EWU professor co-authors book on Spokane River


EWU professor Paul Lindholt showcasing his new book “The Spokane River.” Lindholdt and 28 others contributed in the writing | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Katherine Senechal, Reporter

The Spokane River is a huge part of the culture in the Pacific Northwest and is extremely impactful on its society. The recently released book “The Spokane River,” edited by EWU English professor Paul Lindholdt speaks about not only its aspects in the humanities, but also its effect on the social and hard sciences.

This book was the brainchild of Lindholdt as he wrote a portion of it, got all 28 contributors to add to it and edited it. The professor teaches classes from the 100 to 500 levels and has been at EWU for 24 years. The book came together in the last two years. He is originally from Seattle and has taught at five other institutions.

Lindholdt wanted to write this book to appreciate the river and as an informational piece about the Spokane River. There are many aspects of it, and the book acts as a way to let people learn more about the river and to raise awareness for it.

“Spokane has changed so much in the 24 years I’ve been here,” Lindholdt said. “The river used to be a sewer almost, and now in recent years people have come to really treasure their river. I thought maybe they’ll treasure a book about the river, and sure enough the community is really throwing their support behind it.”

The book is organized into three parts: Encounters and Excursions; Culture, History, Society; and Beneath the Surface. The three sections all give a different perspective on the river, and each chapter is written by a different contributor.

“The 28 contributors to this collection—including activists, storytellers, and scientists—profile this living river through personal reflection, history, science and poetry. They bring a keen environmental awareness of resource scarcity, climate change and cultural survival tied to the river’s fate,” a University of Washington Press review of the book said.

According to Lindholdt, this is a relevant book for EWU students because it is so close to them and a part of the community.

“I wanted to enhance appreciation for the river,” said Lindholdt. “And I wanted to make a sort of kaleidoscopic view of the river from all different perspectives and so the book is divided by three sections: the first is sort of created to be expressive, the second is social sciences including history, the third is hard sciences. So, there’s a range of different views of the river represented here.”

Lindholdt has published eight books so far and won the Washington State Book Award for Biography/Memoir in 2012. “The Spokane River,” published this year, is one of the most comprehensive books about the river.

There will be a book launch and a live reading at Auntie’s Bookstore on Thursday, May 3 and in the JFK Library on Thursday, May 10.