Alaskana 2020

Alaska History, Vol. 35, #1, Spring 2020

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.

Warren Burwell and Michael Good, Alaska Shipwrecks 1750–2015 (, 2018) 740 pp., cloth, $49.95, ISBN: 9781387981144. An update to the 2015 edition, which covered shipwrecks through 2010.

Jim Christy, Rough Road to the North: A Vagabond on the Great Northern Highway (Port Townsend, Washington: Feral House, 2019) 181 pp., paper, $17.95, ISBN: 9781627310826. Throughout his life Christy traveled the Alcan Highway many times, and with this collection of stories he brings readers along for the ride, charting the highway’s history, hardships, and beauty.

Linn Clawson, Flirting with Fire, Almost a Career, Volume I, 1973–1978, 138 pp., paper, $25.00, ISBN: 9781642544077; Flirting with Fire, Almost a Career, Volume II, 1979–1984, 202 pp., paper, $30.00, ISBN: 9781645500391; The Galena Years, 1979–1984, 104 pp., paper, $10.00, ISBN: 9781948186094; No Roads to Nowhere: Learning & Teaching in Interior Alaska, 1983 to 1988, 214 pp., paper, $35.00, ISBN: 9781645502593; Everywhere & Nowhere Was Home: Living and Working in Alaska, June 1988 to July 1996, 208 pp., paper, $35.00, ISBN: 9781645506577. These five books are Clawson’s personal history of his time in Alaska as he moved from fire fighter trainee to teacher, showing changes not only in his life but in Alaska. All titles are published by The Book Patch in Bellingham, Washington, in 2019.

Monica Devine, Water Mask (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2019) 162 pp., paper, $16.95, ISBN: 9781602233720. This biography in essays shows readers how Devine has come to fit herself to her adopted land and forged connections and a sense of purpose and belonging.

Mike Dunham, Milt: The Legend, Life and Legacy of Alaska’s Most Adventurous Entrepreneur (Anchorage: Todd Communications, 2019) 192 pp., cloth, no ISBN. Describes the life of the founder of the Odom Corporation, Milton Odom, who arrived in Juneau in 1932 and by 1937 was the sole Alaska distributor for Coca-Cola products.

Cheryl Fair, Joe Quigley, Alaska Pioneer: Beyond the Gold Rush (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2020) 204 pp., paper, $39.95, ISBN: 9781476679273. Quigley left home at the age of fifteen and eventually made his way north to the Alaska Territories during the Klondike Gold Rush.

False Island Alumni Group, Memories of the False Island YACC Experience (Juneau: False Island Alumni Group, 2019) 348 pp., cloth, no ISBN. In conjunction with the Forest Service, the False Island Young Adult Conservation Corps members rebuilt CCC trails on Admiralty Island, built log shelters in Juneau and Sitka, and worked on other conservation projects throughout Southeast Alaska from 1979 to1982.

Karen Foster and I.J. Schecter, Justice for Bonnie (New York: Berkley Books, 2019) 290 pp., paper, $9.99, ISBN: 9780593100622. Bonnie Foster’s death outside of Anchorage is at first ruled a hiking accident, but through her mother’s hard work and perseverance is discovered to be a murder to cover up a rape.

Doris Hagedorn, This Side of the Past: Alaska’s Port Alsworth (Maitland, Florida: Xulon Press Elite, 2019) 90 pp., cloth, $23.99, ISBN: 9781545659236. Port Alsworth, Alaska, was named for one of the first families to settle there: Babe Alsworth, a bush pilot and missionary, and his wife, Mary, who was the town’s first postmaster.

Doris Hagedorn, This Side of the Past: Volume II: Dick and the Mission Girls (Maitland, Florida: Xulon Press Elite, 2019) 187 pp., cloth, $29.99, ISBN: 9781545665718. Based on Richard Proenneke’s papers and personal correspondence, this volume answers questions Dick was frequently asked: were the Mission Girls of Port Alsworth real? And, did they ever make it to the lake?

