Alaskana 2019

Alaska History, Vol. 34, #1, Spring 2019

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.

James K. Barnett and Ian C. Hartman, Imagining Anchorage: The Making of America’s Northernmost Metropolis (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 488 pp., cloth, $45.00, ISBN: 9781602233669. A collection of essays by Anchorage locals and historians telling the city’s history.

Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich Jr., Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 101 pp., paper, $16.95, ISBN: 9781602233706. Peratrovich, a Tlingit woman from Southeast Alaska, spearheaded the passage of America’s first civil rights legislation, the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act in 1945, and will appear on the gold $1 coin in 2020.

Stuart Van Leer Bradley Jr., editor, Photo History of the Black 95th Engineer General Service Regiment in World War II, 2 volumes (Alexandria, VA: Railway Station Press, 2018) Vol. 1 is 74 pp., vol. 2 is 72 pp., paper, $10.00 each, v. 1 ISBN 9780000582725, v. 2 ISBN 9780999582732. Mainly photographs, including some photos of the construction of the Alcan (now the Alaska Highway) which was built during the war by this regiment.

Karen Brewster, For the Love of Freedom: Miners, Trappers, Hunting Guides, and Homesteaders, An Ethnographic Overview and Assessment, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (National Park Service, 2018) 275 pp. Through oral histories and written documentation, this book examines non-native groups living and working in the area now known as the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Alec W. Brindle Sr., Ward’s Cove: The Brindle Family in Alaska: 1912–2016 (Centralia, WA: Gorham Printing, 2017) 181 pp., paper, private printing, not for sale, no ISBN.

Frederick James Currier, An Alaskan Adventure: A Story of Finding Gold in the Far North From 1893-1903, Randy Zarnke, ed. (Fairbanks: Alaska Trappers Association, 2018) 176 pp., paper, $17.95, ISBN: 9781594338083. Currier prospected for gold on the Chena River near Fairbanks from the 1890s into the 1900s.

Douglas M. Fryer, Justice for Wards Cove (Ex Libris, 2016) 324 pp., paper, $19.99, ISBN: 9781514477083. An account of the legal battle that began in the 1970s between the Wards Cove Canneries and the cannery workers union regarding discrimination.

Ulrik Pram Gad and Jeppe Strandsbjerg, editors, The Politics of Sustainability in the Arctic: Reconfiguring Identity, Space, and Time (New York: Routledge, 2019) 261 pp., cloth, $140.00, ISBN: 9781138491830. It is often said that development in the Arctic must be sustainable; it is generally assumed that the enviroment is the key element. This text argues that other factors, including society, economy, culture, and identity must also be considered.

Alan Graham, Land Bridges: Ancient Environments, Plant Migrations, and New World Connections (Chicago: University Press, 2019) 288 pp., cloth, $150.00, paper, $50.00, ISBN: 9780226544151. This volume examines the impact of five ancient land bridges, including Beringia, and the impact they had on migrations and exchanges of micro and macro organisms.

Andrei V. Grinev, Russian Colonization of Alaska: Preconditions, Discovery, and Initial Development, 1741–1799 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018) 354 pp., cloth, $70.00, ISBN: 9781496207623. The years between 1741 and 1799 was the age of Russian colonies in Alaska; this book examines their establishment and evolution against the backdrop of Russian history.

Leland E. Hale, What Happened in Craig: Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder (Kenmore, WA : Epicenter Press, 2018) 227 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9781941890226. In 1982, a fishing vessel was set on fire near Craig with the bodies of eight people aboard, all shot dead before the fire. Hale lays out what is known, but the murders are as yet unsolved.

Joan Rawlins Husby, Living Gold: The Story of Dave and Vera Penz at Kako, Alaska (Stanwood, WA: RainSong Press, 2018) 225 pp., paper, $14.00, ISBN: 9780982168127. The story of a missionary couple who established a Christian retreat for Native Alaskans in the Yukon- Kuskokwim Delta.

