Teaching and writing proved a happy combination that was both intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying. I retired from teaching a bit earlier than I had always planned so that I could devote full time to writing and traveling, another happy union. To colleagues and friends who asked why I retired somewhat early, knowing that I enjoyed teaching immensely, I paraphrased Thoreau. I have many lives to live, and I had to be about the next one.
This is the web site of Harlan Hague, BBA, MBA, MA, PhD, writer and retired history professor. On these pages, I will talk shamelessly about my various passions, chiefly writing and travel.
Principal fields in my scholarly writing were the American West and California. My research and writing on exploration in the West is illustrated in my article on the origins of the southern overland route to California and the Indian role as guides in western exploration. I discuss my fascination with California in an article titled California Dreaming. My concern for the environment is illustrated in my article, Eden Ravished.
I combine my enthusiasms for writing and travel in freelance travel writing. My travel articles have published in the travel sections of newspapers throughout the United States and in travel magazines. I have put up a number of my travel articles here on my web site.
Harlan Hague's Books
Running from his devils, James Henry takes ship in 1850 for California, the jumping off place of the world, he says, seeking anonymity or death. There he is caught up in the desperate attempt of an ancient people to live in peace in the land of their ancestors, struggling against an invading force of Yankees who believe they have a higher use for the land. James Henry takes the side of the Yosemites, finding new meaning in the struggle and in his love for Tah-hee-nay.
A sequel of sorts to Giacomo Puccini's opera, Madama Butterfly, this is the story of the child of U.S. Navy Lt. Pinkerton and Cio-Cio-san, the lieutenant's fifteen-year-old contract bride during his brief stationing in Nagasaki. Raised in the United States, Tom learns of his Japanese mother only at the age of twenty. He is troubled and goes to Japan to search for his Japanese soul. He finds love in Kyoto's Gion, but the ruthless industrialist who had claimed the young maiko as his protege feels dishonored and vows revenge.
Home to Wyoming
A sequel to A Place for Mei Lin, winner of the 2017 gold Will Rogers Medallion Award in the romance category, Caleb and Mei Lin in the early 20th century move from Stanley Basin to Jackson Hole where they establish a ranch and seek to forge a new life. Beset by old enemies and challenges from harsh nature and locals who don’t agree with the newcomers on the future of the region, they move into an uncertain future. The book is a western and a love story that marks the waning of the Old West and the emerging, unknown New West. Available in print and ebook on Amazon.
If I Should Die
Set in New Mexico in 1847 and west Texas in 2016, this is a story about an old Texas rancher's search for an ancestor, a young American soldier during the Mexican war. John Henry joined the Army of the West to wave the flag and fight for his country. When the army entered Santa Fé, John Henry's world was turned upside down. In Santa Fé, he met Morita and fell in love. Her friends became his friends. John Henry found no enemies in Santa Fé, and he began to wonder whether he could support this unjust war against a nation that had not wronged his country. This is a love story set amidst the first widespread opposition to war in the history of the United States. If I Should Die is a continuation of the story begun in my book, Santa Fe mi casa. Available in print and ebook on Amazon.
---Finalist, Jameson Book Award
A Place for Mei Lin
Running from his devils, Caleb wanders westward, seeking anonymity or death. He lands in Idaho’s Stanley Basin where he builds a gold dredge. He is not interested in success, only occupation. But he finds new meaning in the life of a young Chinese woman whom he rescues from a brothel. He saves her life, and in the process, she saves his. He will find a place for Mei Lin. Available in print, ebook, and audiobook on Amazon.
---Winner of the 2017 gold Will Rogers Medallion Award in the romance
---Finalist, Idaho Writers Guild Competition
This is a story about a good man who loves two women. He lives the good life of a respected professor in a quiet college town on the United States west coast. He loves his wife, his cottage garden and his academic routine. He is content. But when his new Japanese graduate assistant’s mother visits her son from Japan, the professor’s world is turned upside down. Memories that he thought he had forgotten or suppressed flood back, and his tranquility vanishes. Available in print and ebook on Amazon.
An alternate history with a touch or two of science fiction, a retelling of the story of the response of the western Indians to the invasion of their lands by the American army and settlers. The tribes form a confederation, which, with the help of superior weapons supplied by a shadowy Asian people called the Celestials, is a formidable force. The Indians win this time. Available in print and ebook on Amazon.
Road to California
Originally published in Arthur H. Clark’s American Trails Series, the book is the only volume to bring together the story of the search for an overland route to California by Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans. The book has been reprinted in two paperback editions. The paper reprint showing the mounted Indians on the cover contains an index. The most recent reprint, for the general reader who does not need an index, shows three Indians on the cover. Available in print and ebook on Amazon.
Thomas O. Larkin
Written in collaboration with David J. Langum, this is a biography of Thomas O. Larkin, an American merchant and United States Consul to Mexican California. He was the chief figure in the American acquisition of California. Read a summary of Larkin's life in my article. Available in hard cover and paperback on Amazon.
---Winner of the Caroline Bancroft History Prize
Seven Ways to Die in Belize
How could a tour to exotic Belize be simple with a guide like this? Think Hercule Poirot, James Bond and Rick Steves in one body. He is ably assisted by Winnie, his young Chinese girl Friday. There is a rumor that he won her in a Bangkok card game. The guide’s considerable talents are displayed when his tour group is targeted by a terrorist group who wants to discredit the government by killing tourists. Available on Amazon in ebook and audiobook.
Santa Fé mi casa
At the opening of the war with Mexico in 1846, John Henry joins the army to wave the flag and fight greasers. But in Santa Fé, he meets Morita, and his world would never be the same again. Finding no enemies in New Mexico, John Henry questions whether he can support this war against a people who have committed no wrong against him or the United States. He is torn between conflicting passions of loyalty, justice, duty and love. The idyll ends when the army leaves Santa Fé to carry the conquest to California. John Henry longs for Morita and a life with her in the little adobe house in Santa Fé. Available in print and ebook on Amazon.
Soft Adventure Travel
My second love, after writing, is traveling. The two proved a happy combination. I traveled with my family, and I organized and escorted tours. Soft Adventure tours, I called them, since they involved experiences that were a bit different and a bit more challenging than the typical tourist experience. I have visited some sixty or seventy countries and dependencies and all of the continents except Antarctica. On purpose. My travel articles published in newspapers and travel magazines throughout the United States. This was in the salad days when newspapers had budget for freelance writing. The book is available in ebook on Amazon.