Other books byJack Nisbet
David Douglas and the Natural History of the...
Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed book Sources of the River, which set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region. Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout other areas of western North America. Douglas's discoveries include hundreds of western plants--most notably the Douglas Fir. The Collector tracks Douglas's fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker, and details his adventures in North America discovering exotic new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas's journeys into a literal brave new world of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands. In telling Douglas's story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.
Purple Flat Top
In Pursuit of a Place
When a mining claim on a crumbling cliff of burnt-rose quartzite lured naturalist Jack Nisbet to the northeastern corner of Washington State in 1970, he began a search for an understanding of that open country through stories about the people who lived there and the everyday events he shared with them. Together, these vivid, engaging, and subtly humorous stories evoke the essence of this place. "At once wry and compassionate, these crisply written vignettes impart a spirited, substantial nourishment as they describe a particular American landscape."-Booklist "A fine, gracefully written combination of bird-watching, people-watching, and regional history."-Kirkus "In Jack Nisbet, an unsung corner of the West has found its troubadour."-Ivan Doig "Purple Flat Topis everything a portrait of a place should be: intimately local yet completely universal, rich in the texture of people and other species, and spit-true."-Robert Michael Pyle Jack Nisbetis a writer, teacher, and naturalist. He is the author of several books, includingThe CollectorandSources of the River, the winner of the Washington Governor's Writers Award, the Murray Morgan Prize, and the Idaho Book of the Year. He lives in Spokane, Washington.
Sources of the River, 2nd Edition
Tracking David Thompson Across North America
In this true story of adventure, author Jack Nisbet re-creates the life and times of David Thompson—fur trader, explorer, surveyor, and mapmaker. From 1784 to 1812, Thompson explored western North America, and his field journals provide the earliest written accounts of the natural history and indigenous cultures of the what is now British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Thompson was the first person to chart the entire route of the Columbia river, and his wilderness expeditions have become the stuff of legend. Jack Nisbet tracks the explorer across the content, interweaving his own observations with Thompson’s historical writings. The result is a fascinating story of two men discovering the Northwest territory almost two hundred years apart.
The Mapmaker's Eye
David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau
Between 1807 and 1812, North West Company fur trader, explorer, and cartographer David Thompson established two viable trade routes across the Rocky Mountains in Canada and systematically surveyed the entire 1,250-mile course of the Columbia River. In succeeding years he distilled his mathematical notations from dozens of journal notebooks into the first accurate maps of the entire northwest quadrant of North America. The writings in those same journals reveal a complex man who was headstrong, curious, and resourceful in ways that reflected both his London education and his fur trade apprenticeship on the Canadian Shield. In The Mapmaker's Eye: David Thompson on the Columbia Plateau, Jack Nisbet utilizes fresh research to convey how Thompson experienced the sweep of human and natural history etched across the Columbia drainage. He places Thompson's movements within the larger contexts of the European Enlightenment, the British fur trade economy, and American expansion as represented by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Nisbet courses through journal notebooks to assemble and comment on Thompson's bird and mammal lists, the explorer's surprisingly detailed Salish vocabulary, the music Thompson and his crew listened to on a barrel organ, and the woodcraft techniques they used to maintain themselves under shelter or while on the move. Visual elements bring Thompson's written daybooks to life. Watercolor landscapes and tribal portraits drawn by the first artists to travel along his trade routes illuminate what the explorer actually saw. Tribal and fur trade artifacts reveal intimate details of two cultures at the moment of contact. The Mapmaker's Eye also depicts the surveying instruments that Thompson used, and displays the series of remarkable maps that grew out of his patient, persistent years of work. In addition to these visual aspects of Thomson's journeys through the Columbia country, Nisbet taps into oral memories kept by the Kootenai and Salish bands who guided the agent and his party along their way.