Kirk R. Johnson and Ray Troll, Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline: The Travels of an Artist and a Scientist Along the Shores of the Prehistoric Pacific (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2018) 290 pp., paper, $35.95, ISBN: 9781555917432. Take a road trip with Johnson and Troll from Baja California to Northern Alaska learning from fossils about the ancient world of the Pacific coast.

Peter Johnson, A Not-So-Savage Land: The Art and Times of Frederick Whymper, 1838– 1901 (Victoria, BC: Heritage House Publishing, 2018) 192 pp., paper, $29.95, ISBN: 9781772032208. Whymper sketched scenery and routes through Alaska and British Columbia for newspapers, scientific reports, and journals.

Michael Koskey, Varpu Lotvonen, and Laurel Tyrrell, editors, Through Their Eyes: A Community History of Eagle, Circle, and Central (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2018) 195 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9781602233577. While the three towns were born during the Gold Rush, they are located in traditional Athabaskan territories; through recent oral histories and archival documents, readers gain insight into centuries of interwoven activity.

David Leuthe, The 50-Year Summer, Jacquelin Pels, editor (Walnut Creek, CA: Hardscratch Press, 2018) 383 pp., paper, $22.00, ISBN: 9780983862888. The author writes about his years spent working summers in the fisheries off the Kenai Peninsula starting in the 1950s.

James Livingston, Mary Alice Finds Love in the Yukon (Amazon Kindle, 2018) 24 pp., e-book, $.99, ASIN: B07C359P65. An account of Mary Alice Livingston’s 1897-98 trip to Alaska shortly after her trial for murder in New York.

Robert J. Losey, Robert P. Wishart, and Jan Peter Laurens Loovers, Dogs in the North: Stories of Cooperation and Co-domestication (New York: Routledge, 2018) 298 pp., cloth, $150.00, ISBN: 9781138218406. Many culures in the circumpolar region thrive in partnership with dogs; this book examines the diversity of human-canine interactions in the area.

Shana F. Loshbaugh, editor, 150 Years: Proceedings of the 2017 Kenai Peninsula History Conference (Seattle: Skookum Creek Publishing, 2018) 317 pp., paper, $29.95, ISBN: 9781941633021. A compilation of the proceedings involving over 100 researchers, residents, and historians who gathered for the Alaska purchase sesquicentennial conference.

Larry Merculieff, Libby Roderick, Sharon Shay Sloan, Sumner MacLeish, and Galina Vladi, Perspectives on Indigenous Issues: Essays on Science, Spirituality, and the Power of Words (Anchorage: Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways, 2018) 92 pp., paper, $12.00, ISBN: 9780692169308. Essays by several Native Alaskan writers on the intersection between traditional and western cultures.

Emily L. Moore, Proud Raven, Panting Wolf: Carving Alaska’s New Deal Totem Parks (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018) 288 pp., cloth, $39.93, ISBN: 9780295743936. Between 1938 and 1942, the New Deal extended to Alaska and paid Alaskan Native carvers to locate and restore deteriorating totem poles.

Amy Phillips-Chan, Nome (Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2019) 128 pp., paper, $21.99, ISBN: 9781467102919. The newest entry in the Images of America series traces the history of the city of Nome from its beginnings as a tent city during the Gold Rush to modern day.

Richard Proenneke and John B. Branson, The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke, 1986–1991: Your Life Here is an Inspiration (Donnellson, IA: Friends of Donnellson Public Library, The Richard Proenneke Museum, 2018) 490 pp., paper, $36.50, ISBN: 9781643163864. Volume 4 of Proenneke’s journals; recounts his later years in what is now Lake Clark National Park.

Kim Rich and Carol Sturgulewski, A Normal Life: A Memoir (Alaska Northwest Books, 2018) 238 pp., paper, $16.99, ISBN: 9781943328505. Continues the story of Rich’s life in Alaska as begun in Johnny’s Girl.

Carol A. Rotta, Where the Williwaws Blow: Homesteading in Alaska in the Early 1950s: A Memoir (CreateSpace, 2018) 293 pp., paper, $14.95, ISBN: 9781986398084. Homesteading on the Kenai Peninsula.

