• David Frazier's memoir of Vietnam, "Drafted!", is multilayered - from the days of war in the 60s to return visits as a photography - and as complex as the place itself.
Ridenbaugh Press wides a wide look at the world around us - from local and regional to national and even international concerns. Our roster of writers bring a wide range of perspectives for your reading.

Former Idaho 2nd District Judge John Bradbury read The Intermediary by Lin Tull Cannell, and offered this comment about it:

Lin Tull Cannell’s book, The Intermediary, William Craig among the Nez Perces, is a prodigiously documented, well written and much needed account of a man who played a pivotal role in the Nez Perce people’s struggle to keep their land and their traditions. As the beaver market collapsed in 1839 – 1840 mountain man Craig brought his Nez Perce wife Isabel and their children to the heart of Nez Perce country at Lapwai Creek.
Cannell describes the Indians’ complicated relationship with the missionaries that led to the killing of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, Craig’s role during the treaty negotiations if 1855, the Cayuse and Yakima wars that followed and resulted in his eviction from Lapwai. Craig returns and continues his role as a true intermediary as the gold discovery in the Clearwater hastens the white migration into the Nez Perce reservation and forces a new treaty.
This is a balanced account of the era that ushered in the changes that forever altered the lives of the Nez Perce and of a man who finally gets credit for his role. It brings new and refreshing insight to the fate of the Nez Perce people and the cast of characters who were a part of it. It is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the Inland Northwest.

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A pleasant morning in the Spokane area. Chris Carlson and I dropped into the brightly refurbished Davenport Hotel in downtown, breakfasting with Bert Caldwell, the editorial page editor of the Spokane Spokesman Review.

A string of stops followed, over at the Gallatin Group (Chris was a founder, and for years worked in the Spokane office), over to the Inlander alt-weekly (where editor and publisher Ted McGregor kindly spent a few minutes with us on deadline day), ad then to a new book shop in Coeur d’Alene, the Well-Read Moose, which is only about a year and a half old.

We’re heading south.


Chris Carlson (Eye on the Caribou) and I (Crossing the Snake) hit spots in St. Maries and Coeur d’Alene on Monday, and we’ll be moving on to Spokane, Moscow and Lewiston Tuesday.

St. Maries was anchored by the PaperHouse, where we did a book signing and talked for a bit with Dan Hammes, publisher of the local Gazette Record (home base for Chris’ weekly columns, which also appear on Ridenbaugh Press). St. Maries seems to be hanging in there, keeping busy.


Coeur d’Alene seems much more so, with loads of new or refashioned businesses, and a very busy downtown, well into the evening. We stopped first at Java on Sherman Street, there meeting a group of readers (many political activists) and joining up with Mike Blackbird (One Flaming Hour). We talked about our books and some some copies.

We also visited with Dave Oliveria of the Spokane Spokesman Review, talking about books and politics.

Tomorrow: Visits in Spokane and Moscow, and an event at Lewis Clark State College in Moscow. (top photo)



Crossing the Snake page page

Crossing the Snake, the collection of Randy Stapilus columns about Idaho over the last decade, is now published, and we’re highlighting it with a tour around northern Idaho this coming week.

A tour around southern Idaho will follow a few weeks after that.

We’ll be stopping by Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, St. Maries, Moscow, and Lewiston, from Monday through Wednesday.



On the Cusp of Chaos page

The third Ridenbaugh Press book by W. Scott Jorgensen is out, and Jorgensen is traveling around the state, speaking to groups in communities large and small – and selling copies as he goes. Next week, he’ll have a book signing at the Oregon State Capitol.

From the Introduction.

This book has three main themes. It’s a look inside Oregon’s state capitol, its urban-rural divide and the last days of former Governor John Kitzhaber’s administration.

The main title refers to the tensions that exist in these settings and the challenges faced by our public institutions and the people in them. It’s about everything that goes into keeping it all going on a daily basis.

This work consists of observations from inside and outside the capitol as I made my way around the state, and the very obvious disconnects between what happens in those places. It also includes various columns I’ve written and some speeches I’ve given that matched those general themes.

Every effort was also made to include those concepts in the front and back cover art. I wanted to capture the feel of being outside of the capitol and looking in, as well as from the inside looking out to represent that sense of duality.

I also realized, as this book was coming together, that I had several pictures that could shed further light on the look and feel of the capitol building during a legislative session. Those are included in a photo section in the middle of the book.

One of my other goals in writing this was to make sure that no more than half of it took place in Salem. There are chapters from literally all over the state to further illustrate the many differences all over.

What follows is a look at two regular legislative sessions, one special session, one short session, a primary election and a general election, all of which took place in the space of two and a half years.



The Stuck Pendulum page

The book Paradox Politics was written in 1987 and 1988, and published in that latter year – which, as this is written, was 27 years ago. Considering that it was intended as a current, up to the minute, review of Idaho politics and how it had gotten that way, that makes it heavily out of date now.

It’s been out a long time, but it’s not entirely forgotten. While most of its sales came in the 80s, it has sold copies ever since; Amazon has moved copies this year. That’s nice to see. What’s less easy to contemplate is that some of those people may think that Idaho politics in this new century is anything like what it was in the last one, and that would be a problem, because it isn’t. I think, generally, it holds up as a good review of the subject as of the time it was written. And I think it may have helped prompt a spate of Idaho political memoirs and biographies that cropped up in the years following.

But since then, much has changed.

Hence, The Stuck Pendulum. It’s a standalone book that also functions as an afterword – even a coda – for that earlier one, intended to bring up to date people who may have relied on Paradox for a look at Idaho politics. It doesn’t unearth a lot of secrets and not much in it will come a a big surprise to people who have followed Idaho politics in the last quarter-century or so. But for those new to the subject, or who may have wondered what has happened since 1988, I think it can be useful.

