Book Review:
Eccentric Seattle: Pillars and Pariahs Who Made the City Not Such a Boring Place After All By J. Kingston Pierce

  • Posted 2/08/2009
  • Essay 8889

WSU Press, 2003
Paperback, 320 pages
Illustrations, bibliography
ISBN: 0-87422-269-9

Eccentric Seattle is a series of vignettes chronicling offbeat and colorful events that contributed to the development of Seattle. With more than 25 anecdotes ranging from Asa Mercer’s quest to bring eligible brides from the East Coast for the numerous Seattle bachelors to the Issaquah Ku Klux Klan rally in 1924 with a 55,000-person attendance, Pierce covers the span of Seattle history from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century. He covers political, cultural, and economic histories, examining both individual actions and more general events like the Klondike Gold Rush and the Panic of 1893. In addition to the vignettes, the end of the book features a timeline of Seattle from 1786 to 2000. 

Editor, author, and blogger J. Kingston Pierce offers an accessible and diverse account of Seattle’s complex history as well as an idiosyncratic view of present day Seattle’s relation to its past. Basing his work on the notion that the general public’s impression of Seattle is that it “grew up a bit duller and more civilized than other U.S. cities,” Pierce seeks to inform the reader that Seattle is “not such a boring place after all” through the use of crafty prose and engrossing stories. Though not all Seattleites believe the city was ever a boring (or even eccentric) place, Eccentric Seattle is a valuable collection of Seattle history -- from the quirky to the momentous.

By Catherine Roth, February 8, 2009 


Submitted: 2/08/2009

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