A remote site on Idaho’s Lochsa River was once home to Civilian Conservation Corps “boys” — convicts, and World War II internees. It’s now occupied only by pines and brush. The history of this remote location off U.S. Highway 12 near Kooskia might be lost if not for Moscow historian Priscilla Wegars, who has painstakingly researched and documented its tale.In her latest nonfiction book, “As Rugged as the Terrain,” she recounts the escapes attempted by convicts, the pain of a Buddhist minister taken from his young family in New York, and young men far from home who built roads and fought fires during the Great Depression.
Wegars used original sources, photos and documents to research her book, including oral interviews with Dick Hendricks, most likely the last person alive to work at Kooskia Federal Prison Camp No. 11.
She includes information on recent archaeological digs at the site, along with appendixes of known prison camp employees and inmates. The book is annotated and contains an index.
“As Rugged as the Terrain” follows Wegar’s 2010 “Imprisoned in Paradise,” the story of the Japanese internees who lived at the camp. The new book presents additional information on that camp, as well as delving into the lives of Italian and German internees in the vicinity.
Wegars will sign copies of her book from 3-5 p.m. Friday at And Books Too, 918 Sixth St., Clarkston; and 4-6 p.m. Saturday at BookPeople, 521 S. Main St., Moscow.
All of the author’s royalties from the book’s sale will benefit the Asian American Comparative Collection, Laboratory of Anthropology and Department of Sociology/Anthropology at the University of Idaho.