Alaskana 2014

Alaska History, Vol. 29, #1, Spring 2014

Alaskana is an annotated listing of recent publications on the North featured in Alaska History, the journal of the Alaska Historical Society.

Compiled by Kathy Ward, Juneau Public Libraries and Maeghan Kearney, Alaska State Library.

Chris Allan, Arctic Citadel: A History of Exploration in the Brooks Range Region of Northern Alaska (U.S. Department of the Interior: Government Printing Office, 2013) 210 pp., free copies available: contact Greg Dixon, NPS Regional Office, Anchorage,, ISBN: 9780615818344. Illustrated with drawings, maps, and historical and contemporary photographs. Includes a bibliography.

Kevin M. Bailey, Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2013) 271 pp., hardback, $25.00, ISBN: 9780226022345. As pollock’s popularity has climbed, the fish population has plummeted. Bailey talked with fishermen, activists, politicians, and scientists who are trying to preserve both the fish species and the economy built around them. Includes a bibliography and an index.

C. B. Bernard, Chasing Alaska (Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press, An imprint of Globe Pequot Press, 2013) 280 pp., paperback, $18.95, ISBN: 9780762778461. Journalist writes about living in Alaska in 2001 and contrasts his travels and experiences with those of his relative, Captain Joe Bernard, who roamed Alaska from 1901 to 1920 in his ship, the Teddy Bear. Heartwarming footnote: Bernard traced the remains of the Teddy Bear to its final resting place and was able to salvage wood to build his own skiff. Some historical and contemporary photos.

Ray Bonnell, Interior Sketches: Ramblings around Interior Alaska Historic Sites (Fairbanks, Alaska: Pingo Press, 2013) 132 pp., paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 9780615923192. Essays (reprinted from Bonnell’s newspaper column) and pen-and-ink sketches of rapidly disappearing mining camps, villages, homesteads, and more, all accessible via the road systems of eastern interior Alaska. Hand-drawn map showing general locations included.

James Cole, Drawing on our History: Fishing Vessels of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska (Seattle: Documentary Media, 2013), 208 pp., paperback, $44.95, ISBN: 9781933245331. Detailed drawings and blueprints show the evolution of fishing vessels in the Pacific Northwest, from the early Native canoes, umiaks, and baidarkas to modern longliners, tenders, and everything in between. Also gives the history of fishing and construction techniques in the Pacific Northwest through interviews with designers, builders, and fishermen.

Carol Ruth Sheldon Coté and Barbara Sheldon Huggins, The Trail of an Extraordinary Man: Allan David Sheldon, a Biography (Akron, Ohio:, 2013) 229 pp., hardback, $34.95, ISBN: 9780615840673. Written by his grandchildren, this biography of Allan David Sheldon details his childhood and adult years. About half of the book is about his experiences in the newly created city of Nome, told through journal entries recording the daily life of a gold rush town in 1900. The Alaska-related entries stop in 1909, when he continues on with his family to Nevada.

Angela Day, Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2014) 272 pp., paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 9780874223187. Published for the twentieth-fifth anniversary of the oil spill, this book details the genesis of the disaster and examines the lingering effects, including incomplete cleanup of oil, declines in marine populations, and the adequacy of reparations to those effected. Includes bibliography and an index.

Helen Dobrowolsky and Linda Johnson, Whitehorse: An Illustrated History (Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2013) 364 pp., hardback, $50.00, ISBN: 9780991858866. Includes the formation of Canyon Mountain by tectonic convergence; archaeological data; short stories on what life would have been like 4,000, 800, and 250 years ago; accounts of the gold rush years and WWII; and descriptions of what’s happening around town in the modern day. Many black and white photos of Whitehorse past and color photos of Whitehorse present.

Russell W. Estlack, The Aleut Internments of World War II: Islanders Removed from their Homes by Japan and the United States (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company) 248 pp, softback, $45.00, ISBN: 9780786476381.

Glenn J. Farris, ed, So Far From Home: Russians in Early California (Berkeley, California: Heyday; Santa Clara, California: Santa Clara University, 2012) 352 pp., paperback, $21.95, ISBN: 978159714184. Highlights the struggles of the Russian colony of Fort Ross, which served as both a fur-hunting outpost and a granary for Russia’s Alaskan colonies in the early 1800s. Includes a bibliography and an index.

Robert Fortuine, Alaska Native Medical Center: A History, 1953-1983 (Anchorage: Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska Area Native Health Service, Indian Health Service, 2013) 272 pp, paperback, $14.00. Available from and the Alaska Native Medical Center. Reprint of 1986 version, which is no longer in print.