Roger Hansen, Masonic Clubs of the District, Territory, and State of Alaska (Big Lake: Roger Hansen, 2019) 495 pp., paper, no ISBN. Distinguishes between Masonic Lodges and Masonic Clubs, and lists the clubs that formed throughout Alaska.

Ronda Stilley Kotelchuck, Growing Up Alaskan (self-published, 2019) 164 pp., paper, $9.95, ISBN: 9781092748766. Auke Bay in the 1950s was nearly a frontier: there were no paved roads, running water, or telephones when the author’s parents moved their family from New Mexico to Alaska.

Bob Lacher. Alaska Raw (Wasilla: Arctic Nomad Press, 2019) 200 pp., paper, $16.00, ISBN: 9781578337217. Alaska-born pilot and hunter Lacher takes readers along on some of his most dangerous and adventuresome trips into the Alaska bush.

Mickey Lesley, Exploring Alaska and Western Canada with Mickey Lesley and Friends (Juneau: Hazy Island Books, 2019) 286 pp., ISBN: 9780578515854. Lesley began exploring Alaska with her friends, including Rie Munoz and Amos Burg, in the 1960s. Her travel notebooks give insight into the changes taking place in Alaska and Canada in those nearly sixty years.

Margaret F. Merritt, Roshier H. Creecy: A Black Man’s Search for Freedom and Prosperity in the Koyukuk Gold Fields of Alaska (Fairbanks: RDS Publications, 2019) 208 pp., ISBN: 9780982839232. Born in 1866 into the first generation of African Americans who were free to migrate, Creecy did just that in order to escape the Jim Crow laws of the South, first joining the Buffalo Soldiers, then travelling north to the Klondike, and finally settling in the Koyukuk area during the Gold Rush.

Craig Mishler, Kenneth Frank, Allan Hayton, Crystal Frank, Caroline Tritt-Frank, Dinjii Vadzaih Dhidlit = The Man Who Became a Caribou: Gwich’in Stories and Conversations from Alaska and the Yukon (Hanover: IPI, 2019) 463 pp., paper, $37.50, ISBN: 9780996748070. Based on a series of interviews with Gwich’in elders, this dual-language book presents stories, beliefs, and taboos as well as traditional handling and uses for caribou and an extensive anatomical naming system.

Helen Scott Henshaw Reed, Inuit Carvers of the North: Carvings from the T. Scott Henshaw Native Art Collection (Odenton, Maryland: Helen Scott Henshaw Reed, 2019) 191 pp., $39.95. Focuses on the work of Yup’ik ivory carvers from St. Lawrence Island from the past to contemporary artists as collected by T. Scott Henshaw.

Leigh Richards, Messages from Mooseville: A Year in Alaska (Houston, Texas: Oxford Street Press, 2019) 118 pp., cloth, $22.00, ISBN: 9781732995857. In 1994 the Eppston family moved from Texas to Anchorage; Richards has collected Kitty Eppston’s letters home describing her experiences in that very full year.

Robert Rude, ANCSA: Caught in the Middle (Chula Vista: Page Turner, Press and Media, 2019) 644 pp., paper, $26.99, ISBN: 9781643763378. Rude, an Alaska Native elder and writer, describes the history of Alaska and its inhabitants, and explains how the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act has left Natives in limbo, having neither the same rights given to Indian tribes in the Lower 48, nor the rights given to stockholders in other American corporations.

Monica Trickey, Yukon Oasis: The True Story of My Life in an Eskimo Village (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Yorkshire Publishing, 2019) 282 pp., paper, $14.95, ISBN: 9781948282451. Trickey was ten years old when her family relocated to Alaska in 1974, during the Trans Alaska Pipeline boom; her father drove trucks between Prudhoe Bay and Valdez, and her mother ran the Milepost Cafe in Copper Center.

Caroline Van Hemert, The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds (New York: Little, Brown Spark, 2019) 320 pp., cloth, $27.00, ISBN: 9780316414449. An ornithologist by training, Van Hemert takes a 4,000-mile, primarily human-powered wilderness journey from the Pacific to the Arctic to reinvigorate the love of nature that had led her to become a scientist.

