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1 hour ago, Glaciers said:

One of my favorites is Where the Sea Breaks Its Back by Corey Ford.  It’s about the journey to Alaska by Vitus Bering and Georg Steller.

 

 

If you do a quick search you will find many threads on favorite books. Here’s one.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/1183898-what-book-to-take-on-my-alaskan-cruise/

 

 


Thanks!  So many to choose from I have no idea which to try!

 

24 minutes ago, quack2 said:

Tip of the Iceberg, by Mark Adams.

 

Thanks!

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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Tisha (as told to Robert Specht)  teaching  in the Alaska Wilderness

Coming into the Country by John McPhee

Shadows on the Koyukuk, true story of Sidney Huntington as told to Jim Rearden    

Two Old Women by Velma Wallis

The End of the Road by Tom Bodett (Homer, AK)

Williwaw by Tom Bodette (YA)

Two in the Far North by Margaret E. Murie

If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende (I read this on my 21 day Alaska cruise in 2019, about the community of Haines AK)

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Another book I really enjoyed but it was more about the Gold Rush in the Yukon (Dawson City) was I Married the Klondike by Laura Beatrice Berton.  The young,  single female  teachers who went to Alaska and the Yukon to teach the local children and the hardships they endured is amazing.  She found a husband and became the mother of Pierre Berton.  This book has a forward by Robert Service

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I also really enjoyed "I Married the Klondike" by Laura Berton.  Many of her experiences mirrored those of women in gold rush communities, such as Fairbanks where I live, during the same time frame.  Her son's book, "Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush" (by Pierre Berton) is also excellent.  Pierre Berton was a great bon vivant of a character who used to visit Fairbanks periodically to do research in the Alaska and Polar Regions Department (think "archives") of the Rasmuson Library on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

 

For those interested in Alaska history I would suggest "An Alaska Anthology: Interpreting the Past" which is edited by two Alaskan historians (Stephen Haycox and Mary Mangusso).  A very nice collection of essays ranging from the time of Russian control to more modern issues.  And no, I am not Mary but she is a good friend.

 

One book I would not recommend is Michener's "Alaska."  I would particularly not recommend it if the goal is to actually learn something about Alaska.  One of the sessions at the Alaska Historical Society annual meeting in 1988 was a panel discussion about the book.  A part of that panel discussion is published in "Alaska History" (Vol 4, No. 1, Spring 1989).  I particularly enjoyed Dr. Morgan Sherwoods' comments which started with the following statement (found on page 53):  "What troubles me most about James Michener's latest blockbuster is the likelihood that his version of Alaska's history will become the common 'wisdom' for many members of the American reading public for a long time; and his version rejects much modern research, ignores large themes in the historical scholarship of Alaska, often distorts the evidence when it tries to be factural, and tortures the whole truth when it invents historical detail.  In short, I fear that Michener has muddied the history of Alaska beyond clarification for many years."

 

 

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Any book by Nick Jans, who also write for Alaska Magazine.  For mysteries any by Dana Stabenow or Sue Henry.  DVD called "Dawson City: Frozen in Time" about finding a cache of old silent films.  Also look for books about Native Alaskans and their rich tribal history.

Have a great time. Alaska is amazing!

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5 hours ago, Traveling Library said:

Any book by Nick Jans, who also write for Alaska Magazine.  For mysteries any by Dana Stabenow or Sue Henry.  DVD called "Dawson City: Frozen in Time" about finding a cache of old silent films.  Also look for books about Native Alaskans and their rich tribal history.

Have a great time. Alaska is amazing!

I was just about to post the same! Found used Stabenow and Henry books in Seattle right before my first cruise to Alaska.  I so miss the Sue Henry books.  I wish I knew what happened, we were just left hanging......

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10 minutes ago, CynCyn said:

....  Found used Stabenow and Henry books in Seattle right before my first cruise to Alaska.  I so miss the Sue Henry books.  I wish I knew what happened, we were just left hanging......

 

For those wondering about this comment, Sue Henry died in the fall of 2020.  

 

And while the Dana Stabenow and Sue Henry books are fiction they provide (or in Sue Henry's case, provided) an accurate depiction of life in Alaska. 

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14 hours ago, oaktreerb said:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Tisha (as told to Robert Specht)  teaching  in the Alaska Wilderness

Coming into the Country by John McPhee

Shadows on the Koyukuk, true story of Sidney Huntington as told to Jim Rearden    

Two Old Women by Velma Wallis

The End of the Road by Tom Bodett (Homer, AK)

Williwaw by Tom Bodette (YA)

Two in the Far North by Margaret E. Murie

If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende (I read this on my 21 day Alaska cruise in 2019, about the community of Haines AK)

 

A 21 day Alaska cruise sounds wonderful!  We're doing a 13 day cruisetour, which includes a 7 night cruise.  

