Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography by David B. Williams

December 26, 2018

Flowing and entertaining history of Seattle’s topography.

I couldn’t put this down, and I’ve come away with far more appreciation for the ground I walk, drive and occasionally bike on. Seattle’s landscape has been shaped by glaciers and wild human engineering, and it’s astonishing to me that some of the events of 1890—1920 actually took place and so dramatically altered the local landscape. Williams’ book wraps all the history, ecology, politics, and drama into a story that ranges from interesting to astounding—complete with maps and photos. I also appreciate his commentary on the mindset of the times, and why these vast projects wouldn’t happen now.

It must have been unbelievable to witness the creation of SODO and Harbor Island or the Denny regrades. I may still see Harbor Island return to Puget Sound in my lifetime.