Book Discussion Kits

Book Discussion Kit Home

Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.

Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)

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Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alexie, Sherman

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
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Abundance, The

Majmudar, Amit

"Mala and Ronak are surprisingly less comfortable with their dual Indian and American roots than their parents, part of an immigrant community that has happily embraced the New World. Told that their mother is about to die, they return home to the Midwest, where Mala persuades Ronak that they should immerse themselves in Indian culture by learning to cook their mother's favorite recipes. Then Ronak hits upon the idea of capturing their experience in book and film, and all hell breaks loose."--Library Journal.

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Family Food Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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After I'm Gone

Lippman, Laura

An addictive story that explores how one man's disappearance echoes through the lives of the five women he left behind--his wife, his daughters, and his mistress. Dead is dead. Missing is gone. Now, twenty-six years later, Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over five decades. And at its center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic Felix Brewer. Felix Brewer left five women behind. Now there are four. Does at least one of them know the truth?

LibraryReads Favorite

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Awards Crime Family
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After You

Moyes, Jojo

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living? Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can't help but feel she's right back where she started. Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding--the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will's past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

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Awards Family Not so Grim
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Alan Turing

Hodges, Andrew

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This acclaimed biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life...
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Alexander Hamilton

Chernow, Ron

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow's biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today's America is the result of Hamilton's countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. "To repudiate his legacy," Chernow writes, "is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world." Chernow here recounts Hamilton's turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington's aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.

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Awards Bio & Memoir History Not so Grim Politics
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Alice Network, The

Quinn, Kate

"It's 1947 and American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a fervent belief that her missing French cousin Rose might still be alive somewhere. In 1915, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance to serve when she's recruited to work as a spy for the English. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launching them both on a mission to find the truth ... no matter where it leads"-- Provided by publisher.

LibraryReads Favorite
GoodReads Award Nominee

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Awards History International Sagas WWII
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All the Birds in the Sky

Anders, Charlie

A stunning novel about the end of the world--and the beginning of our future childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages. A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Editors' Choice
Locus Awards for Fantasy Novel
Nebula Awards for Best Novel

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Awards Sci-fi/Fantasy Underrepresented Authors
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All the Forgivenesses

Hardinger, Elizabeth

Growing up on their hardscrabble farm in rural Kentucky, fifteen-year-old Albertina "Bertie" Winslow has learned a lot from her mama, Polly. She knows how to lance a boil, make a pie crust, butcher a pig, and tend to every chore that needs doing. What she doesn't know, but is forced to reckon with all too soon, is how to look after children as a mother should ...When Polly succumbs to a long illness, Bertie takes on responsibility for her four younger siblings and their dissolute, unreliable daddy. Yet no matter how hard she tries to hold the family together, the task is overwhelming. Nine-year-old Dacia, especially, is resentful and stubborn, hinting at secrets in their mama's life. Finally, Bertie makes the only choice she can - breaking up the family for its own survival, keeping the girls with her, sending the boys off to their grown brothers, long gone from home.Ever pragmatic, Bertie marries young, grateful to find a husband willing to take on the care of her sisters, and eventually moves to the oil fields of Kansas. But marriage alone cannot resolve the grief and guilt she carries over a long-ago tragedy, or prepare her for the heartaches still to come. Only by confronting wrenching truths can she open herself to joy - and learn how to not only give, but receive, unfettered love.

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Family
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All Our Wrong Todays

Mastai, Elan

"Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and--maybe, just maybe--his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality?"-- Provided by publisher.

LibraryReads Favorite

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Not so Grim Sci-fi/Fantasy
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All the Single Ladies

Traister, Rebecca

In 2009 the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890-1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

Over the course of Traister's research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change--temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.

A New York Times Notable Book

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All Systems Red

Wells, Martha

A murderous android discovers itself in "All Systems Red", a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial intelligence. In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid -- a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth. Award Winner: Alex Award (2018)

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Sci-fi/Fantasy
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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Greenwood, Bryn

"As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself."-- From the publisher

Book of the Month Club Book of the Year
Second Place Goodreads Best Fiction of 2016

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Coming of Age Crime Family
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American Heiress, The

Goodwin, Daisy

Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts', suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage. Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora's story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James. "For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn't always buy them happiness"--Provided by publisher.

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Family History Not so Grim Society & Culture
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American Marriage, An

Jones, Tayari

A newly married couple’s lives are shattered by a wrongful imprisonment in this moving, character-driven story tackling themes of love, family, and racial injustice.