I have gotten requests from time to time for a sequel for Paradox, and it’s not just the passage of time that has increasingly made the point compelling. As the title suggests, Idaho politics, which once wandered across the political spectrum, driven by an electorate often willing to take a flyer on something different and didn’t trust anyone too damn much, has changed, locked in place, adjusting if at all only to whatever seems to be the hardest right alternative at hand.

How it got there, and especially after how it changed so drastically right after the best Idaho Democratic election year in a generation (1990), is much of the subject of The Stuck Pendulum. But there are overviews of more, of the Larry Craig incident, the fierce battles in the first congressional district and the recent splinters in the Republican Party.

For the moment, it’s priced for free, so get your copy if this sounds like your area of interest. We’ll attach a price (not a hefty one, though) a little later.


Some of the reviews coming in so far for Chris Carlson’s Eye of the Caribou.

” “Eye on the Caribou” is an outstanding historical review of the Alaska Lands Bill and all the people involved in its creation and then its passage. The author gives me more credit than I perhaps deserve but he also does a remarkable job of remembering and noting the contributions of the thousand fathers and mothers. He properly notes the ultimate credit deservedly goes to President Carter.”
Governor Cecil D. Andrus (44th Secretary of the Interior)

“In terms of land and wildlife conservation, it gets no bigger—anywhere on earth—than the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act signed by President Jimmy Carter. At his side every step of the way was Cecil Andrus—the architect, the Capitol Hill advocate, and the spokesman who, like so many of us, was fired by the understanding that here we could, for once, do conservation on a vast, ecosystem-wide basis, and do it right the first time. Chris Carlson was there every step of the way and provides in this book the rich detail only an insider can provide.”
Doug Scott, Lobbying Director, Alaska Coalition – 1976-1980

“No other conservation measure can match the Alaska Lands bill for sheer size and importance. Chris Carlson was there, side by side, with Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus helping to manage the prolonged effort to protect Alaska’s wild and untouched spaces. Oil, mining and other business interests resisted aggressively, but in the end the collaborative effort by President Carter, Andrus, the ad hoc Alaska team assembled by Andrus and key environmental leaders prevailed. “Eye on the Caribou” is a must read for political leaders, environmentalists and community organizers who seek to protect open spaces. It is a lesson about the need for endurance, compromise and collaboration. All in all, a great reflection about Alaska and politics.”
– John Hough


From an interview on southern Oregon television.


We’ve just released Chris Carlson’s new book Eye on the Caribou. he in turn released this column today.

Former President Jimmy Carter, the best ex-president this country has ever had, is suffering from terminal liver cancer and could be crossing the Jordan River soon. He is now 90 years old and just finished his 25th book. The Carter Center at Emory University in Atlanta has become a model for the good works a former president can do both in this country andaround the world.

Without question the top achievement legislatively from the four years President Carter held the wheel was passage of the Alaskan lands legislation which overnight doubled the size of the National Park system and the Fish and Wildlife system of bird refuges. Almost 100 million acres, including entire ecosystems received protection.

I have a new book out, Eye on the Caribou, published by Ridenbaugh Press that tells the inside story of the critical role played by former four term Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus in securing the historic legislation while serving as President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of the Interior.

I’ve long thought that Governor Andrus has never been given the full credit he deserved for the critical role he played in leading the way to passage of the greatest single piece of conservation legislation in American history, so I set out to make sure the history books properly reflect this excellent piece of his legacy.

This new book joins a well reviewed biography (Cecil Andrus: Idaho’s Greatest Governor) on the governor published in 2011, and a book of 13 essays (Medimont Reflections) in 2013 that covered other issues and political figures Governor Andrus and I worked on during my 40 years of public involvement.

Andrus has always been quick to say that “success has a thousand fathers and mothers” and has especially singled out the Alaska Coaliton and the critical role played by Chuck Clusen, Brock Evans and Doug Scott for their contribution to successful passage of the legislation.

Future historians will find some heretofore little known jewels of information in this latest book. For example, during the summer of 1978 when Andrus and President Carter spent four days fly fishing and floating the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River, they settled on the fall back strategy of President Carter using his authority under the Antiquities Act to make the largest national monuments in history. They guessed correctly this would bring the Alaska delegation back to the bargaining table to undue the more restrictive form of protection monument status requires.

Other examples of anecdotes in the book include a heretofore unreported 1979 secret meeting between Alaska Governor Jay Hammond and Secretary Andrus in which the two by themselves spent a day fishing at some of Hammond’s favorite fishing sites in and around Lake Clark and Lake Iliamna. The two would set aside their fishing rods from time to time, get out their maps and pretty much settled on the boundaries of the soon-to-be new additions to the Nationl Park Service and to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s system of bird refuges.

The book also details the massive cross-over vote in 1980 orchestrated by the late Senator Ted Stevens to defeat in the Democratic primary his senatorial colleague, Mike Gravel. Stevens held Gravel directly responsible for the circumstances leading to his wife Ann’s death in a plane crash on December 4th, 1978.

The book also details the adverse impact the legislation had for the owner of a properly proven up mining claim owned by a partnership that included a Spokane exploration geologist, Wallace McGregor.

Even universally acclaimed legislation can still have adverse impacts on some people, and while Mr. McGregor’s dispute with the Park Service over his inholding is complex the fact remains that 40 years have gone by without any compensation to them for a de facto taking.”

The book retails for $16.95 and is now available directly from the publisher, Ridenbaugh.com, or Amazon.com, or directly from the author, or at your nearby Hastings outlet in Idaho and at Aunties in Spokane, as well as The PaperHouse in St. Maries.

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