 

14 hours ago, oaktreerb said:

Another book I really enjoyed but it was more about the Gold Rush in the Yukon (Dawson City) was I Married the Klondike by Laura Beatrice Berton.  The young,  single female  teachers who went to Alaska and the Yukon to teach the local children and the hardships they endured is amazing.  She found a husband and became the mother of Pierre Berton.  This book has a forward by Robert Service

 

I dismissed all books about the Gold Rush because I didn't want to focus on that.  However, being a teacher myself I would probably enjoy this book.  Does it get into their love story?  Do you learn much about Alaska?

 

12 hours ago, Northern Aurora said:

I also really enjoyed "I Married the Klondike" by Laura Berton.  Many of her experiences mirrored those of women in gold rush communities, such as Fairbanks where I live, during the same time frame.  Her son's book, "Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush" (by Pierre Berton) is also excellent.  Pierre Berton was a great bon vivant of a character who used to visit Fairbanks periodically to do research in the Alaska and Polar Regions Department (think "archives") of the Rasmuson Library on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

 

For those interested in Alaska history I would suggest "An Alaska Anthology: Interpreting the Past" which is edited by two Alaskan historians (Stephen Haycox and Mary Mangusso).  A very nice collection of essays ranging from the time of Russian control to more modern issues.  And no, I am not Mary but she is a good friend.

 

One book I would not recommend is Michener's "Alaska."  I would particularly not recommend it if the goal is to actually learn something about Alaska.  One of the sessions at the Alaska Historical Society annual meeting in 1988 was a panel discussion about the book.  A part of that panel discussion is published in "Alaska History" (Vol 4, No. 1, Spring 1989).  I particularly enjoyed Dr. Morgan Sherwoods' comments which started with the following statement (found on page 53):  "What troubles me most about James Michener's latest blockbuster is the likelihood that his version of Alaska's history will become the common 'wisdom' for many members of the American reading public for a long time; and his version rejects much modern research, ignores large themes in the historical scholarship of Alaska, often distorts the evidence when it tries to be factural, and tortures the whole truth when it invents historical detail.  In short, I fear that Michener has muddied the history of Alaska beyond clarification for many years."

 

 

 

Between the two of you, you have me wanting to read I Married the Klondike.  I have already started reading Alaska by Michener.  While I knew it was fictional, I thought it was based on actual historical facts.  Do you know any specifics of what is not factual?  I was hoping to go on the cruise knowing a bit about Alaskan history.  Do you mind if I ask, are you a historian yourself?  

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Another book I'd like to purchase is The Alaska Cruise Handbook by Joe Upton.  It was mentioned in the link Glaciers provided. I can't find it in stock in any bookstores around here, which seems odd.  Is anyone familiar with it?  Maybe it's outdated or something.  It was published in 2008.  

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20 hours ago, Northern Aurora said:

One book I would not recommend is Michener's "Alaska."  I would particularly not recommend it if the goal is to actually learn something about Alaska.  One of the sessions at the Alaska Historical Society annual meeting in 1988 was a panel discussion about the book.  A part of that panel discussion is published in "Alaska History" (Vol 4, No. 1, Spring 1989).  I particularly enjoyed Dr. Morgan Sherwoods' comments which started with the following statement (found on page 53):  "What troubles me most about James Michener's latest blockbuster is the likelihood that his version of Alaska's history will become the common 'wisdom' for many members of the American reading public for a long time; and his version rejects much modern research, ignores large themes in the historical scholarship of Alaska, often distorts the evidence when it tries to be factural, and tortures the whole truth when it invents historical detail.  In short, I fear that Michener has muddied the history of Alaska beyond clarification for many years."

 

 

I appreciate you posting this.  As I am sure you are aware, one scholar's thoughts on a piece of literature may differ from those of others.  

 

One lay reader's view on a piece of literature may also differ from those of other lay readers.  

 

Michener's works are a prime example of that.  

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9 hours ago, NCteacherlovescruising said:

 

......

 

 

I dismissed all books about the Gold Rush because I didn't want to focus on that.  However, being a teacher myself I would probably enjoy this book.  Does it get into their love story?  Do you learn much about Alaska?

 

 

Between the two of you, you have me wanting to read I Married the Klondike.  I have already started reading Alaska by Michener.  While I knew it was fictional, I thought it was based on actual historical facts.  Do you know any specifics of what is not factual?  I was hoping to go on the cruise knowing a bit about Alaskan history.  Do you mind if I ask, are you a historian yourself?  

 

 

There were a number of gold rushes in the north.  "I Married the Klondike" is set in Dawson, Yukon Territory.  The Yukon and Alaska are very similar.

 

Regarding Michener's "Alaska" instead of asking about specifics of what is not factual, it may be better to ask which specifics are factual.  I am trying to think of something.

 

While much of Michener's research team was working out of the now defunct Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka Michener himself spent considerable time at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Staff and faculty spent significant time assisting him.  While no one expected the book to be an academic tome there was significant disappointment when it was published.  

 

For example, there was a Russian American Company, but Michener's book glosses over the complex relationship between the RAC and Alaska's First Peoples.  Old, out-dated scholarship was repeated and the research team missed or ignored more recent evaluation of the Russian era by both American and Russian researchers.  