  • Women’s Prize for Fiction
  • BACALA Literary Award
  • New York Times Notable
  • ALA Notable Book
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    American Spy

    Wilkinson, Lauren

    It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War. Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant and talented, but she's also a black woman working in an all-white boys' club, and her career has stalled with routine paperwork - until she's recruited to a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, and a good American.  Inspired by true events—Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”—American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. Selected for 'Now Read This' Book Club - PBS NewsHour and the New York Times (June 2020) Nominated for the NAACP Image Award • Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

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    History
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    American War

    El Akkad, Omar

    An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle--a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself. Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike"-- Provided by publisher.

    ALA Notable Books
    LibraryReads Favorites
    New York Times Notable Books
    Oregon Book Awards: Ken Kesey Award
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    Americanah

    Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

    ...As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu--beautiful, self-assured--departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze--the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor--had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion--for their homeland and for each other--they will face the toughest decisions of their lives. Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today's globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's most powerful and astonishing novel yet.
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    Amish Grace

    Kraybill, Donald

    On October 2, 2006, Charles Roberts entered a one room Amish school in Pennsylvania and opened fire on 10 girls, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. This book explores the religious beliefs and practices that led the Amish community to forgive so quickly.
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    And the Mountains Echoed

    Hosseini, Khaled

    An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else. Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns , has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe-from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos-the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
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    Another Brooklyn

    Woodson, Jacqueline

    Poetic prose and strong, richly written characters drive this haunting coming-of-age story following a young black woman through flashbacks of her childhood in 1970s Brooklyn.

    BACALA Literary Award
    New York Times Notable

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    Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives

    Younge, Gary

    Journalist Gary Younge chronicles the stories of the lives lost on a random day in America, profiling ten victims whose deaths exemplify the statistic that on an average day in America, seven young people aged nineteen or under will be shot dead. "Gripping and eloquent yet challenging in the brutality of its subject, this important book calls for empathy and should be widely read" (Library Journal).

    J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

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    Awards Crime Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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    Anything is Possible

    Strout, Elizabeth

    Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout's place as one of America's most respected and cherished authors.

    New York Times Notable
    LibraryReads Favorite

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    Awards Family
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    Arcadia

    Groff, Lauren

    In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after. How will one born there make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live when the commune fails? With Arcadia , her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton , Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists.

    Booklist Editors' Choice
    New York Times Notable Book

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    Awards Coming of Age Family History Society & Culture
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    Art of Crash Landing, The

    DeCarlo, Melissa

    From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother's hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she's got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make. When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she's never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother's birthplace--the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery--a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here.

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    Crime Family Not so Grim
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    Art of Hearing Heartbeats, The

    Sendker, Jan-Philipp

    A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be...until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father's past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader's belief in the power of love to move mountains.

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    Family International
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    Art of Racing in the Rain, The

    Stein, Garth

    Meet Enzo, the unforgettable canine narrator of this bittersweet and transformative story of family, love, loyalty, and hope. Enzo is a philosopher with a nearly human soul, and he's gained a wealth of knowledge from hours spent in front of the TV.

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    Animals Family Not so Grim Pacific Northwest Watch It Youth
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    As Good as Gone

    Watson, Larry

    "Calvin Sidey is a cowboy of the old-school, no-guff sort--steely, hardened, with his own personal code. It's the 1960s, and he's living off the grid in a stifling trailer on the prairie when his adult son, Bill, seeks his help. A mostly absentee father, and a virtual no-show as a grandfather, Calvin nevertheless reluctantly agrees to stay with his grandchildren for a week. He decamps for his son's dark and musty basement, to the small town where he once was a mythic figure, and soon enough problems arise. Calvin only knows one way to solve a problem: the Old West way, in which scores are settled, ultimatums are issued, and your gun is always loaded. In the changing culture of the 1960s, Calvin isn't just a relic, he's a wild card and a threat." - From the publisher

    Booklist Editors' Choice

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    Awards Family History
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    Association of Small Bombs, The

    Mahajan, Karan

    After witnessing his two friends killed by a "small" bomb that detonated in a Dehli marketplace, Mansoor Ahmed becomes involved with a charismatic young activist, whose allegiances and beliefs are more changeable than he could have imagined.

    National Book Award Finalist
    New York Times Notable
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    Astoria

    Stark, Peter

    In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing. Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment's leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition. Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast--one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn--nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.