Alaska: A History

Overview

The largest by far of the fifty states, Alaska is also the state of greatest mystery and diversity. And, as Claus-M. Naske and Herman E. Slotnick show in this comprehensive survey, the history of Alaska?s peoples and the development of its economy have matched the diversity of its land- and seascapes.

Alaska: A History begins by examining the region?s geography and the Native peoples who inhabited it for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. The Russians claimed...

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Overview

The largest by far of the fifty states, Alaska is also the state of greatest mystery and diversity. And, as Claus-M. Naske and Herman E. Slotnick show in this comprehensive survey, the history of Alaska’s peoples and the development of its economy have matched the diversity of its land- and seascapes.

Alaska: A History begins by examining the region’s geography and the Native peoples who inhabited it for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived. The Russians claimed northern North America by right of discovery in 1741. During their occupation of “Russian America” the region was little more than an outpost for fur hunters and traders. When the czar sold the territory to the United States in 1867, nobody knew what to do with “Seward’s Folly.”
 
Mainland America paid little attention to the new acquisition until a rush of gold seekers flooded into the Yukon Territory. In 1906 Congress granted Alaska Territory a voteless delegate and in 1912 gave it a territorial legislature. Not until 1959, however, was Alaska’s long-sought goal of statehood realized. During World War II, Alaska’s place along the great circle route from the United States to Asia firmly established its military importance, which was underscored during the Cold War. The developing military garrison brought federal money and many new residents. Then the discovery of huge oil and natural-gas deposits gave a measure of economic security to the state.
 
Alaska: A History provides a full chronological survey of the region’s and state’s history, including the precedent-setting Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, which compensated Native Americans for their losses; the effect of the oil industry and the trans-Alaska pipeline on the economy; the Exxon Valdez oil spill; and Alaska politics through the early 2000s.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Buckle your seat belt as distinguished historians Claus-M. Naske and Herman E. Slotnick take you on an Alaskan odyssey at rocket speed. Naske and Slotnick recount the journey with the accuracy of renowned historians, the intimate insights of anthropologists, and the warmth and wisdom of legendary storytellers. You will meet the courageous people who loved and settled this land, the patriots, the idealists, and the entrepreneurs, as well as the personalities, politics, power, and money that make it all happen.”—Tony Knowles, 7th Governor of Alaska (1994–2002)

“Naske and Slotnick augment the facts and figures of Alaska’s history with relevant and insightful stories. This is a must-read for people who want to understand Alaska today and the course the state is taking toward its next chapter.”—Fran Ulmer, Chair, Arctic Research Commission, and former Chancellor, University of Alaska Anchorage

Alaska: A History is not only an excellent classroom text but also an engaging history for the general reader and a valuable reference for scholars. Both readable and well researched, it represents a fine contribution to the literature of northern studies.”—Gordon Harrison, author of Alaska’s Constitution; A Citizen’s Guide

“An unmitigated triumph. . . . A book that will effectively tell Alaska’s story for some time to come.”—Alaska History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806146669
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 10/20/2014
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 520
  • Sales rank: 564,139

Meet the Author


Claus-M. Naske (1935–2014) was Professor of History at the University of Alaska. Long a resident of the state, he is the author of many works on Alaska history.

Herman E. Slotnick (1917–2002) was for many years head of the Department of History at the University of Alaska. Naske and Slotnick coauthored Alaska: A History of the 49th State.

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