For all its natural beauty, we know Seattle is man-made too: the famous Denny Regrade, the downtown landfill that the Big Quake will liquefy. I knew the broad story of our manufactured geography but none of the details, which is exactly what Williams’s little book is wonderfully full of. Gorgeously produced by the UW Press and one of the surprise hits of the season in our store, Too High & Too Steep unearths the relentless, if often haphazard, push to make the spectacular but impractical landscape of Seattle into a major city by filling in tidal flats, carving out canals, and, in book’s strangest, most climactic tale, lopping off an entire hill. You’ll never look at the ground you walk on in the same way once you know its history.
—Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA
Too High & Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography is featured in the PNBA Holiday Catalog in independent bookstores around the region. Enjoy an interview with the author here.