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Highpointers' reading room

January 17 2007 at 12:21 PM

Olivier Kozlowski  (Login kozesq)

I'm in the process of reading "The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl" by Timothy Eagan. At the risk of revealing my ignorance about that historical period, I must confess I was surprised to learn that I drove through the heart of the area while doing my NM-OK-KS-CO-NE trip in 2003. Granted, the book wasn't published until 2006, but it would have been nice to read about the history of the area before - or during - a trip right through the heart of the Dust Bowl.

Anybody have any similar experiences / suggested reading for areas likely travelled by fellow highpointers?

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Bill S
(Login bswofford2)

Not a Book

January 17 2007, 3:22 PM 

While not a book, I find this web site has interesting historical information on the states. It's worth a visit. It's also fun to play the games and gets children knowledgeable in the states.

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Jim Sutton
(Login JimSutton)

Lots of Possibilities!

January 17 2007, 3:55 PM 

You've struck an area that I just love: the natural and human history of the places I have traveled to, especially as related to highpointing, and especially as related to weather. Here are a few suggestions, and the states they are related to.

Texas: There's a book called, I believe "Isaac's Storm" (it's buried here someplace and I can't find it) about the terrible Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

Connecticut and Rhode Island: "The Great Hurricane of 1938", by Cherie Burns; this one snuck up the coast with no warning and did incredible damage to NY, Long Island, and the CN and RI shore areas.

North Carolina and Oklahoma: "Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation"; a sad part of our history; my wife's family is part Cherokee, and she was born in - yes - Cherokee, OK, and her family homesteaded that area and lived through the Dust Bowl, so she is reading the "Hard Times" book right now.

Pennsylvania: "The Johnstown Flood" by David McCullough.

Alaska: "Coming into the Country" by John McPhee (see also below).

ND, SD, MN, IA: "The Children's Blizzard",(also buried here someplace!) about the Great Blizzard of 1888; a frightening read about how quickly and brutally the weather can kill, especially before the days of (relatively) accurate weather prediction and dissemination.

AZ: "The Devil's Highway" by Luis Alberto Urrea, a true saga of a group of illegal aliens crossing the border into SW AZ and how the desert can kill just like a blizzard.

Geology: John McPhee (a FABULOUS author) has done a series of books on all sorts of subjects, but has several on the geology of North America, especially on what you'd see if you basically drove across the country on I-80. Lots of history thrown in as well. For NV, see: "Basin and Range", CA: "Assembling California"; WY: "Rising From the Plains"; Eastern states: "In Suspect Terrain". He's also done one on the midwest which I think is called "Crossing the Craton" or something similar; look it up. They are also all bound together in one large book.

KS-CO: There was an article in "American Heritage" magazine some years ago about a school bus that got stuck in a blizzard in the middle of nowhere along the CO-KS border in about 1933. Ten survived several days trapped, but as I recall five students and the driver died. Imagine my surprise when I took a side road north after the OK convention on my way to the KS HP and found a small monument to this event along the road, literally in the middle of nowhere. The names of all those involved are on the stone. Others of you may have run across it also. A marvelous case of serendipity.

All over: "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat Moon. An oldie but a goodie.

Well, now you can tell what I like to read. Hope this list helps. Looking forward to hearing other favorites. See ya in Wisconsin, eh? Thanks. JES

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Steve Gruhn
(Login SteveGruhn)


January 18 2007, 3:51 PM 

While I second the recommendation for John McPhee's Coming into the Country, I'd also recommend James Michener's brand of historical fiction that covers several states - Alaska, Hawaii, Chesapeake, Texas, etc.

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Not Who You Think It Is
(Login devnull1)

State of Franklin and Civil War Secession

January 18 2007, 7:13 AM 

The state of Franklin was declared in the 1786 time frame in eastern TN after NC ceded its western territory to the central government. Citizens elected a governor, John Sevier, later governor of TN, and the capital was established in what is now Greeneville TN. Look at Williams, Samuel Cole. History of the Lost State of Franklin. New York: The Press of the Pioneers, 1933.

An area in SW VA/SE KY and along the TN/NC border was not high on secession during the Civil War and threatened/tried to secede from the Confederacy. It did cause the Confederacy to have to keep some troops down in that area, particularly in the Cumberland Gap area (although there were other military reasons also). I am unaware of any books on the subject specifically, although it is referref to in a number of volumes, noteably Foote's "From Ft Sumter to Perryville".


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Olivier Kozlowski
(Login kozesq)

HP of Franklin - and keep 'em coming!

January 18 2007, 1:49 PM 

Looks like if the State of Franklin existed today it would have taken Clingman's Dome with it - Sevier was one of the counties that made up Franklin. Hmm...what would have been the HP of Tennessee today?

Franklin info:

Love the suggestions - keep 'em coming!

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Not Who You Think It Is
(Login devnull1)

Franklin and TN HP

January 19 2007, 7:28 AM 

Taking a quick look at a couple of on-line maps, I would hazard a guess that if Franklin had ended up a viable contributer to the US and its economy, its HP would have been Clingmans (as noted) and that the new TN HP would likely have been Haw Knob in Monroe County. The county outlines have changed over the years (e.g. Wayne County in now Carter and Johnson Counties), and the online maps are shown in gross regions only, so my answer may not be 100% correct.


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(Login surgent)

another almost-state hp

January 19 2007, 2:08 PM 

Northern California and southern Oregon, absorbed into the state of Klamath, with mighty Mt Shasta as the state HP. There has never been any serious discussion to create the state of Klamath but some people in that area like to refer to themselves as citizens of this quasi-state.

Book: Miles From Nowhere, by Dayton Duncan.

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(Login Holsti97)

Must read books

January 18 2007, 1:41 PM 

Blue Highways is a classic!

Minnesota: Woman of the Boundary Waters by Justine Kerfoot, The Singing Wilderness and others by Sigurd Olson.

Washington: The Measure of a Mountain by Bruce Barcott

Alaska: Minus 148 Degrees by Art Davidson

Wyoming: The Grand Controversy by Orrin Bonney

50 States: To The Top by Joe Glickman and Nels Akerlund

Check out this fun website:

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Alan Ritter
(Login jaritter)

The Book that got me Hooked

January 18 2007, 5:41 PM 

I have to mention Seven Summits by Dick Bass, Frank Wells and Rick Ridgeway. A friend lent that book to me about 1994 or so and while I figured I wasn't cut out for the Seven Summits, the Fifty Molehills might be a better goal.

The rest, as they say, is history. (41 down, 9 to go...)

I second the mention of Minus 148° as well.

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