If you like to read about nature, wildlife, history, justice, science, professional/personal relationships and/or international politics, you have to read this book. You would never believe that a historical novel could be so compelling, but this book proves it from the first chapters through to the end. This is the first Michener novel I have read, and I now know why he is such a respected artist.
The vast, untamed land of Alaska is revealed in awesome majesty. Native peoples of Alaska have spent millions of lifetimes confronting the fearsome elements of destruction - the bitter winds of Mother Nature, the unlimited might of great armies of the world. In a novel that ranges from the near-forgotten past to the highly technological present, from self-defense to self-determination, here is Alaska's emotional and violent history. It is a stirring portrait of a human community living on the edge of the world, claiming a bold heritage of survival against all odds.
The book begins a billion years ago. Its first characters are the mastadon and the woolly mammoth, followed by such other settlers as the Eskimos, Athapaskans, and Russians. Vignettes of characters as varied as the Danish navigator Vitus Bering, who explored Alaska for Russia's Peter the Great, and Kendra Scott, the young Colorado teacher who taught the Eskimo children during the recent Prudhoe Bay oil boom, illustrate the colorful history of this vast and exploited land.
This is a huge departure from my normal "Mystery/Thriller" genre. We all need a little variety in our lives, as well as in our reading/listening.
I have heard a lot of praise for this book from friends, and just decided to give it a try, and see for myself. I'm glad I did! I'm only sorry that I couldn't find and unabridged tape at the time I decided to listen. I'll find one somewhere ------
Don't get confused --- This book is about Alaska.
Written in 1998, this book is true to Michener's mode of the sweeping epic, historical facts and memorable characters.T he story is about Alaska in all of its glory. You'll see Alaska from all possible angles. I found the book packed full of the richest descriptive scenes and fascinating characters.
You probably think this HAS to be a dull book - well, you're wrong! The story is an action packed novel of the peole and places of Alaska.
I don't think you'll be disappointed with this one, other than maybe not being able to find an unabridged one, but look at this as a "primer" for the unabridged one when you do find it!
The exciting high points of this story of Alaska since the American acquisition are brought vividly to life: the gold rush either over the forbidding Chilkoot Pass or up the Yukon to Dawson, Canada, then later to the Golden Beaches of Nome; the tremendous growth and exploitation of the salmon industry; the discovery of oil and its social and economic consequences; the difficult construction over permafrost of the Alcan Highway, making possible the defense of teh territory in World War II.
In a flash, Michener masterfully takes you back through time to history's most exciting eras and suspenseful events, Complete with maps and charts, these classic novals open eons before statehood, and close with life spans that easily touch our own.