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Light on the Devils

Coming of Age on the Klamath

Louise Wagenknecht

6 × 9 inches. 232 pages.

2011. ISBN 978-0-87071-611-9. Paperback, $19.95.

When Louise Wagenknecht’s family arrived in the remote logging town of Happy Camp in 1962, a boundless optimism reigned. Whites and Indians worked together in the woods and the lumber mills of northern California’s Klamath country. Logging and lumber mills, it seemed, would hold communities together forever.

But that booming prosperity would come to an end. Looking back on her teenage years spent along the Klamath River, Louise Wagenknecht recounts a vanishing way of life. She explores the dynamics of family relationships and the contradictions of being female in a western logging town in the 1960s. And she paints an evocative portrait of the landscape and her relationship with it.

Light on the Devils is a captivating memoir of place. It will appeal to general readers interested in the rural West, personal memoir, history, and natural history.

“I haven’t read anything quite like this book. The narrator is a naturalist, raised among loggers and millworkers. Her social milieu is Forest Service, and she takes an unflinching view backward at the complicity of well‐meaning government in the excesses of industrial forestry. This is not just another environmental scream. It’s intelligent and balanced. It’s unique.”
—Robin Cody, author of Ricochet River and Voyage of a Summer Sun

"Together with a beautifully narrated personal story, Light on the Devils brings us a unique and invaluable record of the US Forest Service during a time of painful transition in the Pacific Northwest."
—Mary Clearman Blew, author of This Is Not the Ivy League

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