K. Brenna Wardell, Of Moose and Me: Animal Tales from an Alaskan Childhood (Hastings, Nebraska: Corpus Callosum Press, 2019) 109 pp., paper, $15.00, ISBN: 9780999686942. Wardell reminisces about growing up in Alaska surrounded by animals both wild and domestic.

Jerry Wood, Alaska Village Missions: The First 50 Years (Bloomington, Indiana: Westbow Press, 2019) 251 pp., cloth, $33.95, ISBN: 9780880194662. Traces the story of the founding of the Alaska Village Mission and the Alaska Bible Institute in Homer by Pastor Ray Arno.

Alaska History, Vol. 35, #2, Fall 2020

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.

John Luther Adams, Silences So Deep: Music, Solitude, Alaska (New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2020) 208 pp., cloth, $26.00, ISBN: 9780374264628. Adams, a musician, composer, and environmentalist, spent forty years in Alaska inspired by his connections to the environment and the people around him to create Pulitzer prize-winning compositions.

Tricia Nuyaqik Brown and Joni Kitmiiq Spiess, Alaska Native Games and How to Play Them (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2020) 100 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9781602234185. Brown and Spiess not only teach twenty-five games played by Alaska Natives, but also write about the survival skills each game teaches those who live a traditional subsistence lifestyle in the Far North.

Jan MacKell Collins, Good Time Girls of the Pacific Northwest: A Red-Light History of Washington, Oregon, and Alaska (Guilford, Connecticut: TwoDot, 2020) 272 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9781493038091. As mining flourished in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, so did prostitution. Collins writes not only about the women who did well for themselves, finding a way out of prostitution through marriage or substantial earnings, but also about those who never escaped.

Stephen C. Dinero. Living on Thin Ice: The Gwich’in Natives of Alaska (New York: Berghahn Books, 2020) 220 pp., paper, $29.95, ISBN: 9781789208344. As technology transforms everything from transportation to communication, it influences even the ancient culture of the Gwich’in in the town of Arctic Village.

Janice Schofield Eaton, Alaska’s Wild Plants: A Guide to Alaska’s Edible and Healthful Harvest (Berkeley: Alaska Northwest Books, an imprint of West Margin Press, 2020, revised edition) 200 pp., cloth, $36.99, ISBN: 9781513262789. This classic of Alaska botany has been revised and now features a section on foraging.

James R. Gibson, ed., “Opposition on the Coast”: The Hudson’s Bay Company, American Coasters, the Russian-American Company, and Native Traders on the Northwest Coast, 1825–1846 (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 2019) 295 pp., paper, $99.00, ISBN: 9780772764416. When the Hudson’s Bay Company decided to enter the trade on the Pacific coast, it had to outmaneuver both the Russian fur traders and the New England trading vessels in order to gain access to goods sold by Native traders. This book details the company’s strategy.

Ian Hartman, Black History in the Last Frontier (Anchorage: National Park Service, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020) 208 pp., paper, ISBN: 9780996583787. Through 150 years of oral histories and historical records, Hartman documents the Black men and women who have lived and worked in Alaska as whalers, miners, business owners, and more, showing both the contributions they have made to their communities and the injustices they have suffered.

William Morgan Hopkins, A Guide to Peril Strait and Wrangell Narrows Alaska, revised ed. (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2020) 150 pp., paper $29.95, ISBN: 9781602234000. Hopkins, a now-retired boat captain, learned to pilot through Peril Strait and Wrangell Narrows directly from older pilots. In collecting these oral histories, he’s created a resource for pilots and maritime history buffs.

Katherine Keith, Epic Solitude: A Story of Survival and a Quest for Meaning in the Far North (Ashland, Oregon: Blackstone Publishing, 2020) 280 pp., cloth, $26.99, ISBN: 9781538557044. The memoir of a woman whose remote life in Alaska has brought her joy in companionship, sorrow in solitude, and now healing with a young daughter and a sled dog team.

Valentine L. Krumplis, Alcan Highway to Alaska: A Trip in 1968 During the Age of Aquarius (Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2020) 88 pp., paper, $9.22, ISBN: 9781698700489. Krumplis refers back to his diary in recounting this story of an epic road trip with a friend to Alaska, where they panned for gold and bounty-hunted wolves before heading south along the coast all the way to Mexico.

