Alaskana 2015

Alaska History, Vol. 30, #1, Spring 2015

Alaskana is an annotated listing of recent publications on the North featured in Alaska History, the journal of the Alaska Historical Society. All titles are available through the publisher,,, or your local library, unless otherwise noted.

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

James K. Barnett and David L. Nicandri, Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage (Tacoma: University of Washington Press, 2015) 429 pp., hardback, $54.95, ISBN: 9780295993997. These essays by international and interdisciplinary authors were written to complement an exhibition on Captain Cook’s voyages in the north Pacific that will be showing in the Anchorage Museum March through September of 2015.

Ashley Bowman, The Arctic Brotherhood: The Story of Alaska-Yukon’s Most Influential Order (Skagway: Lynn Canal Publishing, 2014) xix + 171 pp., paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 9780945284123. For all that it was short-lived (founded in 1899 and faded out by the end of the 1920s), the Arctic Brotherhood’s membership reached from Skagway to Nome and was responsible for the very first petitions for Alaska statehood.

Emily Carr, Sister and I in Alaska: An Illustrated Diary of Their Trip to Alert Bay, Skagway, and Sitka in 1907 (Vancouver, BC: Figure 1 Publishing, 2014) 123 pp., hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 9781927958018. Oversized reproduction of painter Emily Carr’s journal of a trip to southeast Alaska that served as a catalyst to developing her unique style. Carr’s anecdotes about life and travels in the area are accompanied by her color sketches.

Ross Coen, Fu-Go: The Curious History of Japan’s Balloon Bomb Attack on America (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2014) x + 220 pp., hard-cover, $28.95, ISBN: 9780803249660. Illuminates the little-known history of the failed fu-go, long-distance balloons equipped with incendiary devices, manufactured at the behest of the Japanese government by schoolgirls, and released to follow wind currents to the United States, including Alaska, where they were intended to create havoc and redirect American attention and resources.

Brendan Coyle, Kiska: The Japanese Occupation of an Alaska Island (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2014) 133 pp., hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 9781602232372. World War II-era black-and-white photos are contrasted with contemporary color photos of the island. Coyle writes about his stay on Kiska as he searched out and documented existing ruins and recreated life during occupation.

Kathryn C. Donahue and David C. Switzer, Steaming to the North: The First Summer Cruise of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear, Alaska and Siberia, 1886 (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2014) 126 pp., hardcover, $50.00 ISBN: 9781602232389. Logbook entries from the 1886 sailing of the Bear, charged with keeping peace, dispensing medical care, and performing rescues appear in sidebars, and chapters in this photo-rich book give overviews of both sail- and steam-powered whaling ships.

Penelope S. Easton, Learning to Like Muktuk, an Unlikely Explorer in Territorial Alaska (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2014) 184 pp., paperback, $18.95, ISBN:9780870717581. Recounts the author’s professional and personal experiences as a dietary consultant for the Alaskan Health Department and advocate for the preservation of Native food customs.

Andy Hall, Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak (New York: Dutton, 2014) 252 pp., hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 9780525954064. Hall, the son of the superintendent in the 1960s of what was then Mount McKinley National Park, examined radio communications and documents, and conductedinterviews with the survivors of a 1967 climbing expedition to Denali which killed seven climbers. The disaster was the impetus for a short-lived call to ban climbing in the park.

Charles Caldwell Hawley, A Kennecott Story: Three Mines, Four Men, and One Hundred Years, 1887-1997 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014) 369 pp., hardback, $36.95, ISBN: 9781607813699. This book details the creation of the Kennecott mining operation, giving historical context to events and the importance of copper. The author is a geologist, so there is scientific and technical information as well as historical.

J. Michael Holloway, Dreaming Bears: A Gwich’in Indian Storyteller, A Southern Doctor, A Wild Corner of Alaska (Kenmore, Washington: Epicenter Press, 2014) 207 pp., paperback, $17.95, ISBN: 9781935347309. Follows the author as he travels from the deep American South to the Gwich’in homeland for a summer of hiking and living off the land. Recounts the close friendship he formed with Gwich’in elders Johnny and Sarah Frank that led him to return to Alaska to work as an orthopedic surgeon for the Alaska Native Health Service after graduation.

