Alaskana 2018

Alaska History, Vol. 33, #1, Spring 2018

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.

Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Roads of Alaska: Driving the History of the Last Frontier. (Anchorage: Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 2017) 56 pp., softcover. Photographic essays that cover Alaska’s often unique answers to transportation needs, including the Dalton Highway, the Alaska Marine Highway, the Richardson Highway (and its roadhouses), the Seward Highway and Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, and of course, the Alaska Highway.

James K. Barnett, Captain Cook’s Final Voyage: The Untold Story from the Journals of James Burney and Henry Roberts. (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2018) 344 pp., softcover, $34.24, ISBN: 9780874223576. Two newly discovered journals from Cook’s shipmates help add details to the captain’s last voyage and final days. Added commentary from the author gives context to the story.

John Haile Cloe, Attu: The Forgotten Battle. (Anchorage: National Park Service, 2017) 198 pp., softcover, $48.00, ISBN: 9780996583732. A day-by-day examination of the WWII battle of Attu.

R. Bruce Craig, Portrait of a Prospector: Edward Schieffelin’s Own Story. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017) 136 pp., softcover, $19.95, ISBN: 9780806157733. A compilation of Edward Schiefflin’s writings, journals, and oral histories tell the story of the prospector who discovered the Tombstone Arizona silver lode. One chapter is about his adventures in Alaska in 1882-1883.

Julie Decker, North: Finding Place in Alaska. (Seattle: University of Washington Press: 2017) paperback, 304 pp., $39.95, ISBN: 9780295741840. Ruminations by writers, curators, historians, artists, and anthropologists on the many meanings of exhibitions of Alaskan art and artifacts.

Alexander Dolitsky, Old Russia in Modern America: Living Traditions of the Old Believers, 4th edition. (Juneau: Alaska-Siberia Research Center, 2017) 80 pp., hardback, $20.00, ISBN: 9780965389198. This edition expands the ethno-historical background of the Old Believers, who fled religious persecution in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and settled in parts of the United States, including Alaska.

Michael P. Dyer, “O’er the Wide and Tractless Sea”: Original Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt. (New Bedford, MA: New Bedford Whaling Museum, 2017) 327 pp., hardcover, $65.00, ISBN: 9780997516135. A coffee table art book detailing works inspired by whale hunting and created by the whalers themselves.

Miles O. Hayes and Jacqueline Michel, A Coast Beyond Compare: Coastal Geology and Ecology of Southern Alaska. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2017) 350 pp., paperback, $29.95, ISBN: 978-0981661841. Outlining and defining 11 distinct ecologies along Alaska’s 600-plus mile long southern coast, this book examines the geological forces that shaped them and the wide variety of animals and plants, both marine and terrestrial, that make them their home.

Mary Ida Henrikson, The Mystery of the Fire Trees of Southeast Alaska. (Kenmore, WA: Epicenter Press, 2017) 88 pp., softcover, $16.95, ISBN: 9781935347088. Photographs, artistic interpretations, and oral histories combine to present a possible origin of the burnt-out cedar trees of Southeast Alaska.

Daniel Lee Henry, Across the Shaman’s River: John Muir, the Tlingit Stronghold, and the Opening of the North. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2017) 285 pp., paperback, $32.95, ISBN: 9781602233294. Drawing on interviews from Tlingit elders, Muir’s journals, and historical records, the book follows Muir’s vision as an environmentalist as it collided with the lives of the Tlingit who controlled the 2.4-million-acre area known as Jilkat Aani, near present day Haines.

Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan, Trails Across Time: History of an Alaska Mountain Corridor, 2nd edition (with new stories and photos). (Chicago: Ember Press , 2017) 112 pp., softcover, $19.99, ISBN: 9780998688305. This updated edition contains new stories and photos about the history and development of the KMTA (Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm) transportation corridor.

M. J. Kirchhoff, T. J. Richardson: Alaska’s Pioneer Artist, 1884-1914. (Juneau: Alaska Cedar Press, 2017) 80 pp., softcover, $29.95, ISBN: 9780962490477. A thin biography of a well-known artist who frequently visited and painted Alaska.

William L. Lang and James V. Walker, Explorers of the Maritime Pacific Northwest: Mapping the World through Primary Documents. (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2016) 301 pp., hardcover, $108.00, ISBN: 978-1610699259. Primary source journal entries, maps, book excerpts, and drawings covering the exploration of the American west coast from the area now known as California up to what would become Alaska during the 1700 and 1800s.