Lew Freedman, Bad Friday: The Great and Terrible 1964 Alaska Earthquake (Kenmore, Washington: Epicenter Press, 2013) 206 pp, softback, $15.95, ISBN: 9781935347248. Freedman has collected personal stories from people who were present during the 1964 Good Friday earthquake.

James R. Gibson, California Through Russian Eyes, 1806-1848 (Norman, Oklahoma: Arthur H. Clark Co., 2013), 508 pp., hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 9780870624216. Contains an excerpt from an account of a voyage from Unalaska to California by early Russian colonists. Includes bibliography and an index.

Jane G. Haigh, King Con: The Story of Soapy Smith (Kenai: Hillside Press, 2013) 126 pp., ISBN: 9780962753077. From Jefferson “Soapy” Smith’s beginnings as a gang leader in Denver to his year-long reign in Skagway, Haigh sketches the life of a charismatic man with decidedly sociopathic tendencies. Includes bibliography and an index.

Ernestine Hayes, Juneau (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2013) 127 pp., softcover, $21.99, ISBN: 9781467130721. This book is part of the Images of America series, which has local authors writing about their communities in order to preserve local history. The Juneau title is written by Juneau local Ernestine Hayes, writer of Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir. The many photos of people and buildings in early Juneau are supplemented with brief entries on local history.

Kim Heacox, John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire (Guildford, Connecticut: Lyons Press, 2014) 245 pp., hardback, $25.95, ISBN 9780762792429. Muir’s love affair with glaciers brought him to Alaska in 1879, at a time when America’s attitude towards the wilderness was purely commercial. Muir’s work brought changes to that attitude and laid the groundwork for future conservationists. Several pages of endnotes, a bibliography, maps, illustrations, and an index are included.

Cora Holmes, Alaska’s Wild West: The True Story of Alaska’s Range Wars in the Aleutian Islands (Unalaska: Legend Books, 2013) 416 pp., hardback, $70.00, ISBN: 9780977403696. Told mostly through letters, newspaper articles, and photographs from the time, this book details a long-running range war between the Aleutian Livestock Company and the Western Pacific Livestock Company in the Aleutian Islands from 1923 to 1935. This is the first volume, the second volume, which is forthcoming, continues the story through WWII.

Albin Johnson, Seventeen Years in Alaska: A Depiction of Life Among the Indians of Yakutat, edited and translated by Mary Ehrlander (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2014) 99 pp, softback, $20.00, ISBN: 9781602232112. Translation of a Swedish missionary’s memoirs of living among the Tlingit of Yakutat from 1889 to 1907.

Cherry Lyon Jones, More than Petticoats: Remarkable Alaska Women (Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot, 2013) 155 pp., softcover, $16.95, ISBN: 9780762774302. This is the second edition of More Than Petticoats. This version is updated with an additional two profiles of historically important Alaskan women: Etta Eugenie Schureman Jones, rural Alaska teacher and WWII POW in Japan; and Florence Barrett Willoughby, writer of Alaska-based fiction. This edition also includes a brief index.

Suzi Jones, Aaron Leggett, James Fall, Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi: The Dena’ina Way of Living (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2013) 331 pp, softback, $35.00, ISBN: 9781602232075. Interviews and first person accounts detailing the culture and history of the Dena’ina people. Many color photographs from the museum exhibit previously at the Anchorage Museum.

John D. Juriga, Bob Hines: National Wildlife Artist (Edina, Minnesota: Beavers Pond Press, 2012) 162 pp, paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 9781592984404. Bob Hines was the official artist-in-residence for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and managed their federal duck stamp competition. There is an entry detailing his journey to Alaska, after illustrating the book Alaska’s Animals and Fishes.

Sergei Kan, A Russian American Photographer in Tlingit Country: Vincent Soboleff in Alaska (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013), 272 pp., hardback, $39.95, ISBN: 9780806142906. Amateur photographer Vincent Soboleff’s photos, taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s, captured images of southeast Alaska town and village life with their mix of Tlingit, Russian, and American cultures. Sergei Kan has heavily annotated each photo, giving cultural and historical context and identifying individuals when possible. Includes index and references. (Complete collection of original glass plates are housed at the Alaska Historical Library in Juneau.)

