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Scurvy, dysentery, frostbite, and starvation stalked all who dared to be in Dawson. And yet the possibilities attracted people from all walks ...
Scurvy, dysentery, frostbite, and starvation stalked all who dared to be in Dawson. And yet the possibilities attracted people from all walks of life. Gold Diggers is the remarkable story of the Klondike Gold Rush told through the lives of six very different people: the miner William Haskell; the saintly priest Father Judge; the savvy twenty-four-year-old businesswoman Belinda Mulrooney; the imperious British journalist Flora Shaw; spit-and-polish Sam Steele of the Mounties; and, most famous, the writer Jack London, who left without gold but with the stories that would make him a legend.
Brilliantly interweaving their experiences, Charlotte Gray presents a fascinating panorama of a subarctic town, drawing on letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, and stories and handsomely illustrated with more than sixty original photographs and maps.
Tracing the crossed paths of six Klondikers caught up in "the last great gold rush in history."
Among the countless dreamers, adventurers, entrepreneurs, tenderfoots, prostitutes, card sharps and con men who rushed to the northwest after news of the 1896 Klondike strike, Gray (Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention, 2006, etc.) focuses on six individuals: Bill Haskell, a miner early to the stampede who struck gold but had to suffer the drowning death of his partner; Father William Judge, the selfless Jesuit and seemingly the only Yukon dweller not obsessed with gold; Belinda Mulrooney, the brash and thoroughly ruthless shopkeeper, restaurateur, hotelier and property magnate; Jack London, who mined literary gold from his year in the Klondike; Flora Shaw, correspondent for theTimesof London, whose dispatches confirmed the strike's significant dimensions and the corruption among Canadian officials; and Sam Steele, hardy lawman amid the fray. No armchair rambler, the author has visited the territory, and this familiarity comes through in her descriptions of the beauty and terror of the landscape, her keen appreciation of the near–Arctic Circle climate and her vivid depiction then and now of Dawson City, the log-cabin town at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers, 4,000 miles from the nearest city. Relying on memoirs and letters, Gray memorably resuscitates the life of the miners: the fortuity of staking a claim, the primitive and backbreaking methods they used to extract gold from the earth, the harsh conditions under which they labored and the manifold diseases that afflicted them. Their appalling treatment of the native Han people and their desecration of the landscape were but two of the unfortunate byproducts of the gold fever that allowed a pauper to imagine becoming a millionaire overnight.
A lively, delightful reenactment of a signal era of "Klondike mythology."
Part 1 Color And Chaos
Chapter 1 Arctic Secrets, June 1896 3
Chapter 2 Bill Haskell's Dreams of Gold, 1889-1896 9
Chapter 3 Mob Justice and Wild Dogs, June-September 1896 28
Chapter 4 "Five dollars to the pan!" October 1896-April 1897 44
Chapter 5 Sourdough Success, April---May 1897 63
Part 2 Mining The Miners
Chapter 6 Father Judge's Flock, May---June 1897 83
Chapter 7 Belinda Mulrooney Stakes Her Claim, June 1897 100
Chapter 8 Jack London Catches Klondicitis, July---October 1897 119
Chapter 9 Starvation Rations, October---December 1897 140
Chapter 10 The Pioneers' Show, January---March 1898 159
Posted August 27, 2011
No text was provided for this review.