Steven C. Levi, In the Right Place at the Right Time, A Biography of Grenold and Dorothy Collins. (Anchorage: Epicenter Press, 2017) 185 pp., softcover, $9.95, ISBN: 9781942078043. The biography of the Collins, two people who flew around Alaska experiencing adventure and ran a company enabling others to do so as well.

Lou Marincovich, True North: Hunting Fossils Under the Midnight Sun. (Palo Alto, CA: Bering Press, 2017) 308 pp., softcover, $12.99, ISBN: 9780998948508. Autobiography of the beginning life, 30 years spent in Alaska, and other adventures of the paleontologist who discovered the age of the Bering Strait.

Kelsey A. Mork, Historical Atlas of Seward, Alaska: Seward’s Downtown District Through Historical Images and Maps. (Seward: National Park Service, 2017) 185 pp., paperback, ISBN: 9780990725299. Through historical photographs, this documents changes through time in downtown Seward.

W. Roger Powers, R. Dale Guthrie, and John F. Hoffecker, edited by Ted Goebel, Dry Creek: Archaeology and Paleoecology of a Late Pleistocene Alaskan Hunting Camp. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2017) 330 pp., hardback, $50.00, ISBN: 9781623495381. Excavation of the Dry Creek site in the Nenana river valley ran from 1974 to 1977 and was the first location to conclusively demonstrate the presence of human settlements in Alaska during the time of the Bering Land Bridge. This book collects the research from that excavation and includes information from newer analyses.

Jaquette Ray and Kevin Maier, editors, Critical Norths: Space, Nature, Theory. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2017) 336 pp., paperback, $34.95, ISBN: 9781602233195. This collection of essays by scholars and researchers brings together disparate views of the North to show the way any given perspective about the land and its people can be used to justify particular policies, attitudes, and injustices.

Alice Reardon with Marie Meade, transcribers and translators; edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan, Qanemcit Amllertut = Many Stories to tell: Traditional Tales and Narratives from Southwestern Alaska. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press and Native Language Center, 2017) 369 pp., paperback, $39.95, ISBN: 9781602233362. A Yupik-English dual-language collection of traditional folktales and stories concerning the interactions between humans and animals.

Katherine J. Ringsmuth, At Work in the Wrangells: A Photographic History, 1895-1966. (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 2016) 236 pp., paperback, $39.00, ISBN: 9780990725268. Photos, historic documents, and family recollections inform this work surveying the lives of miners and their families as well as the lives of the Ahtna and the Upper Tanana Athabaskans living and working in the area.

Priscilla N. Russell, Naut’staarpet: Our Plants, A Kodiak Alutiiq Plantlore. (Kodiak: Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository, 2017) 181 pp., paperback, $25.00, ISBN: 9781929650118. Russell visited Kodiak Alutiiq communities in 1990 and worked alongside plant harvesters, taking note of how plants were chosen, processed, and used; here she has provided detailed information with the goal of preserving and spreading the knowledge.

Tracy Salcedo-Chourré, Historic Denali National Park and Preserve: The Stories Behind One of America’s Great Treasures. (Guildford, CT: Lyons Press, 2017) 264 pp., softcover, $16.95, ISBN: 9781493028917. 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Denali National Park. Read about the history of its name and first people, creation as a National Park, historic mountaineering, and the natural history of the region.

Marilyn Sigman, Entangled: People and Ecological Change in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2018) 250 pp., paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 9781602233485. Science facts, indigenous knowledge, and personal memoir combine in this broadly historical view of Kachemak Bay.

Chuck Smythe, Ya Ch’aagu Aan Chaatl Dusyeegi At: This Ancient Thing Used to Haul up Halibut. (Juneau: Sealaska Heritage Institute, 2018?) 79 pp., spiral bound, no price listed, ISBN: 9781946019134. Gives details of Tlingit fishing methods, including how to select wood for, and then create, a halibut hook; lists other tools needed (i.e., buoy line, anchor line, and halibut club); and describes the act of fishing for halibut from baiting the hook to detecting the halibut and then bringing it aboard.

