The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest
, 2009 - History
- 290 pages
Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed Sources of the River. That book set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region. Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and other areas of western North America. Douglas' discoveries include hundreds of western plants ? most notably the Douglas Fir.
The Collector tracks Douglas' fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker to his adventures in North America discovering "exotic" new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas' journeys into a literal "brave new world" of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands. In telling Douglas' story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.