 

When he writes about the American period again old discredited accounts are offered.  For example, the questions of why the Russians were willing to sell Russian America to the US and why the US was interested in purchasing is a really interesting topic, but my recollection of the book is that the "Seward' s Folly" story is repeated.

 

More modern issues such as the statehood movement and the issues behind the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act are treated very strangely.  There are a number of distinct Alaska First Peoples, and Michener (or the research team) didn't seem to understand the nuances between them.

 

I quoted Dr. Morgan Sherwood in my first post.  He taught at the University of California Davis and had a great sense of humor.  I always wondered if that sense of humor was apparent to his students.  The first time I visited Sitka I was there on business to attend the annual Alaska Historical Society/Museums Alaska conference.  Three of us were having dinner with Morgan one evening and he had us laughing so hard it is surprising none of us choked.  In any event, Morgan thought that the best use of his copy of Michener's "Alaska" was to use it as a doorstop.  Dr. Sherwood was much more clever than I am -- I threw my hard bound copy away.

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The Alaska Cruise Handbook, a mile to mile guide by Joe Upton…..the most recent one I have is the 2012 edition.  Have you looked on Amazon?  or the travel section of. local bookstore?  I may have bought it aboard ship.  It also had a large folded up wall map that covers the cruise from US/Canada to Seward and Whittier that we put up in the stateroom with magnets to follow our route.  

 

When you get to Alaska there will be some very good book stores with Alaska theme books.  If you are a teacher pick up the paperback “Tisha” (that’s how the kids pronounced teacher).  It is described as the wonderful true love story of a young teacher in the Alaska wilderness.  This is set in the area around Eagle and Chicken in 1927.  I would consider it more of an adventure story than a love story.

10 hours ago, NCteacherlovescruising said:

Another book I'd like to purchase is The Alaska Cruise Handbook by Joe Upton.  It was mentioned in the link Glaciers provided. I can't find it in stock in any bookstores around here, which seems odd.  Is anyone familiar with it?  Maybe it's outdated or something.  It was published in 2008.  

 

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A newer fiction book is “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah.  Her book “Winter Garden” will take you from the tragedy of war in Russia to Sitka.  Kristin Hannah lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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When we cruised Alaska a few years ago, I remember A Wolf Called Romeo.   

I believe it is all true and very real to Alaska recent times.  (not history)

The Author of the book spoke and did a presentation on our sailing.

He was really great!

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I've read "Alaska".  I like Michener's books, but I don't treat them as accurate history.  

 

When I was in Israel, I mentioned his book "the Source".  My guide said he'd had a client who kept quoting it as fact.  The guide's comment was:  "Instead of using The Source as your bible, use the Bible as your source".

 

I have Kruckhaur's Into the Wild.  I'm off to Alaska next week on the Princess/Holland land tour - maybe I'll reread it now.

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The Alaska Cruise Handbook – A Mile By Mile Guide; by Joe Upton. Love this and bring it with me on every cruise (especially the huge folded map that usually gets stuck to my cabin wall).  Over 300 great photos, maps and engaging stories trace the route used by most Alaska cruises.  And if you go to his website, there are a bunch of short (3-5 minute) videos.

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On 6/9/2021 at 6:07 PM, Northern Aurora said:

I 😞  "What troubles me most about James Michener's latest blockbuster is the likelihood that his version of Alaska's history will become the common 'wisdom' for many members of the American reading public for a long time; and his version rejects much modern research, ignores large themes in the historical scholarship of Alaska, often distorts the evidence when it tries to be factural, and tortures the whole truth when it invents historical detail.  In short, I fear that Michener has muddied the history of Alaska beyond clarification for many years."

 

 

 

Michener did that for almost every semi- or sort of- historical book that he wrote.  

 

DON

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Working on the Edge by Spike Walker. When crabbing really was the deadliest catch. Current boats have a harvest limit and a window to make that harvest. Prior, there was a opening window and a total fleet harvest quota and you went fishing no matter what the weather.

 

There's a special dent in my wall where I pound my head every time someone recommends Michener.

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It's 45 years old now, but John McPhee's Coming into the Country is, in my opinion, still the gold standard for books about Alaska.  

 

Or for a terrific, off-beat fiction novel, try The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon.  This imagines an alternate history in which the State of Israel failed in 1948, resulting in a new Jewish homeland being established in SE Alaska, centered on Sitka.  It's a murder mystery that combines a cynical cop, organized crime, culture clashes between a huge incoming population and native Tlingit Indians, and many more fabulous elements, all set in the SE Alaska archipelago.  Highly recommended.

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19 minutes ago, Gardyloo said:

 

 

Or for a terrific, off-beat fiction novel, try The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon.  This imagines an alternate history in which the State of Israel failed in 1948, resulting in a new Jewish homeland being established in SE Alaska, centered on Sitka.  It's a murder mystery that combines a cynical cop, organized crime, culture clashes between a huge incoming population and native Tlingit Indians, and many more fabulous elements, all set in the SE Alaska archipelago.  Highly recommended.

I'm glad someone mentioned this.  I read it a few months ago.  I liked it, but didn't love it as much as I wanted to.

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