  

At 9: The Invisible History of the Human Race

House of Representatives

Duncan Lee is not a household name, but he probably should be. 

In an age when Americans feared Soviet spies in their midst, he was one.  A spy, that is... and he spied for a very long time, somehow avoiding prison for his deeds. 

Duncan Lee's story is told by Mark A. Bradley in the book A Very Principled Boy

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