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Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod

4.6 42
by Gary Paulsen

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Paulsen and his team of dogs endured snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, and hallucinations in the relentless push to go on. Map and color photographs.


Paulsen and his team of dogs endured snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, and hallucinations in the relentless push to go on. Map and color photographs.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Read for your own pleasure, recommend to the young adults you know, and excerpt to read aloud to younger students Winterdance The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod Gary Paulson's spellbinding account of his preparation for and running of the Iditarod,.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)
1140L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

GARY PAULSEN has written nearly two hundred books for young people, including the Newbery Honor Books Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room. He divides his time between a home in New Mexico and a boat on the Pacific Ocean.

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Winterdance 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book Winterdance by Gary Paulsen, Gary Paulsen runs the Iditarod. In the book I like how he talked about what he did before the race. Also I liked how he described the race and the cold wind of it. It was a book that made me keep wanting to read more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The wind was whipping at his face as he mushed the dogs through the thick snow. That is just one struggle Gary Paulsen faces in his book, WinterDance, which is about the adventures of mushing dogs. This book is about Gary’s life and how he sacrificed a lot to move to Minnesota and train for the annual dog sled race in Alaska, called the Iditarod. Gary sacrificed everything to move to Minnesota and run dogs in the long winters there. Over the course of the book, he realizes many things about himself that he never knew. He learned very much about animals and living creatures as well. He learned to be one with the dogs and one with nature. He also discovers that sled dogs are very magnificent creatures. I enjoyed this book because I love the wilderness and the adventures of running dogs. I would recommend this book to teenage boys who enjoy wilderness and adventure because it is about a man who struggles in the tough winters of Alaska.
Sawbill More than 1 year ago
“Winterdance,” what a delightful title!  It brings to mind images of sleighs cutting through powdery fluff, a bonfire surrounded by red-cheeked revelers, or even bunny rabbits dancing under a full moon. Gary Paulsen’s “Winterdance” is misnamed. His book is not about dance. It’s about violence, brutality, death and triumph despite lethal challenges, fear, and maniacal stupidity.   “Iditarod insanity” would be a better choice, or “Torture: the Iditarod.” And the best title would be “Love dogs; become a dog.” Paulsen’s “Winterdance” is a well-written tale of his foray into the world of dog-sledding--culminating in his insane Iditarod experience. He first learns how to handle a team of racing dogs. The results are hilarious and are some of the best scenes in the book. I must say that Paulsen’s wife Ruth is the most patient woman on earth, or perhaps she’s a saint. When he decided to move out of the house to live with his dogs full-time I my jaw dropped. What a wife! While living and sleeping at eye-level with his wild canines, snarling and biting like the most vicious dog, he determines to enter the famous Alaskan sled-dog race.  A virginal idiot, he plunges in where few are brave enough to enter, and by God’s grace, lots of luck, and sheer stubbornness completes the 1,112 mile race (with an extra 120 miles  added on by his ignorance) through -60 degree weather, a blizzard, and death defying crashes down mountain slopes. He eats food inedible for humans, looses a pound a day, and hallucinates through the blinding white trail. He’s tempted to join the Inuit people and never return to “civilization” again. The book is a pleasure to read. Paulsen, as many know, is a great writer, both for children and adults. The story has the feel of an unreliable narrator. Surely he’s bull s****ing us—or is he? Was all he experienced real, hyped or untrue?  Surely it is real in his mind.  And accounts written by others (although nowhere nearly as entertaining as Paulsen’s) seem to back up his wild tale. The Iditarod is a life changing adventure, both physically and mentally. Those who survive come home a different person. Paulsen’s mind was forever altered by sledding through the fierce Alaskan wilderness. He returned to “civilization” a transformed person. He had become a dog. That’s only way to survive the Iditarod.  Hardly a dance at all. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although it was interesting and a quick read, it will not be considered great literature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lou-baby More than 1 year ago
I have read this bood twice and, in time, I will read it again. I have bought several copies for friends. This is a truly inspiring book that will warm your heart. Everybody is familar the Iditirod, but few know much about it. After this, you will watch any special on TV that deals with this unique race.
IdahobookwormDT More than 1 year ago
Just like participants in the Iditorod have to stick with it, this book will reward you with humor and adventure, if you stick with it. I really enjoyed learning more about the Iditorod and all that goes into it, from reading this mini-biography by Gary Paulsen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A laugh out loud, entertaing, and gripping book. Gary Paulsen writes about the comical struggles that he faced while training for the 1,150 mile race in Alaska. He brings to life the brutal reality of the Iditarod, the magnificent beauty of Alaska, and the unique relationship that develops between man and dog. Overall an excellent book!
MsBerri More than 1 year ago
I laughed, cried, and wondered with awe as I read this book. Buy it. Read it. Now. Only problem is I keep giving away copies to friends (who also fall in love with it). Then I have to resupply. Maybe I should buy in bulk.
gingergargoyle More than 1 year ago
this is a humorous read for anyone, but if you are thinking of teaching your dog to sled or cart you really should read this book. Paulsen gives a good acct of what its like to teach dogs ... from the beginning of the lifestyle to the ultimate challenge of running that Last Great Race - the Iditirod@ Even if this is a sport you aren't sure you're interested in, you will really appreciate the non-shellaced look at running dogs ... and all that can go wrong (foxes come to mind ... giggling just thinking of that part). You have GOT to read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me start off by saying that I had to read this book for a summer reading assignment for school, so therefore it was not my choice of book. I am not the type to ordinarily pick up a book about surviving in nature, so I may not be the fairest reviewer in the world, but I thought I ought to offer my input. I found the writing in this book to be very descriptive, so kudos to the author for that. BUT-the story dragged on and on endlessly. it seemed to be just a series of life threatening events, one after another, all ending in the same fashion--the author was shaken up, somewhat injured, but managed to come out all right. I understand that this is a true story and to embellish upon the facts would be wrong, but I, personally, would have found the book far more interesting if it focused on other aspects of the Iditarod rather than just the physical obstacles and triumphs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LM13 More than 1 year ago
*spoiler alert* I read this book because of the book club I am in. I had a hard time getting through it because I felt the guy was so stupid. I was amazed he even finished the race, let alone lived. Some of the things he claims to have seen I wonder if it was not sleep deprivation playing tricks with his mind. It sounded like it would be good, but it wasn't as good as it appeared it would be. I would like to read a book about the Iditerod that is written by someone who knew what they were doing. That would be interesting. I do however admire his will and determination, I would have not tolerated a tenth of what he endured before I quit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
magnifisent book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the few books that made me laugh so hard that I had to put it down to wipe the tears away. I only wished the story could have kept on going.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing.I had to read it for school summer reading.And I thought it was going to be boring but it was so amazing.the things he did or saw.This book kept you reading ,Made you wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gary Paulsen does a wonderful job engaging and entertaining the reader. It was a book that ended much too soon. At times I found myself laughing out loud at his self-revealing mistakes and naivete, at other times I wished I could have raised my hand and been allowed to ask questions. Winterdance is not one story but many, and could be more. Wonderfully entertaining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book I really enjoyed the honesty of Gary and how he made me feel like I was there to and a novice too at that. Is he still writing? Linda
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thougth this book was a great book.It kept me reading and just wanting to know what happened. The way gary paulsen rights this book and all his books will always amaze me beacuse he writes in a way that you don't have a hard time comparing his thoughts to your thoughts.