Blaine Harden with Sam Howe Verhovek
Noted Seattle journalist and author Blaine Harden has mostly written of places distant from this part of the world - three recent books on North Korea, alone, with other places stemming from his postings as a correspondent in east Africa and east Asia over the years. He has written of this part of the world, as well, A River Lost, being an excellent earlier book on the Columbia River. He is in this part of the country again, farther back in time, with his newest book, Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West (Viking). Yes, this is the second author this month, following Cassandra Tate with Unsettled Ground on April 14th, we’re hearing on Marcus and Narcisa Whitman, their role and their deaths, as part of a pivotal time in regional and national history.
“In this remarkable history of dishonesty, greed, and perseverance, Harden exposes the chauvinistic and fictitious story that rests at the foundation of U.S. expansion in the Pacific Northwest. He shows how the lionizing of missionaries and mountain men created a triumphant, self-serving narrative that justified the dispossession of the region’s native inhabitants. And he describes how the Cayuse Indians survived the onslaught and are now working to rebuild their communities and restore their traditional homelands. Murder at the Mission is a riveting investigation of both American myth-making and the real history that lies beneath.” – Claudio Saunt.
“Harden meticulously outlines how one bitter minister crafted an outlandish lie out of the Whitmans’ deaths, promoting a narrow vision of heroic white Christians destined to conquer the land, a vision that persisted into the twentieth century, echoing far beyond the Pacific Northwest.” —Booklist.
Blaine Harden’s other recent books include The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot and Escape from Camp 14.
Blaine Harden will appear in conversation with Sam Howe Verhovek, author of Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World, and a former Seattle-based national correspondent for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is also a contributing writer for National Geographic magazine and an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University and the University of Washington.