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Polly Dyer – Seattle • Entered by Penelope Peterson on April 30, 2023

GOB Book Club

March 30, 2023 – March 30, 2023

Participants and Hours

Pre Planning hours 3
Post Admin hours 0
Activity Hours 2
Participants 1
Total Hours 5

Key Issue: Multiple apply
Activity Type: Education & Outreach (tabling, films & lectures, regional B-walks/works)
Key Partners: Polly Dyer Seattle Broads and a few Broads from other states

Short Description of Activity

For this evening’s Book Club, we chose to read, “Of Men and Mountains” by William O. Douglas. We chose to read this book because Douglas was a major figure in the environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest. Also, Douglas joined Polly Dyer, our namesake, on a hike to protest a proposed highway along the Olympic Peninsula coast.

In preparation for our meeting, I prepared a list of written questions as I always do. Here they are:
1. What do the mountains symbolize for William O. Douglas?
2. Of Men and Mountains was published in 1950. How important is this time period to the story? Did you think it was accurately portrayed?
3. How might Of Men and Mountains be a different book if Douglas were writing it today?
4. What were the main themes of the book? How were those themes brought to life?
5. What did you think of the writing style and content structure of the book?
6. Which location in the book would you most like to visit and why?
7. What was “Operation Snow Hole,” as described by Douglas in chapter XX?
8. Were there any quotes (or passages) that stood out to you? Why?
9. What did you like most about the book? What did you like the least?
10. How did the book make you feel? What emotions did it evoke?
11. Are there any books that you would compare this book to?
12. What do you think the author’s goal was in writing this book? What ideas was he trying to illustrate? What message was he attempting to send?
13. What did you learn from this book?
14. Did this book remind you of any other books that you’ve read? Describe the connection.
15. How do you think this book would have been different if written by a woman? Why?
16. What is William O. Douglas’s parting message in the last few paragraphs of this book? Do you agree with what he says? Why or why not?
17. If you could talk to the author, what burning question would you want to ask?


Fourteen Broads participated in our discussion of Douglas’s book. Most found the book to be inspiring. First, although Douglas wrote is a folksy old-fashioned style, his descriptions of the places he hiked were so vivid and memorable, he made you want to go do that same hike even though wrote about these hikes decades ago.. Second, Douglas himself was a character to be admired. Douglas has polio as a boy so he was constantly challenging his legs to get better by taking long hikes of 30 miles or so and climbing mountains just to see if he could do it. Third, Douglas wrote eloquent testimonies to the value of wilderness and society’s increasing need for it, He led public protests in favor of wilderness, and he worked tirelessly to secure stronger legal protections for the environment, coordinating with a national network of conservationists and policymakers. All these things were noted in our Book Club discussion of Douglas’ book and appreciated by our Broads.