history

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It helps understand our region and its history when people take the time to jot down a few notes. 

Annice Olena Black comes from a family of historians who recorded tales of people and places in the Applegate Valley around Ruch. 

Annice is the focus of this month's edition of Stories of Southern Oregon.  She has many stories of her own to tell about her parents and their writing, including a book. 

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You can probably remember a few names from the early days of white settlement in Oregon and California. 

A few people were prominent in the formation of both states, including Peter Burnett.  Who?  Well, Mr. Burnett organized one of the first wagon trains to Oregon Territory and served in prominent positions there. 

Then he moved to California and became the first governor of the new state.  And he's generally regarded as a failure in that role and several others. 

Historian and former Oregonian reporter R. Gregory Nokes takes up The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett in a new book. 

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Many authors have written about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his impact on civil rights and the country. 

Jason Sokol chose to focus his latest work on the aftermath of King's assassination in 1968.  There were decidedly mixed feelings about King abroad in the land at the time of his murder. 

And the expression of those feelings in the days and weeks that followed the murder forms the core of Sokol's book, The Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

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This seems like a good time in history to talk about the FBI. 

It has taken its share of dents and dings of late, but there's a compelling reason for a national police force.  Before 1933, police could  not easily chase bank robbers and other criminals across state lines. 

Journalist Joe Urschel writes of that year and the changes it produced in The Year of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly and the Manhunt That Changed the Nation

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We knew Peter Sage was an institution, but that only scratched the surface.  The longtime friend and contributor to JPR can trace family on his farm along the Rogue River back to the 1880s. 

And several ancestors were highly influential in the valley; his aunt Mae Richardson got a school named after her, for one example. 

Stories of Southern Oregon, produced by Maureen Battistella, this month focuses on Peter Sage, his century farm near the Table Rocks, and the family that inhabited that farm over the years. 

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Brad Meltzer is a busy guy.  He continues to crank out mystery novels, often with historical and/or political themes, and he hosts "Lost History" on History network. 

And his work is not just for grownups; Meltzer is also the author of a series of books for kids, Ordinary People Change the World

Harriet Tubman, Gandhi, and Jackie Robinson are among the people profiled in the series for young readers. 

The world may appear to be a scary place at the moment, but Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna see opportunity. 

They point to another period of history that featured both great discoveries and advancements AND wrenching social and political change: the Renaissance, which pulled the Western world out of the medieval period. 

Could this time of great knowledge and risk parallel that one? 

Goldin and Kutarna make the case in their book Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance

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. 

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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

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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. 

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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

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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

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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"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. 

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