Bill Sheffield, Bill Sheffield: A Memoir, From the Great Depression to the Alaska Governor’s Mansion and Beyond (Anchorage: Susitna Publishing Co., 2018) 272 pp., cloth, $25.00, ISBN: 9781578336982. Sheffield details his struggles to succeed and thrive in Alaska.

William E. Simeone, Ahtna: The People and Their History: netseh dae’ tkughit’e’ “before us it was like this” (Ahtna, Incorporated, 2018) 224 pp., paper, $20.00, ISBN: 9781940381329. A look at the history of the Ahtna people and the ways their culture and society has changed through time and outside influences.

Thomas J. Sims, On Call in the Arctic: A Doctor’s Life in Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier (New York: Pegasus Books, 2018) 307 pp., cloth, $27.95, ISBN: 9781681778518. Instead of serving in a medical unit in Vietnam, Sims found himself assigned to be the only doctor for Nome and the thirteen villages in the Norton Sound area.

Brad Stevens, The Ship, the Saint, and the Sailor: The Long Search for the Legendary Kad’yak (Berleley: Alaska Northwest Books/Graphic Arts, 2018) 278 pp., paper, $17.99, ISBN: 9781513261379. The cargo ship, Kad’yak, sank in 1860 off the coast of Kodiak and was recovered in 2003.

Audrey Sutherland, Paddling North: A Solo Adventure Along the Inside Passage (Ventura, CA: Patagonia, 2018) 304 pp., paper, $16.95, ISBN: 9781938340758. A reissue of Sutherland’s account of her first two solo summer kayaking trips along the Alaska coast.

Dan L. Walker, Letters From Happy Valley: Memories of an Alaska Homesteader’s Son (Ember Press, 2018) 240 pp., paper, $17.99, ISBN: 9780998688329. Homesteading on the Kenai peninsula in the 1950s and 60s.

Carla Williams, Wildcat Women: Narratives of Women Breaking Ground in Alaska’s Oil and Gas Industry (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2018) 272 pp., paper, $21.95, ISBN: 9781602233546. Tells the stories of fourteen women who worked for the oil and gas industry during the oil boom, fighting prejudice and stereotypes and forging lifelong friendships.

Alaska History, Vol. 34, #2, Fall 2019

Chris Allan, ed., The American Side of the Line: Eagle City’s Origins as an Alaskan Gold Rush Town as Seen In Newspapers and Letters, 1897–1899 (Fairbanks: National Park Service, 2019) 28 pp., paper, no ISBN. From the beginning of the Gold Rush, tension existed between the Canadian government and the American goldmining population that rushed to strike it rich. Eagle City, or Eagle, was established on the border to give Americans a place to live where they would not be subject to the stringent laws the Canadians enforced for those living “over the line” in Canada.

Chris Allan, Fortune’s Distant Shores: A History of the Kotzebue Sound Gold Stampede in Alaska’s Arctic (Bettles: National Park Service, 2019) 169 pp., paper, ISBN: 9780578476636. This account uses newspapers, journals, and letters to describe the opening of the Kotzebue Sound area first by explorers, mapmakers, and whalers in the late 1700s to mid-1800s, and later by gold stampeders in the late 1800s.

Thomas L. Alton, Alaska In the Progressive Age: A Political History, 1896 to 1916 (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 224 pp., paper, $24.95, ISBN: 9781602233843. Many histories of Alaska paint the territory as exploited and neglected by its parent country, but here Alton posits that the Progressive Era in United States politics led to the widespread support of pre-state Alaska. Types of support included national representation in the form of a congressional delegate, the underwriting of the Alaska Railroad, and autonomy via the establishment of an elected legislature.

Douglas D. Anderson and Wanni W. Anderson, Life at Swift Water Place: Northwest Alaska at the Threshold of European Contact (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 400 pp., paper, $45.00, ISBN: 9781602233683. The volume integrates bio-anthropology, archaeology, oral history, and other disciplines in studying the remains of an Inupiaq village on the Kobuk River that dates from the 1700s and has yielded information about pre-contact cultures.

