Home / General / Empire of Timber

Empire of Timber



Listen people, you have two choices. You can eat this month. Or you can buy my new book Empire of Timber: Labor Unions and the Pacific Northwest Forests, published by Cambridge University Press, at the modest price of $100. Or $80 on Kindle. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, it it available and I can only say that after working on something that long (12 years since I finished my comprehensive exams and started conceptualizing it), I’m amazed that it is out and a real thing that ended up in my hands today. No words. It will be a much, much cheaper paperback in about a year. This is the description from Cambridge:

The battles to protect ancient forests and spotted owls in the Northwest splashed across the evening news in the 1980s and early 1990s. Empire of Timber re-examines this history to demonstrate that workers used their unions to fight for a healthy workplace environment and sustainable logging practices that would allow themselves and future generations the chance to both work and play in the forests. Examining labor organizations from the Industrial Workers of the World in the 1910s to unions in the 1980s, Empire of Timber shows that conventional narratives of workers opposing environmental protection are far too simplistic and often ignore the long histories of natural resource industry workers attempting to protect their health and their futures from the impact of industrial logging. Today, when workers fear that environmental restrictions threaten their jobs, learning the history of alliances between unions and environmentalists can build those conversations in the present.

That pretty much sums it up and of course is a theme I have talked about so many times here–that workers and environmentalists are not natural enemies and that an examination of the past elucidates this point again and again.

This picture also includes a union bug timber hammer an old Carpenters union activist gave me during my research, a ponderosa pine cone from Deschutes County, Oregon, and a crack in my wall which may or may not say anything about conditions at the University of Rhode Island.

Worth mentioning as well that you can still of course buy my book from earlier this year, Out of Sight, for the “let’s steal half of Mexico to expand slavery” price of $18.46.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Lost Left Coaster

    Congratulations! And thank goodness for my university library…

    • Well, we’ll see if any university libraries even buy it at that price….

      • Hogan

        No worries. Ask me some time about approval plans.

      • djw

        Mine will. I’ve requested books at twice that price without resistance.

        • Really? Well, request 2! It’s a top seller in Dayton!

      • Linnaeus

        I’ll put in a request at my university library. Though they may be suspicious of the author.

        • Linnaeus

          Update: they ordered even before I asked them to. Win for Loomis!

          • Really? I suspect I know why since I am friends with the environmental historian at your school. Or maybe it’s just because of the regional thing.

            • Linnaeus

              I think a lot of it is the latter, since we have more than a few parties who deal with PNW history here. Though if you are talking about the environmental historian that I think you are, I wouldn’t be surprised if said historian had weighed in on your book. Plus our history specialist librarian is very good.

              • Let’s just say that said environmental historian wrote a fantastic book on environment, disease, and bodies in California.

      • Denverite

        My spouse’s was in that price range and she had enough libraries buy it that she got a royalties check for about $100 a year after publication.

  • postmodulator

    It will be a much, much cheaper paperback in about a year.

    Just a thought, but salesmanship? Maybe not your thing.

    • I sold the hell out of Out of Sight. I respect my audience enough to know not to try and sell a $100 book.

      • postmodulator

        I respect my audience

        I consider this statement to be identical to my own.

  • Ransom Stoddard

    Congrats! Environmentalism sort of reminds me of immigration in that potential negatives to American workers are wildly exaggerated by cynics with other interests. If my university library stocks a copy, I’ll make sure to read it.

    • Yes, blaming environmentalists is almost always a cynical attempt to escape the blame corporations have for their own culpability in job loss. This includes in the Appalachian coal industry and the New England fisheries, as well as the Northwest timber industry.

  • Amanda in the South Bay

    I might be interested in this, coming from an Oregon timber family myself. And a small town that got hammered when Boise shut down the paper mill…

  • Brett

    I requested that my library buy it. Told them it was a rush request too!

  • dp

    Labor and environmental history for the New Gilded Age!

    For maybe the first time since I graduated from law school, I’m gonna wait for the paperback.

    • If only the rich would buy it as a status symbol….

