Failing Grade: Oregon’s Higher Education System Goes Begging is a collection of two decades of witty, hard-hitting articles by The Oregonian’s chief political columnist, David Sarasohn. The columns track 20 years of cuts in funding by the Oregon legislature for Oregon’s higher educational institutions, and the concomitant dramatic decline in their quality. The appalling statistics, dismal firsthand accounts of student experiences, and alarming comparisons with the achievements of nearby states are enough to shock the Oregon public (as well as those of other states facing similar cutbacks) and spur immediate, remedial action — or so the author and his publishers hope.
Across thousands of miles, Indian tribes, environmental activists, tourism promoters, and keelboat re-enactors saw the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial as a rare opportunity. The 200th anniversary of the expedition that helped open the West arrived at a time of seismic change in the region- a time when its economy, politics, and even population were shifting sharply. For three years, journalist and historian David Sarasohn followed the planning of the Bicentennial, recording how the past was being invoked to commemorate the Lewis and Clark Expedition and talking to those whose ideas were shaping national and regional events.
Like the expedition itself, Waiting for Lewis and Clark ranges from Monticello and Washington, D.C., down the length of the Missouri, and over the Rockies to the Pacific, depicting three Wests: the past, the present, and the dreams of Westerners.
From Publishers Weekly: This exciting study dramatically re-creates a time when progressivism was a major force on the American political scene. Sarasohn refutes the longtime image of Democrats of the Progressive era as a bumbling, divided band limping behind their insurgent wing and largely passive during the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and Taft. He offers in its place a levelheaded appraisal of three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, “the man who largely created the modern Democratic Party,” a firebrand vilified by his opponents as a dangerous, wild-eyed populist. Woodrow Wilson, portrayed by some historians as “president-prime minister,” master of his party, emerges here as a shrewdly calculating politician who saw that a progressive aura was essential to his winning the White House. Yet Sarasohn (co-editor of American Negro Slavery ) finds the Wilson coalition of 1916 “proto-New Deal,” welding the old Dem o cratic alliance of urban machines and the South to Western progressives, renegade Bull Moosers, organized labor and liberal intel lectualsa coalition that reshaped the Democratic party’s attitudes and made it a force during the 1920s.