Alaska: Tales of Adventure from the Last Frontier

Overview

For thousands of years Alaska has called to us. The hardy souls who first answered that call endured bitter temperatures, maddening isolation, and often harrowing adventures for the privilege of living there, and many lost their lives in the process. From the earliest human explorers to Russian fur trappers, from Klondike gold seekers to today's miners and oilmen, from Alaska's native people to the millions of tourists who visit the state every year, people have come to Alaska to marvel at its beauty, rejoice in ...

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Overview

For thousands of years Alaska has called to us. The hardy souls who first answered that call endured bitter temperatures, maddening isolation, and often harrowing adventures for the privilege of living there, and many lost their lives in the process. From the earliest human explorers to Russian fur trappers, from Klondike gold seekers to today's miners and oilmen, from Alaska's native people to the millions of tourists who visit the state every year, people have come to Alaska to marvel at its beauty, rejoice in its riches, and measure themselves against its challenges. The wonder of Alaska, as well as its terrifying dangers, come to life in this anthology, featuring true adventures described by some of the best writers in the world, each hand picked by bestselling writer and Alaska aficionado Spike Walker. Alaska: Tales of Adventure from the Last Frontier will open your eyes and stir your soul as it celebrates the untamed beauty of Alaska.

Inside you will find unmatched tales of adventure by the following authors:

Spike Walker

Jack London

Larry Kaniut

Roger A. Caras

Lew Freedman

Dana Stabenow

Gary Paulsen

Jean Aspen

Ann Mariah Cook

John Muir

Washington Irving

And many more...

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Fast becoming the dean of Alaskan adventure writing, Walker (Coming Back Alive, 2001, etc.) assembles here a crackerjack collection of evocative writings from that state, spread over time and geography. The selection of well-worn material could easily have come from a commonplace book of passages-in some cases, whole stories or articles-on Alaska. A few are pure adventure and dread, such as Larry Kaniut's account of a man drowning after his legs get stuck in a mudflat. Others showcase Alaskan institutions like the Iditarod, caught best by Gary Paulsen in first-hand experience with that great, numbing race. No collection of this sort would be complete without Jack London's "To Build a Fire," perhaps the best-known Yukon story of all time, but Walker also finds room for London's fine profile of gold prospectors. "No Christian martyr ever possessed greater faith than did the pioneers of Alaska," writes London, but even he is outdone in bleakness by the excerpt from Richard Matthews's The Yukon: "They arrived to claim their reward and found that it was claimed already; there was no good ground left to stake and thousands to stake it." The saving grace of his tale is in the humor as prospector after prospector is done in by the crazy circumstances. "Hope dies hard," notes Matthews, "and in its terminal agonies it is not particular about its sustenance." Mind you, the descriptions of how to get to the gold fields run by the Klondike News in 1898 should have been enough to send prospectors right back home. The gold-rush section is certainly the strongest here, but all of it is worth reading, from Jan Aspen's fictional account of hunting to Dave Brown's dry observations on the rapacious world ofthe Trans-Alaska Pipeline, "the most interesting fiasco I have ever been allowed to participate in." A pleasure even for those who simply like the idea of Alaska, let alone pine to go there.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312275624
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/18/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 778,835
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Spike Walker has spent more than twenty seasons working as a deckhand aboard commercial fishing boats in Alaska. He has voyaged across storm-tossed seas from the ports of Kodiak in the Gulf of Alaska to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands and north, across the Bering Sea, to the edge of the polar ice cap in search of king crab, halibut, and codfish. His first book, Working on the Edge, was hailed by James Michener as "the definitive account of this peilous trade." With his books Nights of Ice and Coming Back Alive, Spike Walker's growing reputation as one of America's greatest authors of true Alaskan adventure tales has been firmly established.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction x
Living on the Edge
Too Little, Too Late - Excerpt from Nights of Ice 3
Lost and Adrift - Excerpt from Danger Stalks the Land 20
Excerpt from Dangerous Steps 28
The Iditarod
Excerpt from Winterdance 45
Excerpt from Iditarod Classics: Interviews with Libby Riddles, Rick Swenson, and Susan Butcher 54
Excerpt from Running North 66
The Great Explorers
Excerpt from Bering's Voyages 75
Excerpt from Astoria, or, Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains 87
Yukon and Mackenzie Exploration - Excerpt from The Dominion Illustrated, 1890 91
The Discovery of Glacier Bay 95
Gold Rush
1898 112
Gold Hunters of the North 122
Article from The Dyea Trail, January 19, 1898 134
Klondike Outfit List 137
Getting There: How to Go - Article from the April 1, 1898, issue of The Klondike News 140
The Dog Nuisance - Article from the Dawson Daily News, May 23, 1900 146
To Build a Fire 147
Natural Wonders
Excerpt from Monarch of Deadman Bay 165
Alexander Archipelago and the Home I Found in Alaska 178
Black Gold
Excerpt from Who Killed Alaska 193
Far Trek 205
An Arco Epitaph 208
Modern Adventurers
Males For Sale: Cheap, Hairy 217
Excerpt from Arctic Son 221
Excerpt from Goodbye, Boise ... Hello, Alaska 256
Alaskan Voices
Excerpt from Edgar Kallands 273
Excerpt from Simeon Mountain 279
Excerpt from Goodwin Semaken 284
Galena - Excerpt from Josephine Roberts, Tanana 291
Don't Laugh ... It's Not Funny!
Housekeeping in the Klondike 297
Still a Few Bugs in the System 303
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