Ray Hudson and Rachel Mason, Lost Villages of the Eastern Aleutians: Biorka, Kashega, Makushin (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, 2014) 353 pp., paperback, contact the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office for copies, ISBN: 9780985394575. Tells the story of three Unangax villages lost to relocation during WWII, from the first settlement to a recent visitation of the area by descendants of the original population.

Juneau Retired Teachers’ Association, Juneau Teacher Tales, 1930s-1950s (Juneau: Juneau Retired Teachers’ Association, 2014, 2 nd edition) 146 pp., paperback, $18.95 (purchase by contacting JREA at 800 F St. D3, Juneau, AK 99801), ISBN: 9780990329510. Collects biographical and historical anecdotes from Juneau’s teachers. This edition adds black-and-white photos of teachers and schools and obituaries of those teachers who had passed away after the publication of the first edition in 1993.

Sergei Kan and Steve Henrikson, Sharing our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbors (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015) 523 pp., hardback, $65.00, ISBN: 9780803240568. Many of these articles on Alaska Native history, culture, language, and repatriation were presented at the 2007 Conference of Tsimshian, Haida, and Tlingit Tribes and Clans.

Peter Metcalfe and Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, A Dangerous Idea: The Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Struggle for Indigenous Rights (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2014) 134 pp., paperback, $24.95, ISBN: 9781602232396. Gives the history of the work done by the Alaska Native Brotherhood in the years before and after statehood in securing and guarding the civil rights of Alaska Natives. Emphasizes that without this continuing struggle, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act might never have happened.

Old Iditarod Gang, Iditarod: The First Ten Years (Anchorage: Old Iditarod Gang, LLC, 2014) 424 pp., hardback, $59.95, ISBN: 9780990674801. An anthology by over a hundred contributors, from mushers to race volunteers, this coffee-table-size book is a scrapbook-style mix of personal stories about the early years of the Iditarod race.

Claudio Saunt, West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014) 283 pp., hardcover, $26.95, ISBN: 9780393240207. Explores events in the area that is now the United States but west of the origi-nal colonies in the years just before and after the Declaration of Independence. Includes a chapter on the encounters between Russian fur hunters, Aleuts, and other Native groups in a quest for “soft gold” in what would become Alaska.

Dirk H. R. Spennemann and Janet Clemens, Silent Sentinels: An Illustrated History of the Japanese Guns of the Kiska WWII Battlefield (Anchorage: U.S. National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, 2015) 24 pp., paperback, contact the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office for copies. This thin landscape publication is almost entirely made up of beautiful full-color photos of the Japanese guns left on Kiska.

Catherine Holder Spude, Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in Alaska Territory (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015) 326 pp., hardback, $24.95, ISBN: 9780806146607. About the economics and politics of prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and saloons in Skagway from the beginning of the gold rush until Prohibition in 1918.

U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Cold War in Alaska: A Resource Guide for Teachers and Students (Anchorage: U.S. National Park Service, Alaska Regional Office, National Historic Landmarks Program, 2014) 25 pp., paperback, contact NPS Historian Darrell Lewis for copies or (907) 644-3470. Targeted for fifth through seventh grades.

Patricia Ray Williams, There’s a Freedom Here: My 100 Years in Alaska (Walnut Creek, California: Hardscratch Press, 2014) 358 pp., paperback, $20.00, ISBN: 9780983862840. Williams was born in 1910, just seven years after Seward was founded, and she and her hometown grew up together. Here, she writes about her life and accompanies her stories with newspaper clippings and photos from those early years.

Alaska History, Vol. 30, #2, Fall 2015

Compiled by Maeghan Kearney, Alaska State Library

Tricia Brown, editor, The View from the Future 2017: Fifty Years after the Alaska Purchase Centennial (Juneau: State of Alaska, 2015) 240 pp., hardback, $29.95, ISBN: 9780692030219.  One hundred years after the Alaska Purchase came the Alaska Centennial Projects of 1967.  Writers and photographers throughout Alaska tell how these projects were decided on and built, reflect on the effects the projects had on their communities, and talk about projects that are still standing and in use today.

Alexis C. Bunten, So, How Long Have You Been Native? Life as an Alaska Native Tour Guide (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015) 251 pp., hardcover, $26.95, ISBN: 9780803234628.  Anecdotes of time spent as a tour guide in Sitka are balanced against an ethnographical look at the tourist industry and reasons behind the “selling” of Native culture.

