Strong Winds and Widow Makers

Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country
Author: Steven C. Beda
How timber workers shaped the forest and how the forest shaped them
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 12/13/2022
Cloth: 12/13/2022
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About the Book

Often cast as villains in the Northwest's environmental battles, timber workers in fact have a connection to the forest that goes far beyond jobs and economic issues. Steven C. Beda explores the complex true story of how and why timber-working communities have concerned themselves with the health and future of the woods surrounding them. Life experiences like hunting, fishing, foraging, and hiking imbued timber country with meanings and values that nurtured a deep sense of place in workers, their families, and their communities. This sense of place in turn shaped ideas about protection that sometimes clashed with the views of environmentalists--or the desires of employers. Beda's sympathetic, in-depth look at the human beings whose lives are embedded in the woods helps us understand that timber communities fought not just to protect their livelihood, but because they saw the forest as a vital part of themselves.

About the Author

Steven C. Beda is an assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon.


"Steven Beda's Strong Winds and Widow Makers is a wide-ranging and well-researched history of labor and the environment in Northwest timber country. . . . Beda presents a more nuanced account of the relationship timber workers have forged with the Northwest forests through several generations of living among them." --H-Net Reviews

"Rather than seeing environmental conflict in timber country as simply the story of jobs versus the environment, as is often the case, this historical study views workers and environmentalism in relation to class, community, ways of life, understandings of nature, forest science, policy alternatives, politics, popular culture, and economics, producing a broader, more nuanced understanding of the topic." --British Columbia Review

"An illuminating trek into the forests alongside highclimbers and other logging specialists. More importantly, it’s an examination of how politics, corporate boardrooms, and changing social attitudes and technology left many timber workers on the short end of the stick — and where things stand now. For all we who haven’t worked in the woods — and perhaps even for some who have — 'Strong Wind' is a fact-filled guidebook, with something interesting on every page." --Chinook Observer


"Part cultural criticism, part journalistic advocacy, this timely book offers an invaluable historical account of the changing class relationships in the Northwest woods and the growing cultural and political rift between those who live there and those who live in the region's cities."--Lawrence M. Lipin, author of Workers and the Wild: Conservation, Consumerism, and Labor in Oregon, 1910–30


• Winner, Philip Taft Labor History Book Prize, Cornell University's ILR School and LAWCHA, 2023
• Co-winner, Pacific Coast Branch Book Award, 2023
• Finalist, Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction, Literary Arts, Oregon Book Awards, 2024