Boom and Bust in the Alaska Goldfields: A Multicultural Adventure

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Overview

In this lively narrative with its numerous illustrations and photographs, Steven C. Levi captures the color and the riches of the Alaska Gold Rush and tells the stories of the larger-than-life characters who lived the adventure. The Alaska Gold Rush at the end of the 19th century was the last great fit of gold fever in North America. Men and women—including African Americans, Portuguese, Japanese, Italians, and Chinese—all rushed north. Many of these adventurers died in the harsh Arctic winters or drowned in the leaky, rotting ships that ferried them to the gold fields. The Gold Rush created the geography of modern Alaska and brought its rich natural resources and large Native population under the eye of the American government. This book, says Levi, is not intended to be an overview of the Alaska Gold Rush. Rather, it is meant to provide a myriad of glimpses into the lives of people and events of the age. This is a book of popular history. If you find it interesting, don't thank the writer; credit the 100,000 men and women who rushed north in search of the precious yellow metal a century ago.

Far to the north of the 48 contiguous states, writes Steven C. Levi, is a land shrouded with the miasma of adventure. It is a land of glaciers the size of some states and fish the size of some cities. Its history is steeped in intrigue, scoundrels abound, and things that could never occur anywhere else on earth happened here. It has everything one has come to expect of an exotic port-and more. This land is Alaska.

The Alaska Gold Rush at the end of the 19th century was the last great fit of gold fever in North America. It promised untold riches to anyone who could get there, and created a last-ditch, wild-west culture of greed and sin—a perfect haven for dreamers and scoundrels alike. Men and women—including African Americans, Portuguese, Japanese, Italians, and Chinese—all rushed north. Many of these adventurers died in the harsh Arctic winters or drowned in the leaky, rotting ships that ferried the dreamers to the gold fields.

The Gold Rush created the geography of modern Alaska. Strikes in Nome (where the gold lay on the beach and anyone could reach down and pick it up), Juneau, Fairbanks, Valdez, and Kotzebue helped put Alaska on the map and brought its rich natural resources and large Native population under the eye of the American government.

In this lively narrative with its numerous illustrations and photographs, Steven C. Levi captures the color and the riches of the Alaska Gold Rush and tells the stories of the larger-than-life characters who lived the adventure. E. T. Barnette, for example, founded his own city (Fairbanks), established his own bank (Washington Alaska), and then absconded with every dime in the vault. George Hinton Henry, the father of Alaska journalism, was run out of every town where he tried to establish a newspaper.

This book, says Levi, is not intended to be an overview of the Alaska Gold Rush. Rather, it is meant to provide a myriad of glimpses into the lives of people and events of the age. This is a book of popular history. If you find it interesting, don't thank the writer; credit the 100,000 men and women who rushed north in search of the precious yellow metal a century ago.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

". . . a well-written, entertaining survey of the early stages of gold mining in Juneau. . . [readers] will find many good stories well told, with more than enough adventure, misery, and tragedy to entertain and inform. Readers new to northern gold mining will find this broad survey a welcome introduction to a compelling set of stories of the Alaskan past."

-

Alaska History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313345449
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVEN C. LEVI is the author of Making It: Personal Survival in the Corporate World (1990), Travel Smart Alaska (1998), and Use History Like a Tool (2003).

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Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter 1 The Madness Begins 1

Chapter 2 Juneau 11

Chapter 3 The Rush North 17

Chapter 4 Booze and Bootlegging 35

Chapter 5 Skagway and Dyea 49

Chapter 6 The Valdez Stampede 65

Chapter 7 The Kotzebue Rush 77

Chapter 8 Nome 89

Chapter 9 Women and Minorities 111

Chapter 10 The Natives and the Argonauts 129

Chapter 11 The Fairbanks Boom 147

Chapter 12 Law and Order 155

Chapter 13 The Fourth Estate 177

Chapter 14 The End 189

Appendix 193

Notes 201

Bibliography 225

Index 235

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