Hiking Oregon’s History by William L. Sullivan: Book Review

Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan Book Cover

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Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan Book Cover
4 Stars

Title: Hiking Oregon’s History
Author: William L. Sullivan
Genre: History, Essays, Travel
Audience: Adult
Format: E-book

My Synopsis:

William L. Sullivan, well-known for his numerous hiking books centered around Oregon, presents several hikes and the history surrounding them.

My Review:

I know this book won’t have much appeal to a broad audience but it was so engaging, I wanted to review it.

When my husband and I first arrived in Oregon in April of 2020 for his work assignment at a hospital outside Portland, my aunt put me in touch with one of her friends who owns a summer home on the Oregon coast. That friend provided invaluable recommendations for things to do and see but she also mentioned that I should try to find hiking books written by William L. Sullivan. I didn’t want to pay for a physical copy since we were only going to be in the area for three months (three turned into six because the state is beautiful), so I looked at the digital library. This was the only one of his books available for digital download.

I expected to simply use this as a guidebook for hikes we might not have discovered otherwise but it was so interesting that I read it straight through, cover to cover. I don’t know that I actively planned any hikes using this book but I would constantly spout the history of the surrounding areas to my husband while we were out hiking on whatever trail we found. I don’t think I’ve ever come across another book quite like this before but it added a depth to our hikes that I enjoyed. I wish there were books like it for every state.

The author organizes the book by topic, not by area, which works best if you’re reading it as I did. If you’re using it more as a guidebook, you’ll have to rely heavily on the index. My favorite section was about Native American legends but there were a lot of amazing stories included throughout. Other topics included early European explorers, the settlers, World War II, current conservation efforts, and a lot of history in between.

I’m trying hard not to buy books while we’re traveling (we live in our RV while we’re on location, so space is at a premium), but I wish I’d had a physical copy to flip through and keep in the car on our journeys. The pictures from the e-book on my Kindle Paperwhite were hard to see. I also find it easier to flip through a reference book like this than to search through a digital file.

If you live in or plan to visit Oregon (one day when COVID restrictions are behind us), I highly recommend picking up a physical copy of this book. It will enhance your appreciation of that beautiful, geographically-diverse state.


Buy Hiking Oregon’s History from Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC.

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site.

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  1. My husband is much of a hiker, so I usually just get him to join me on the shorter loops, but this sounds like a great book for both of us. We’ve lived in Oregon for over three years and still don’t know a lot of the history. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

      1. How fun! Although it’s true this particular book isn’t of interest to be, since I’m not in Oregon, I enjoyed hearing about it and will definitely see if I can find similar books about maryland, where I’m moving this month.

  2. I think it’s important to do a bit of background checking on where you stay. I’ve done it when we moved to Jeffreys Bay and the area where we came from, is so rich in South African history, it was easy to just jump into the history.

    Glad you’ve read this and enjoyed it!

    Have a wonderful weekend Jen

    Elza Reads

    1. I usually pick up bits of history here and there from guidebooks and trail guides but this was the first time I really immersed myself in it. I’ll have to do more of this kind of research. I’m glad you enjoyed researching your area too!

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