Alex W. Brindle, Sr., Wards Cove, The Brindle Family in Alaska: 1912–2016 (Centralia, WA: Gorham Printing, 2017) 1 volume, various pagings, private printing, no ISBN. An account by the Brindle family of the founding of the Wards Cove Cannery in Ketchikan, the Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, and several others in Southwestern Alaska.

Bathsheba Demuth, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Arctic (New York: W.W. Norton, 2019) 416 pp., cloth, $27.95, ISBN: 9780393635164. Demuth posits that the arrival of Europeans and Americans in the Arctic represented the beginning of a grand experiment involving resource control, land ownership, and long-term sustainability.

Ann Fienup-Riordan, Marie Meade, and Alice Rearden, Akulmiut Neqait / Fish and Food of the Akulmiut (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2018) 452 pp., paper, $34.95, ISBN: 9781602233867. Through interviews and oral histories with Akulmiut living in the lake country west of Bethel, this volume details the relationship between the Akulmiut, the fish they rely on, and the waters in which the fish live. In both Yup’ik and English.

Mike Gordon, Learning the Ropes: An Alaskan Memoir (Anchorage: Miracle Mile Publishing, 2019) 240 pp., cloth, $26.00, ISBN: 9781578337064. Memoir by the man who opened Chilkoot Charlie’s in Spenard during the oil boom of the 1970s.

Anjuli Grantham; Janet Clemens; Karen Hofstad; Dave Kiffer; Bob King; Howard M Kutchin; Jim Mackovjak; Sue Jensen Paulsen; Oscar Peñaranda; Patricia Roppel; Mark Sandvik; Wayne Short; Gary E Williams; Robert Yates. Tin Can Country: Southeast Alaska’s Historic Salmon Canneries (Petersburg: Clausen Memorial Museum, 2019) 223 pp., cloth, $40.00, ISBN: 9780997712902. Overview of the many canneries that existed between 1878 and 1949. Features biographies of employers and employees, survey of the canneries themselves, and a look at the many label designs throughout the years.

Amy Gulick, The Salmon Way: An Alaska State of Mind (Seattle: Mountaineer Books, 2019) 192 pp., cloth, $29.95 ISBN: 9781680512380. Gulick explores the ways in which Alaskans from all walks of life depend on salmon for their well-being. To understand the importance of supporting livable habitats for salmon to thrive, she spends time with Alaskan Native families, commercial fishers, and sports fishers.

Brian Lane Herder and Dorothy J Hwee, The Aleutians 1942–43: Struggle for the North Pacific (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2019) 96 pp., paper, $24.00, ISBN: 9781472832542. Account of the U.S. effort to liberate the Aleutians, the only pieces of American soil that fell under Japanese occupation during WWII.

Frank A. Iwen, Papa’s Alaska Stories 1953–1954: A Young Man’s Frontier Adventures (Denver: Outskirts Press, 2019) 96 pp., paper, $15.95, ISBN: 9781977200761. Iwen was a young U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “stream cop” during the 1953–54 commercial fishing season, and here he recounts his interactions with bears, fish, fishermen, and bureaucracy.

David R Klein and Karen Brewster, The Making of an Ecologist: My Career in Alaska Wildlife Management and Conservation (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 544 pp., paper, $34.95, ISBN: 9781602233911. Klein’s career as a habitat biologist and university professor are told here in two parts: oral history interviews and essays written by Klein that explain the philosophic underpinnings of his life and work.

James Mackovjack, Alaska Codfish Chronicle: A History of Alaska’s Pacific Cod Fishery (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 574 pp., paper, $29.95, ISBN: 9781602233898. Alaska cod was once caught one at a time on handlines from dories, but by the time the Atlantic cod stock was nearing depletion, Pacific fleets had been modernized and ready to take up the slack. Mackovjack dives deep into the history of the cod fishery and the politics that powered it.

Robert McCue, One Water (Pasadena, CA: Red Hen Press, 2019) 366 pp., paper, $16.95, ISBN: 9781597099073. McCue describes his life in Alaska as a self-described drifter, commercial fisherman, cab driver, wilderness guide, and now father raising his family in Fairbanks.

