The author, a Scotsman, arrived in Manley Hot Springs, west of Fairbanks, just before Halloween in 1987, thirsty for adventure. He had long dreamed of driving a dog team across Alaska and knew the history and literature of Arctic travel. Now, with the use of a cabin and an offer of professional advice on mushing, he had to acquire a dog team, learn how to handle and care for the animals, then travel more than 800 miles--all in one season. After acclimatizing to the weather, eight dogs and Alaskans, he started out the following March and arrived in Nome 32 days later. His trail crossed and occasionally joined that of the Iditarod Race, the famous annual dogsledding event. Awed by the landscape and people he encountered, Scott does full justice to both in this engaging travel adventure. Photos. (Sept.)
A novice from Scotland travels 800 miles by dog sled along the route of the Iditarod, the annual Alaskan dog sled race. Scott isn't trying to set any records: he is just fulfilling a lifelong dream to ``mush'' a team of sled dogs over Arctic tundra. On his journey Scott gets to know his dogs as individuals, meets many interesting characters, and treats the reader to digressions on such matters as the beaver and some painless Alaskan history. This is the best among recent polar narratives (e.g., Joseph Murphy's South to the Pole by Ski, LJ 8/90, and Paul Schurke's Bering Bridge, LJ 5/1/90) because travel writer Scott ( A Scot Goes South ) is a far better stylist. If libraries want one good contemporary Arctic adventure story, this is it. For another dog sled adventure, see also Norman D. Vaughan's With Byrd at the Bottom of the World , reviewed in this issue, p. 236.--Ed.-- Jonathan F. Husband, Framingham State Coll. Lib., Mass.
School Library Journal
YA-- Throughout this adventure, both the history and geography of the Land of the Midnight Sun are intertwined with Scott's personal account of his own modified Iditarod. With some good luck mixed with misfortune, he forged on to achieve his goal and take his newly acquired team across Alaska. Readers will find his story informative and entertaining.