Spokane author Nisbet always seems to find the most interesting bits of untold NW history to write about, from explorer/naturalists David Douglas (The Collector), cartographer David Thompson, to the natural history of the Columbia River Gorge (I loved Visible Bones). In The Dreamer and the Doctor he continues that thread with the story of John Leiberg and his wife, Dr. Carrie Leiberg, in the late 1800s in northern Idaho. While John started out in search of mineral deposits from which he hoped to make a living, he became totally obsessed with the botany of the region. His forays into the wilds of N. Idaho to locate mineral deposits became more and more plant collecting expeditions. His wife, on the other hand, was a doctor, definitely in the minority as practicing physician at that time. John’s botanical work helped lay the groundwork for the formation of the Forest Service, while Carrie became an advocate for issues related to public health administration. The two of them had a profound influence on those spheres in the inland NW. A richly researched and fascinating book, the Leibergs were an amazing couple, well-worth the time to get to know. A combination of northwest history, natural history, and biography: something for everyone!
–Sue, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR