The University of Washington Press has issued a couple of coffee-table books with plenty of graphics that happen to be highly readable, as well.
“Voyages to the New World and Beyond,” illustrated and written by Gordon Miller, is a handsome tome depicting the history of sailing ships and the men who sailed them to the far reaches of the earth.
Miller, from Vancouver, B. C., has the talent to carry off both paintings and text. He’s a well-known maritime artist and illustrator who worked as a seaman and later as chief designer for the Vancouver Maritime Museum and Vancouver Museum.
Millers delivers fascinating accounts of the great explorers: Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, John Cabot, Martin Frobisher, Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, James Cook and others — names we might have yawned over in school. Miller’s well-paced narratives reopen a lost world of navigation that, for those of us who fret over a six-hour plane flight, might provoke a little soul-searching.
Miller’s paintings are beautifully rendered as they reimagine the ships according to the historical record and the places they sailed to, from Jamestown to 17th-century London.
“Voyages: To the New World and Beyond,” by Gordon Miller. 200 pages; 100 color illustrations. $55 hardcover.
Closer to home, Kit Oldham, Peter Blecha and the HistoryLink staff have brought together “Rising Tides and Tailwinds: The Story of the Port of Seattle, 1911-2011.”
Archival photographs make this book more interesting than it might sound, and some of the under-sung history, especially the labor unrest of the 1930s, spices things up.
“Rising Tides” features plenty of colorful actors, from fiery longshore-union leader Harry Bridges to railroad mogul James J. Hill. The Port of Seattle, one realizes, hasn’t always been about buttoned-down port commissioners and wedding-cake cruise ships dominating the waterfront.
This is Seattle history from another angle.
“Rising Tides and Tailwinds: The Story of the Port of Seattle, 1911-2011,” by Kit Oldham, Peter Blecha and the HistoryLink staff. 128 pages; 195 color illustrations. $19.95 hardcover.