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Do you remember the first time you saw a magic trick as a kid?  Something vanished, or appeared, or broke and got fixed again.  And you wondered how it was done. 

Magicians are not supposed to tell their secrets.  But magic designer and author Jim Steinmeyer tells a few, with co-author Peter Lamont, in The Secret History of Magic

Not so much tricks, as the secret of magic's own story, and some of the myths that have grown around it. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archive

The voice may sound familiar: Diana Coogle delivered audio essays on JPR News for years. 

Now she's back to talk about her own life story, as it involves a commune, Houkola, in the Colestin Valley by the state line. 

That story is the focus of this month's Stories of Southern Oregon, compiled and curated by Maureen Flanagan Battistella. 

National Archives of The Netherlands

The first world war was unimaginable for many people.  Then it happened again, just a generation later. 

How did Europe, considered the center of civilization, devolve into belligerence and barbarity TWICE in such a short amount of time? 

The Penguin History of Europe series asked that question, and historian Ian Kershaw answered, in To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

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Celebrate America's birthday!  We will, by taking the day off and putting the Exchange on autopilot.  And that means a review of some of our important segments from the past. 

At 8: Bryan Burrough gives a look back at a tough time in American history in his book Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence

At 9: Alice Randall gave us a slave's perspective on Gone With the Wind with a parody called The Wind Done Gone

She and daughter Caroline Randall Williams teamed up for a cookbook with stories of their family and updated (as in less-fatty) recipes called Soul Food Love

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Quick, name some of the fabulously rich men of the 19th century.  John D. Rockefeller?  Check.  Andrew Carnegie?  Check.  John W. Mackay?  Uh, who? 

Not a household name in our time, but John Mackay got rich in the Comstock Lode of silver and gold in Nevada, and went toe-to-toe in competition with some of the richest men of his time. 

Gregory Crouch profiles Mackay (pronounced "Mackie") in the book The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Riches in the American West

Oregon State University Press

It was the late 1960s... and Malcolm Terence did what a lot of people did in that time: looked for a different way to live. 

He'd been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and he was ready for a change.  Managing a rock band was fun, but also not the answer. 

So Malcolm found his way to the Black Bear Ranch, a commune nestled in the mountains by the Oregon-California state line.  That's where things got interesting, and Malcolm built himself a life. 

He tells the story in his first book, Beginner's Luck: Dispatches From the Klamath Mountains

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It's really not that long a stretch from "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" (Elvis Presley, 1961) to "I'm a sucker for the way that you move, babe" ("Never Be The Same", Camila Cabelo, 2018). 

They are both songs of love.  There have been many through time, and the history is really interesting. 

Love songs truly challenged their cultures when they first appeared.  This is one of many things Ted Gioia reveals in his book Love Songs: The Hidden History

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"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."  So China and the United States were friendly in the early days of World War II, even before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. 

A covert military operation brought American planes and pilots to Southeast Asia to support the Chinese in their fight with Japan: The Flying Tigers. 

The story of the group's creation and activities is told in Samuel Kleiner's book Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan

It's a highly unusual story, this group of volunteers fighting under a foreign flag. 

Tales of people fighting fires go way back in the region.  And there's a special aura of mystery and romance around smokejumpers, people who actually jump out of planes (yes, with parachutes) to fight wildfires. 

Mystery and romance?  More like grunts and groans, from the tales of the smokejumpers themselves. 

The physical conditioning they undergo to be ready for action is challenging, to say the least. 

This month's Stories of Southern Oregon features a return visit from Gary Buck of the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum near Cave Junction. 

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Silent since her death in 1959, the voice of Billie Holiday still echoes for generations of Americans. 

The story of "Lady Day" has been told many times, but author Tracy Fessenden tells the story of Holiday's music with a religious focus.  Fessenden's book is Religion Around Billie Holiday, and it explores religious influences ranging from Holiday's time in a convent as a child to the Jewish predominance in the Tin Pan Alley pop music culture. 

Each helped shape the work of the singer who flamed out too early at age 44. 

Wikimedia

Maybe the details become murky over time, but just the name of America's most complicated war says volumes: Vietnam. 

58,000 people died fighting for the United States, and the country itself divided sharply over the war, leaving a permanent scar. 

Elizabeth Partridge protested the war as a teenager in Berkeley; she offers an overview of the war to a new generation in the lavishly-illustrated book Boots On The Ground: America's War In Vietnam

Alexander Novati/Wikimedia

The imprisoning of Japanese-Americans in prison camps during World War II is an enduring stain on the country.  We still struggle to understand the actions and motivations of the time. 

Much of the attention focuses on people leaving their homes and living in the camps. 

But what happened after they were released?  That's the approach taken in the book Life After Manzanar by Naomi Hirahara and Heather Lindquist. 

People released from camps got 25 dollars and a bus ticket. 

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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. 

Wikimedia

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. 

Warren K. Leffler / Library of Congress, ID ppmsca.04301.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A nor

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.

Wikimedia

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

YouTube

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. 

YouTube

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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