Rolfe G. Buzzell, editor, Memories of Old Sunrise: Gold Mining on Alaska’s Turnagain Arm, Autobiography of Albert Weldon Morgan (Anchorage: Cook Inlet Historical Society, 2013) second edition, 104 pp., softcover, $19.99, ISBN: 9781467577601.

Bonnie Demerjian, Rock Art of Southeast Alaska (Wrangell: Stikine River Books, 2015) 72 pp., softcover, $19.95, ISBN: 9781578336050.  This book covers the types of rock art in southeast Alaska and the cultures that left them.

Donald H. Dyal, The Fleet Book of the Alaska Packers Association 1893-1945 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015) 226 pp., softcover, $44.99, ISBN: 9781499329209.  The history of the Alaska Packers Association, this book contains stories of the industry alongside a detailed list of the company’s vessels.

Ann Fienup-Riordan and Alice Rearden, Nunamta Ellamta-Ilu Ayuqucia: What Our Land and World Are Like, Lower Yukon History and Oral Traditions (Fairbanks: Calista Elders Council and Alaska Native Language Center, 2014) 656 pp., softcover, $35.99, ISBN: 9780615866338.  The Calista Elders Council, together with the communities of Alakanuk, Emmonak, Kotlik, and Nunam Iqua, have written a history of their villages and selves.

Helen Hiller Frink, Oil, Ice, and Bone: Arctic Whaler Nathaniel Ransom (Portsmouth, NH: Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC, 2015) 179 pp., hardcover, $30, ISBN: 9781931807968.  Mostly sourced from Nathaniel Ransom’s journals, this is a look into the life of a mid-nineteenth-century whaler.  Covers his fifteen years on whaling ships, including his experience with the disaster in the Arctic in 1871 that destroyed most of the fleet.

Nick Golodoff, Attu Boy: A Young Alaskan’s WWII Memoir (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2015) second edition, 100 pp., softcover, $22.95, ISBN: 9781602232495.  Previously published by the National Park Service in 2012.  A memoir of what happened to one of the only areas of Alaska to be invaded by the Japanese during WWII.

John W. Heaton, Outlaw Tales of Alaska: True Stories of the Last Frontier’s Most Infamous Crooks, Culprits, and Cutthroats (Guilford, CT: Twodot, 2015) second edition, 219 pp., softcover, $16.95, ISBN: 9781493010684.  Twelve stories of some of the more well-known outlaws around Alaska, told in a dramatic “there in the moment” style, but based on facts from historical records.  Two new entries are for Martin Severts and William Dempsey. 

Bill Howell, Alaska Beer: Liquid Gold in the Land of the Midnight Sun (Charleston, SC: American Palate, 2015) 158 pp., softcover, $21.99, ISBN: 9781626194496.  A history of beer in Alaska, covering how the gold rush and prohibition affected beer in Alaska and the history behind some of our Alaskan breweries.

W. A. Jacobs, Becoming UAA, 1954-2014: The Origins and Development of the University of Alaska Anchorage (Anchorage: University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014) 163 pp., softcover, $18.95, ISBN: 9780970284518The author is emeritus professor and administrator of the school.

M. J. Kirchhoff, The Founding of Skagway: A Klondike Story of Greed, Graft, and Misery in the Summer of 1897 (Juneau: Privately printed, 2015) 102 pp., spiral-ringed paperback, ISBN: 9780962490460.  Available from Amazon $28.95.  The story of the Moore family’s ten years living at, and departure from, what would later be known as Skagway, as told in letters, photographs, and diaries of the newly arrived people following the gold rush.

Debra Komar, The Bastard of Fort Stikine: The Hudson’s Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin Jr. (Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2015) 287 pp., softcover, $19.95, ISBN: 9780864928719.  Komar, a forensic anthropologist, used modern forensics and archival records to research a murder in 1842, one that never saw a courtroom, in order to finally solve the case.

Peter J. Marchand, Life and Times of a Big River: An Uncommon Natural History of Alaska’s Upper Yukon (Fairbanks: Snowy Owl Books, 2015) 191 pp., softcover, $22.95, ISBN: 9781602232471.  This book is one part memoir of a five-biologist expedition through the area now known as the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and two parts tour through the cataloging of the natural and cultural history of the area as required by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Elizabeth Marino, Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground: An Ethnography of Climate Change in Shishmaref, Alaska (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2015) 122 pp., softcover, $24.95, ISBN: 9781602232662.  Shishmaref is a subsistence village slowly being eroded by the sea in northwest Alaska.  Marino shows how climate change is affecting this village, from the new dangers residents face to the stresses their uncertain future places on them.

