The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush

The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780295983295
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Publication date: 10/01/2003
Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books Series
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kathryn Morse is assistant professor of history at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Table of Contents

Foreword by William CrononAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: On the Chilkoot1/The Culture of Gold2/The Nature of the Journey3/The Culture of the Journey4/The Nature of Gold Mining5/The Culture of Gold Mining6/The Nature and Culture of Food7/The Nature and Culture of SeattleConclusion: Nature, Culture, and ValueNotesSelected BibliographyIndex

What People are Saying About This

Richard White

This environmental history of a gold rush is as surprising, revealing, and complicated as gold itself. I know of nothing quite like this wry and clever book.

William McKibben

If you're only allowed one book about the Klondike Gold Rush, I suppose it has to be Jack London. But this volume definitely comes next—-a wonderfully compelling account of what it actually felt like to pack up and head to the Yukon. Scholars will find it provocative and deep, but all readers will find it absorbing, touching, funny—-a truly revealing window on our national history and our national character.

William Cronon

Morse demonstrates the dramatic environmental damage created by the gold rush, but she also helps us understand the very real accommodations that miners had to make if they hoped to survive in these far northern landscapes. . . . She is a superb storyteller with a wry sense of humor, a flair for the quirky detail and the revealing anecdote, and a keen appreciation for the tragicomic underside of this famous event.

Susan Lee Johnson

The Nature of Gold follows environmental history's prescription to examine how people know nature through labor. But this is no myopic study of gold seekers trudging up Chilkoot Pass and then lighting the fires that thawed the frozen earth for mining. Kathryn Morse recognizes how profoundly the economic and political culture of the 1890s shaped the rush for gold in Alaska and the Yukon. And she details the varieties of interconnected human and animal labor that sustained the Klondike rush, from the Native peoples who hauled supplies over the pass, to the woodcutters who provided the fuel for steamboats, to the packhorses and sled dogs who moved gods from place to place, to the local fishers and hunters and distant farmhands and meatpackers who kept the miners and their beasts fed. The Nature of Gold effectively and seamlessly blends both older and newer environmental history methodologies, and does so in an eminently accessible and compelling prose style.

From the Publisher

"Morse demonstrates the dramatic environmental damage created by the gold rush, but she also helps us understand the very real accommodations that miners had to make if they hoped to survive in these far northern landscapes. . . . She is a superb storyteller with a wry sense of humor, a flair for the quirky detail and the revealing anecdote, and a keen appreciation for the tragicomic underside of this famous event."—William Cronon, from the Foreword

"This environmental history of a gold rush is as surprising, revealing, and complicated as gold itself. I know of nothing quite like this wry and clever book."—Richard White

"If you're only allowed one book about the Klondike Gold Rush, I suppose it has to be Jack London. But this volume definitely comes next—-a wonderfully compelling account of what it actually felt like to pack up and head to the Yukon. Scholars will find it provocative and deep, but all readers will find it absorbing, touching, funny—-a truly revealing window on our national history and our national character."—William McKibben

"The Nature of Gold follows environmental history's prescription to examine how people know nature through labor. But this is no myopic study of gold seekers trudging up Chilkoot Pass and then lighting the fires that thawed the frozen earth for mining. Kathryn Morse recognizes how profoundly the economic and political culture of the 1890s shaped the rush for gold in Alaska and the Yukon. And she details the varieties of interconnected human and animal labor that sustained the Klondike rush, from the Native peoples who hauled supplies over the pass, to the woodcutters who provided the fuel for steamboats, to the packhorses and sled dogs who moved gods from place to place, to the local fishers and hunters and distant farmhands and meatpackers who kept the miners and their beasts fed. The Nature of Gold effectively and seamlessly blends both older and newer environmental history methodologies, and does so in an eminently accessible and compelling prose style."—Susan Lee Johnson, University of Wisconsin—Madison

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