Douglas Vandegraft, A Guide to the Notorious Bars of Alaska. (Kenmore, WA: Epicenter Press, 2017) 213 pp., softcover, $18.95, ISBN: 8781935347842. Anecdotes and information about the notable historic bars of Alaska. The revised 2nd edition has removed the eight bars that had closed since the publication of the first edition. Added are five more bars, many more historical photos and ads, and regional maps of each area.

Alaska History, Vol. 33, #2, Fall 2018

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.

Mark Adams, Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, the Last Great American Frontier (New York: Dutton, 2018) 323 pp., cloth, $28.00, ISBN: 9781101985106. Adams follows Harriman’s historic 1899 expedition along the coast of Alaska, traveling from Wrangell to the Arctic Circle on the Alaska Marine Highway. Includes many excerpts from writings by members of the Harriman expedition and photos from both the original and Adams’s own expeditions.

Chris Allan, ed., As the Old Flag Came Down: Eyewitness Accounts of the October 18, 1867 Alaska Transfer Ceremony (Fairbanks, 2018) 28 pp., no ISBN. Excerpts from personal letters, journals, and published newspaper accounts of Alaska’s transfer from Russian to American ownership.

Ann Lewis Cooper with Bob and Kitty Banner Seemann, Wings of Her Dreams: Alaska Bush & Glacier Pilot, Kitty Banner (Edmonds, Washington: Pogo Press, 2018) 285 pp., paper, $27.95, ISBN:9781880654514. One of the first women to co-found an air taxi service in Alaska, Seeman was both a commercial pilot and instructor who flew all kinds of planes, from gliders to seaplanes, in and around Talkeetna in the 1970s.

E.J.R. David, We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet: Letters to My Filipino-Athabascan Family (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018) 175 pp., paper, $24.95, ISBN: 9781438469522. David writes about his experiences growing up in a colonized land before moving to Alaska, where he now lives with his Koyukon Athabaskan family in yet another colonized land.

Ann Fienup-Riordan, ed., transcriptions and translations from the Yup’ik by Alice Rearden with Marie Meade, Yup’ik words of wisdom = Yupiit qanruyutait (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018) 282 pp., cloth, $26.95, ISBN:9781496205179. Cloth, $50.00, ISBN: 9781496204974. New edition of a bilingual book of Yup’ik “rules for right living.” A decade after its first publication, a new introduction looks at the impact the book has had.

Atz Kilcher, Son of a Midnight Land: A Memoir In Stories (Ashland, Oregon: Blackstone Publishing, 2018) 290 pp., cloth, $27.99, ISBN: 9781470860189. Born in Switzerland and raised in Homer to Swiss immigrant parents in the 1940s, Kilcher tells of his upbringing in one of Homer’s first homesteading families and his later years coming to terms with the psychological effects of his harsh upbringing on himself and his family.

Sara V. Komarnisky, Mexicans in Alaska: An Ethnography of Mobility, Place, and Transnational Life (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018) 300 pp., cloth, $60.00, ISBN: 9781496203649. Komarnisky examines families from a town in Michoacan, Mexico, who, for three generations, have moved back and forth between Acuitzio del Canje and Anchorage for work and, increasingly, because both towns feel like home.

Todd McLeish, Return of the Sea Otter: The Story of the Animal that Evaded Extinction on the Pacific Coast (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2018) 238 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9781632171375. Balances information about sea otters and their place in the ecosystem with an examination of the competing human interests that nearly wiped out the otters from California to Alaska.

William Schneider with contributions by Kevin Illingworth, Will Mayo, Natasha Singh, Thomas Alton, The Tanana Chiefs: Native Rights and Western Law (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2018) 187 pp., paper, $35.00, ISBN:9781602233447. Presents the 1915 Tanana Chiefs meeting in Fairbanks in historical context. This was the first opportunity in 48 years of American ownership of Alaska that Alaska Natives were invited to put forth their hopes, desires, and requirements within the new government structure, and the meeting is widely regarded as the first step towards gaining civil rights and recognition.

Adam Weymouth, Kings of the Yukon: One Summer Paddling Across the Far North (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2018) 288 pp., cloth, $27.00, ISBN: 9780316396707. In 2016 and 2017, Weymouth traveled 2,000 miles by kayak on the Yukon, from the Yukon Territory through Alaska to the Bering Sea, following the salmon run and tracing the ties between the salmon and the human communities that depend on them.