An Informal Portrait of Seattle
- PUBLISHED: March 2018
- SUBJECT LISTING: Pacific Northwest / History, History / Western History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 360 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in, 35 b&w illus., 1 map
- ISBN: 9780295743493
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Skid Road tells the story of Seattle “from the bottom up,” offering an informal and engaging portrait of the Emerald City’s first century, as seen through the lives of some of its most colorful citizens. With his trademark combination of deep local knowledge, precision, and wit, Murray Morgan traces the city’s history from its earliest days as a hacked-from-the-wilderness timber town, touching on local tribes, settlers, the lumber and railroad industries, the great fire of 1889, the Alaska gold rush, flourishing dens of vice, the 1919 general strike, the 1962 World’s Fair, and the stuttering growth of the 1970s and ’80s. Through it all, Morgan shows us that Seattle’s one constant is change and that its penchant for reinvention has always been fueled by creative, if sometimes unorthodox, residents.
With a new introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic Mary Ann Gwinn, this redesigned edition of Murray Morgan’s classic work is a must for those interested in how Seattle got to where it is today.
Authors & Contributors
Murray Morgan (1916–2000), a journalist and historian, was the author of more than twenty books, including the well-loved Skid Road and The Last Wilderness. He worked for Time magazine, the New York Herald Tribune, and CBS News and hosted the early morning radio show “Our Town, Our World.” Mary Ann Gwinn writes for the Seattle Times, Booklist, and other publications. She won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1990, was one of three jurors for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and serves on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
Over more than half a century, no one has written a better book about Seattle. I keep looking for something, but Skid Road has our soul down cold.- Timothy Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time
No one who has ever written Pacific Northwest history can match Murray Morgan’s craftsmanship, the signal virtues of which are pace, precision, humor, and a keen eye for the characterizing detail.- Norman Clark, Pacific Northwest Quarterly
Mr. Morgan’s book is the sort of corrective history that all communities should welcome.- Stewart Holbrook, New York Herald Tribune
Skid Road served as an accent to successive periods in Seattle’s history, from its gawdy boisterous uncontrolled days as the takeoff for the Alaskan gold fields, to the settling down to a staid respectability. . . . There were days of questionable ethics, in journalism, in politics. There were reformers. And throughout, the exceptional personality of the city itself dominates its story.- Kirkus Reviews
You can probably find this book lying around the house of anyone who's been in Seattle long enough to get even a little bit interested in the city's past. . . . [Morgan is] exactly the kind of guy you'd probably enjoy having show you around town.- Eli Sanders, The Stranger
Morgan portrays the people and the city with affection, delight, honesty and humor. More history should be written in this manner.- The Pacific Historian
A lively view of the lumbering boom town during its first hundred years.- Journal of Forest History
Murray Morgan, no question about it, is one the Pacific Northwest’s most competent word craftsmen. He can take history (which need not be dull, but frequently is) and make it read like first-rate fiction.- Alaskafest
The best-selling portrait of the city’s pioneers, and the area that lent its name to skid row sections of other cities.- American Planning Association
This often anecdotal history of the city focuses on key people and incidents, to good effect.- The Rough Guide to Seattle
Murray Morgan brings the early days of Seattle roaring to life on the page in all their rowdy, bawdy, clangorous glory. Always informative, but never dry, Morgan is more than a historian, he's a great storyteller. When did reading history become so fun?- Jonathan Evison, author of West of Here