C. Margo Mowbray, Havoc Red: Surviving the Alaska-Siberia Route, 1943 (Polson, MT: Clarity Communications, 2015) 229 pp., softcover, $15.95, ISBN: 9780692380666.  Historical fiction set during WWII.  The story is of American pilots sent through the Alaska-Siberia route to reinforce Russia’s troops and fulfill a secret diplomatic mission.

Brian Murphy, 81 Days Below Zero: The Incredible Survival Story of a World War II Pilot in Alaska’s Frozen Wilderness (Boston: First Da Capo Press, 2015) 238 pp., hardback, $24.99, ISBN:  9780306823282.  Recalls the story Army Lieutenant Leon Crane, whose plane left Ladd Field before crashing in the Alaskan wilderness.

Cherie Northon and Thomas Eley, The Reports of Walter L. Goodwin Trail Blazer (Anchorage: Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, 2015) 52 pp., softcover, available from the Alaska Historical Society, $12.00.  This short book on the Iditarod Trail features Walter Goodwin’s April 1908 report to the Alaska Road Commission and a July 1911 Alaska-Yukon Magazine account of Goodwin’s surveying trip, as well as news items of the era on Goodwin and the trail.  The text is interspersed with historic photographs.

Kenneth N. Owens and Alexander Yu. Petrov, Empire Maker: Aleksandr Baranov and Russian Colonial Expansion into Alaska and Northern California (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015) 341 pp., hardcover, $50, ISBN: 9780295994598.  A biography of Aleksandr Baranov, with care to include the political and historical context of events.

Alexey Postnikov and Marvin Falk, Exploring and Mapping Alaska: The Russian America Era, 1741-1867 (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2015) 525 pp., hardcover, $75, ISBN: 9781602232518.  Map illustrations and descriptions of the travels of Russian cartographers show the early exploration of Alaska.

Hampton Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette (New York: Anchor, 2015) 480 pp., softcover, $16.95, ISBN: 9780307946911.  On the USS Jeanette’s failed 1879 voyage to discover the North Pole.  This book covers the pre-voyage preparations, the early voyage, the ship becoming trapped in ice, and the crew’s thousand-mile crossing into Siberia.

Amy Steffian, Marnie Leist, Sven Haakanson Jr., et al, Kal’unek from Karluk: Kodiak Alutiiq History and the Archaeology of the Karluk One Village Site (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2015) 383 pp., hardcover, $50, ISBN: 9781602232440.  This book describes the excavation of the Karluk One village, from the very first survey to the conservation of the artifacts and scholarly research that came of it.  Also included are essays from the volunteers, researchers, and community members.

Margaret Thomas, Picture Man: The Legacy of Southeast Alaska Photographer Shoki Kayamori (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2015) 134 pp., softcover, $26.95, ISBN: 9781602232457.  Thomas tells the story of Japan-to-Yakutat transplant Shoki Kayamori by using his own photographs to explore migrant life in Alaska pre-WWII.

Elizabeth A. Tower, Icebound Empire: Industry and Politics on the Last Frontier (Lousville, KY: Oldstone Press, 2015) third edition, 354 pp., softcover, $24.95, ISBN: 9781938462122.  Focusing on three men who were important to industry in early Alaska, George Cheever Hazelet, Stephen Birch, and Captain David Henry Jarvis, this third edition contains new map illustrations, photos, and an additional chapter on early Alaska railroad history titled “Railroad Fever in Valdez, 1898-1907.”

Suanne Unger, Qaqamiiĝux: Traditional Foods and Recipes from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands (Anchorage: Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., 2014) 381 pp., hardcover, $55, ISBN: 9780991459100.  Stories alongside recipes and nutritional information for traditional food from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

Charles Wohlforth, From the Shores of Ship Creek: Stories of Anchorage’s First 100 Years (Anchorage: Todd Communications, 2014) 128 pp., softcover, $20, ISBN: 9781578336074.  The history of Anchorage, from its indigenous Dena’ina people, to the building of the city, through two world wars and the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, all told with photos and stories of some of the individuals who made an impact on the city.