Ann Kirschner, Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp (New York: Harper, 2013) 289 pp., hardback, $27.99, ISBN: 9780061864506 0061864501. This follows Josephine from her tempestuous upbringing as the daughter of Prussian Jewish immigrants through her nearly fifty years as common law wife to Wyatt. Following the famous shootout, she and Wyatt found their way to Nome and, from 1897 to 1901, ran a saloon (and other businesses), before escaping to warmer climes to live out the rest of their years. Extensive notes, several pages of sources, a thorough index, and a section of contemporary black and white photos round out this biography.

Janet R. Klein, Index to The Ethnography of the Tanaina by C. Osgood (Homer: Kachemak Country Publications, 2014) 21 pp., paperback, $12.00. Contact Janet Klein at to order.

Sergei Korsun with Lydia Black, translated by Priest Daniel Marshall, Herman: A Wilderness Saint: From Sarov, Russia to Kodiak, Alaska (Jordanville, New York: Holy Trinity Publications, 2013) 264 pp., paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 9780884651925. In addition to illuminating the life of Kodiak’s most-beloved Russian Orthodox priest, Korsun and Black place it in the context of the reign of Catherine the Great and the rise of the Russian-American Company. Includes bibliography and an index.

Igor Krupnik and M. A. Chlenov, Yupik Transitions: Change and Survival at Bering Strait, 1900-1960 (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2013) 391 pp., hardback, $60.00, ISBN: 9781602232167. Through oral histories, research, and fieldwork, Krupnik and Chlenov have brought us a comprehensive book covering their decades of research on the Yupik people. This volume documents the ethnohistory of the Yupik nation and the changes the Yupik have undergone to adapt to changing times. Includes detailed appendices of census data, terminology, references, and Yupik contributors.

Sara Loewen, Gaining Daylight (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2013) 140 pp., paperback, $15.95, ISBN 9781602231986. Personal essays about the seasonal fishing life in Alaska; with her husband and young son, the writer splits her year between Amook Island and Kodiak. She brings the past and present together as she contrasts her life with that of whites and Natives in the past, from pre-colonization to Russian-Native and American-Native conflicts and day-to-day life. Some family photos.

James Mackovjak, Alaska Salmon Traps (Gustavus: Cross Sound Innovations, 2013) 251 pp, softback, $24.95, ISBN: 9780988351219. Available from This well-illustrated book covers the history and controversy of salmon traps in Alaska, from their introduction for commercial use during the 1880s to their banning after statehood.

Owen Matthews, Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013) 384 pp., hardback, $28.00, ISBN: 9781620402399. Follows Rezanov, a Russian adventurer, diplomat, millionaire, and gambler, who traveled along Alaska’s coast and south as far as the Hawaiian Islands and San Francisco in an ill-fated quest to unite far-flung Russian colonies into a Russian presence in the 1800s. Some illustrations and maps and a bibliography and index.

David Meissner and Kim Richardson, Call of the Klondike: A True Gold Rush Adventure (Honesdale, Pennsylvania: Boyds Mills Press, 2014) 167 pp, hardback, $16.95, ISBN: 9781590788233. This is the story of two young Gold Rush prospectors who travel to Canada in search of gold in 1897. Told mostly through letters, diary entries, telegrams, and newspaper articles. The title is referencing Jack London, who camped near the two prospector’s cabin and based Buck from Call of the Wild after one of their dogs.

Craig Mishler, The Blind Man and the Loon: The Story of a Tale (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013) 288 pp., hardcover, $50.00, ISBN: 9780803239821. Compares and contrasts the various versions of a folk tale that is told across Alaska, through Canada, Greenland, and even down into the American Plains. Includes color and black-and-white illustrations, maps, a chart, a bibliography, and an index.

Sheila Nickerson, Harnessed to the Pole: Sledge Dogs in Service to American Explorers of the Arctic, 1853-1909 (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2014) 320 pp., paperback, $24.95, ISBN: 9781602232235. Explores the vital role of sled dogs, which provided transportation, protected from bears and wolves, and helped in navigating and hunting, but which were often abused or left behind during the quest through the Arctic for the North Pole. Includes bibliography and an index.

Nancy Elliott Sydnam, Sideways Rain (Walnut Creek, California: Hardscratch Press, 2012), 306 pp., paperback, $20.00, ISBN 9780983862826. Collected journal entries of Dr. Nancy Sydnam, who traveled the Aleutian Islands as a medical doctor from 1991 to 2009. Gives the flavor of life in Unalaska and the island chain as well as a look at the hardships of practicing medicine in remote areas. Index of names, one page of resources, and a glossary of medical terms.