Speaker to Present Historical Perspective of Hanford

May 21 Event Features University of Washington Professor

By: Rosa Jimenez

John Findlay wrote the 2011 book with historian Bruce Hevly.

Historian John Findlay will present a lecture about the forces that created and shaped Hanford nuclear reservation.


Findlay, a professor of history at the University of Washington, will present “Atomic Frontier Days: Hanford and the American West” on Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, Room 117. The lecture is sponsored by WWU Humanities.


Findlay is the co-author of a book, published in 2011, of the same title. “’Atomic Frontier Days’ looks through a wider lens, telling a complex story of production, community building, politics, and environmental sensibilities,” says one reviewer. “In brilliantly structured parallel stories, the authors bridge the divisions that accompany Hanford's headlines and offer perspective on today's controversies. Influenced as much by regional culture, economics, and politics as by war, diplomacy, and environmentalism, Hanford and the Tri-Cities of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick illuminate the history of the modern American West.”


Another reviewer says the book “captures one of the most interesting and controversial places in the American West in all its surprising particularity. Technologically sophisticated, shrewd, at once analytically unflinching and generous, it belongs on the short list of books necessary to understand the West and its complicated relation to the nation."


Findlay is an expert on social and urban history, with a particular focus on the 20th century. His books include “People of Chance: Gambling in American Society from Jamestown to Las Vegas” and “Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture after 1940.” His current book project is a scholarly overview of the American West after Pearl Harbor, tentatively titled "The Mobilized West, 1941-2001."


Findlay has also written articles and chapters on such topics as Indian reservations in 19th-century California; utopianism in the American West; regional identity and literature in the Pacific Northwest; Euro-American contact with Natives in the Great Basin; world's fairs of Washington state; the nuclear West; the history of the University of Washington; and the historiography of the American West.

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