The lack of Pacific Northwest history books from a Christian perspective may be at least in part due to the fact that the populations of Oregon and Washington have the fewest number of church attenders per capita in the United States. Richard Hannula's Our Northwest Heritage fills that void by providing a Northwest history and geography text for middle and high school students that covers both the secular and Christian elements of the regions past.
Chapter one covers the geography of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, exploring both the physical terrain and how it has shaped commerce, politics and culture. Hannula focuses special attention on the geographical variety within these three states, calling on readers to glorify and thank God for His work. Chapters 2-8 deal with history, beginning at the time of the early Indian residents and ending in the present period. Notable Christians are covered in some detail in inset boxes. In chapter nine, students read about the civil governments of the three Northwest states.
At the end of each chapter Hannula provides suggestions for assignments and extra work—name identification, map work, short answer and essay questions, hands-on activities, field trips and sources for extra reading are all included. The text is highly readable, clearly outlined, and profusely illustrated in black and white with maps, photographs, paintings and portraits. Kids should be able to work through the entire book in two or three months, though you could easily integrate it into a unit study situation and make it last a whole year.
Hannula refuses to privilege either Christian or secular history (one of the greatest strengths of his book). While there's a whole chapter devoted to "The Gospel to the Northwest," there's also a whole chapter about logging, fishing and other regional occupations, and another about the effect of the World Wars and the Depression on the area. He is surprisingly even-handed, and though he doesn't cover much popular culture, one gets a definite sense of the region. A great resource for natives and "foreigners" alike.
This second edition is only about 8 pages longer than the first, but includes additional maps and illustrations, some updated statistics and graphs, a few more current events (notably, the 2012 Washington legalization of marijuana and gay marriage), and a variety of small wording and formatting changes. Most chapters also include an expanded suggested reading list.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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