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 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.
A really awesome book. Please don't be intimidated by the size of it. Every single page is really worth it.
If you like epic novels that while being fiction are still based on historical fact you will love this book and hate that there isn't more to read. This may well be the best book I've ever read.
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.