  • oregon sage

    I can send you all the Deschutes….or any other Oregon Forest vegetation samples you want. Never a logger, but built a few logging roads in the Pacific Northwest: Teamster, Operating Engineer, Laborer, Educator, and software executive?!

    It’s my birthday and I would be happy to buy the book, but you gotta sign it!

    • I will be happy to sign anything!

      • oregon sage

        Let me know the best way to make that happen. I’m not planning to be near RI anytime soon; stuck in the Willamette Valley for the foreseeable future..

        • I was just in Eugene last week. Unfortunately I won’t be back until the summer. You could send it to me and I could send it back.

          • oregon sage

            I guess that will have to be the plan. Is there an address listed somewhere here? I’m a religious reader of your posts, but have avoided participation until now.

            Love the Day in Labor History posts.

              • oregon sage

                Now to get my hands on the book!

                • oregon sage

                  The adventure continues….I checked Powells online and they show it available in 2-3 day, but I happened to be in Portland on Saturday where they quoted me $113 and delivery in over a week.

                  Given that I decided to enrich my local bookie, Michaels on Broadway in Eugene, just a few steps from my office. He was sure I was not prepared for the price when he saw that it was Cambridge U Press as he knew the toll would be anything but reasonable, but I assured him that I expect him to ding me for a C note.

                  Deal made, book should be here in a week or two.

                  I realize it is a lot of money for a book, but I spent nearly that much on a day trip to Portland last weekend. I can think of infinite $100 purchases that wont be half as valuable to me a few weeks, or a few years, from now.

                • I will get it right back to you. That’s quite the expense. I hope you enjoy the book.

  • I looked at the Cambridge page for the book, and at the top of it was this:

    Due to a system upgrade, online purchasing will be unavailable from 17:00 EDT on October 23rd until November 3rd. For orders during this period, please contact us at +1-800-872-7423 or [email protected].
    We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Their online ordering system will be down for almost two weeks? That’s nuts.

    • It’s available on Amazon and other such sites, but yeah, I noticed that too.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Their online ordering system will be down for almost two weeks? That’s nuts.

      On the bright side, it will be up and running in just enough time to stock your Guy Fawkes bonfire!!!

    • oregon sage


      In the NW there is the Powell’s option. Unfortunately their online store is also down.

  • Vance Maverick

    Congratulations! Incarnating it in dead trees could not be more apt.

    I stared at the cover photo for quite a while trying to understand the sign — particularly the last word that’s spelled out in black and white. It’s a good thing you linked a giant image, so I could finally guess it spells “No R.V.’s”. The joys of philology!

  • Warren Terra

    How many author copies do you get? At $100 a copy, you might be rich!

  • Lurker

    Well, it seems like someone is anticipating that this book might be included to a few syllabi. As a physicist, I’m pretty used to text books costing a hundred bucks each at undergrad level and two hundred on post grad level. However, in physics, a single textbook is usually the only book for a course or even two courses, so the cost is bearable. This pricing looks pretty much like pricing for textbooks.

    Considering that Loomis is a good writer and the topic is illustrative of labour movement and environmental move!emt in general, the anticipation is not unfounded.

    • Not in history. Most historical monographs are about $25-40 in hardback. Full textbooks are maybe $70-90.

      Cambridge is one of the presses that hold out for an older, more expensive pricing model. But no one could assign this as a textbook. As one of a few books, sure, but not as a sole book.

  • Stag Party Palin

    Still can’t forget stopping in a diner in Oregon about ten years ago and seeing a box of “Spotted Owl Helper” prominently displayed. What a mess.

  • Thom

    Yea Erik! I’ll order a copy for our library.

  • Bruce Vail

    Congratulations, this a real accomplishment.

    I too will order from the library, in the hope it will increase sales by at least one copy.

  • Pingback: [BLOG] Some Tuesday links | A Bit More Detail()

  • Pingback: Angry Bear » Food for Thought, Pulp Edition, and a ‘Peace Dividend’()

It is main inner container footer text