Kelly Rose Bale Monteleone, Uncovering Submerged Landscapes: Towards a GIS Method for Locating Submerged Archaeology in Southeast Alaska (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 2019) 120 pp., paper, $56.00, ISBN: 9781407316567. Examination of state-of-the-art methods for scanning submerged archaeological sites, including side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling, and multibeam sonar. These methods are particular to Southeast Alaska but have applications elsewhere.

Mark Obmascik, The Storm on Our Shores: One Island, Two Soldiers, and the Forgotten Battle of WWII (New York: Atria Books, 2019) 256 pp., cloth, $28.00, ISBN: 9781451678376. Forty years after the end of World War II, Obmascik chronicles the return of a diary written by a Japanese-born, California-educated Imperial Army medic who died in the Battle of Attu to the medic’s family.

Kristin Knight Pace, This Much Country: A Memoir (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2019) 327 pp., cloth, $27.00, ISBN: 9781538762400. Pace writes about making a new life for herself in Alaska as a backcountry ranger in Denali, owner of a sled dog kennel, and one of the few women to complete both the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest races.

Cathy Parker and David Thomas, Northern Lights: One Woman, Two Teams, and the Football Field that Changed Their Lives (Nashville, TN: W Publishing, 2019) 213 pp., paper, $17.99, ISBN: 9780785223801. Parker became enthralled by the story of the Whalers, Barrow High School’s football team, and felt called to help them replace their gravel football field. Here she contrasts life and football in her Florida football-mad home with that of the equally football-mad Barrow players.

Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, Then & Now: 30 Years After the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (Anchorage: Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, 2019) 40 pp., available at: Documents the improvements in emergency procedures since the oil spill, lists improvements yet to be made, and provides an overview of affected animal populations.

John Rae and William Barr, eds., John Rae, Arctic Explorer: The Unfinished Autobiography (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2018) 800 pp., $60.00, ISBN: 9781772123326. Surgeon by training and explorer by temperament, Rae mapped over 1,500 miles of coastline in the Arctic while searching for the lost Franklin Expedition. This autobiography, though unfinished, has been annotated based on Rae’s own reports and correspondence.

Anne Schultz, Tales of a Territorial Childhood: The Juneau-Douglas High School Class of ‘58 Looks Back at a Transitional Time In Alaska (Brentwood, NH: Anne Grishman Schultz, 2019) 138 pp., paper, $20.00, ISBN: 9780578402192. Members of the Juneau-Douglas High School class of 1958 write their memories of their school years before Alaska became a state.

John Taliaferro, Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West (New York: Liveright, 2019) 512 pp., cloth, $35.00, ISBN: 9781631490132. A biography of Joseph Grinnell, an ornithologist whose time in Alaska during the Gold Rush yielded both a book on gold mining and a survey on the birds of the Kotzebue area.

Satu Uusiautti and Nafisa Yeasmin, Human Migration in the Arctic: The Past, Present, and Future (Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) 261 pp., cloth, $119.99, ISBN: 9789811365607. A look at the ways in which migration in and out of the Arctic regions has shaped, and will continue to shape, the region and its indigenous peoples.

Andre N. Vachon, The Klondike, Alaska and Beyond: Pierre Alexandre Vachon, The Life and Times of a Pioneer (Ottawa: Petra Books, 2019) 474 pp., paper, $28.00, ISBN: 9781790426089. Uses archival documents, letters, and business records to trace the Vachon family in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Northern Canada, the United States, and Alaska.

Tom Walker, Wild Shots: A Photographer’s Life in Alaska (Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2019) 256 pp., paper, $19.95. ISBN: 9781680512281. Walker writes about his youth as a nature-crazy teen in Southern California, his migration north to Alaska to become a wildlife conservation officer, and his gradual transition to a world-renowned wildlife photographer.

Jonathan Waterman, Chasing Denali: The Sourdoughs, Cheechakos, and Frauds Behind the Most Unbelievable Feat in Mountaineering (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2019) 184 pp., cloth, $24.95, ISBN: 9781493035199.  In 1910 four sourdoughs made history by not only claiming to have climbed Mount Denali but to have done it in one day. Waterman, himself a Denali summiter, lays out the proof for the legend.