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Understanding Oregon

Time:2016-12-12 21:55Shoes websites Click:

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It’s understandable that if new University of Oregon football coach Willie Taggart does any reading in the next few months, it’ll likely to be bios of recruits. His first priority, of course, is to shore up a defense that even UO President Michael Schill is dissing.

But if the fresh-from-Florida coach eventually wants to understand how different his new state is from his old — Autzen Stadium’s playing surface, for example, is, at 420 feet, higher than any point in Florida — here are eight books that will enlighten Taggart:

“Atlas of Oregon” by William Loy. Packed with beautifully designed maps, tables and graphs, it offers a contextual overview of the state in images.

“Bowerman and the Men of Oregon” by Kenny Moore. You can’t understand the UO and Eugene without understanding Bill Bowerman, the legendary track and field coach and co-founder of Nike. And Moore, the Olympian who once ran for Bowerman, knows the man better than any non-family member other than Phil Knight. Which leads to:

“Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. The Nike co-founder’s memoir will help Taggart understand the man who has bequeathed more dollars to the UO than anyone else — and who is a major reason why the Duck football team had a pedestal from which to fall.

“Sometimes a Great Notion” by Ken Kesey, a former UO wrestler. While this classic novel speaks to an Oregon now largely gone, it’s a must-read to understand the state’s land, water and climate on a soulful level. It may not rain at Autzen Stadium (very often), but a Florida transplant could be in trouble if he doesn’t make peace with precipitation.

“Fire at Eden’s Gate” by Brent Walth. This book about former Gov. Tom (“come visit but don’t stay”) McCall will help Taggart understand why the first question his neighbor asks might be: “Do you recycle?” No better book to build an understanding of, and appreciation for, the political processes that gave birth to Oregon’s eco-emphasis.

“Hiking Oregon’s History” by Bill Sullivan of Eugene. Beyond knowing hiking trails better than any Oregonian, Sullivan offers a sense of state history that’s blessedly unshackled from the lifeless date-and-event lists.

“The Oregon Desert” by E.R. Jackman and R.A. Long. Most outsiders — and far too many insiders — fail to realize that nearly half of Oregon is basically sagebrush. In this musty classic, Jackman and Long capture the desert’s haunting beauty.

“The Oregon Blue Book.” This biannual almanac would be a good read for Taggart in airport lines when short snippets of concentration will suffice. It includes lots of good state trivia, not the least of which is how similar the state motto — “She Flies With Her Own Wings”
— is to “Go Ducks!”

It’s important to know the place you live. That said, if while reading, Taggart should get a text from a cat-quick, 300-pound defensive tackle, he should answer it without hesitation.

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