Heather Lende, Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small Town Politics (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2020) 274 pp., cloth, $25.95, ISBN: 9781616208516. After winning a seat on the city assembly in Haines, Lende gives her readers the inside scoop on small-town politics.

Hank Lentfer, Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson (Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2020) 256 pp., cloth, $24.95, ISBN: 9781680513073. A white cultural anthropologist from the Midwest, Nelson moved to Alaska and immersed himself in Native cultures, writing about the connections between humans and nature.

Chris Lundgren, Accidental Adventures: Alaska: True Tales of Ordinary People Facing Danger in the Wilderness (Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press, 2020) 223 pp., paper, $18.95, ISBN: 9781493044757. Twenty true cautionary tales of misadventure and survival in Alaska, ranging from facing off with marauding bears to swimming away from flipped canoes on icy lakes, told by the survivors themselves.

Robert W. Orttung, ed., Urban Sustainability in the Arctic: Measuring Progress in Circumpolar Cities (New York: Berghahn Books, 2020) 310 pp., cloth, $149.00, ISBN: 9781789207354. While examining the specifics of the International Standards for Urban Sustainability and their applications in the Far North, Orttung draws clear links between Arctic towns and urban sustainability in general.

Christopher Patrello, Northwest Coast and Alaska Native Art (Denver: Denver Art Museum, 2020) 100 pp., paper, $10.95, ISBN: 9781945483011. Celebrating the reopening of the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection galleries for Northwest Coast and Alaskan Native art, this full-color book tells the stories behind the artwork on display in the museum.

Richard Ravalli, Sea Otters: A History (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018) 216 pp., cloth, $45.00, ISBN: 9780803284401. Traces the history of the marine mammals whose population has boomeranged back after approaching extinction at the hands of human hunters across the globe. With mention of the fur trade in Alaska.

Harry Ritter, Alaska’s History: The People, Land, and Events of the North Country (La Vergne, Tennessee: Alaska Northwest Books, 2020, revised ed.) 154 pp., cloth, $32.99, ISBN: 9781513262734. This revised edition gives an overview of the history, people, and land of Alaska, updated to explain the effects of climate change on coastal villages, fish, and wildlife; the changes that technology has brought to Native cultures and rural areas; and the new political influences Native Alaskans are bringing to bear on local and state governments.

Robert Rude, ANCSA: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Caught in the Middle (Chula Vista, California: Page Turner, Press and Media, 2019) 644 pp., paper, $26.99, ISBN: 9781643763378. Rude, a Native Elder, details the ways in which the ANCSA has left Alaska Natives struggling for rights.

Paul Scannell, Abandoned Alaska: Copper, Gold, and Rust (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing by arrangement with Fonthill Media, LLC, 2020) 96 pp., paper, $23.99, ISBN: 9781634992176. The abrupt closure of the Kennecott copper mine in 1938 meant the many bunkhouses, dining halls, and other associated buildings scattered along the mine’s railway were abandoned practically intact. Scannell documents the buildings through photographs and travel notes.

Matthew Snader, The Last Flight of the Limo (Clam Gulch: Alaska Adventure Books, 2020) 224 pp., paper, $16.99, ISBN: 9780578593388. This is the ninth book in a series of Snader family memoirs detailing their adventures living in and traveling around Alaska starting in 2013.

Paul Starobin, A Most Wicked Conspiracy: The Last Great Swindle of the Golden Age (New York: Hatchette, 2020) 296 pp., cloth, $28.00, ISBN: 9781541742307. In 1900, after molding the politics of the new state of North Dakota to his liking, Alexander McKenzie set his sights on the Klondike Gold Rush. Starobin shows how McKenzie used his hand-picked judges to transfer gold mines in the territory to himself and what it took for mine owners to fight back.

George Wilhelm Steller, Eastbound through Siberia: Observations from the Great Northern Expedition, translated and annotated by Margritt A. Engel and Karen E. Willmore (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020) 220 pp., cloth, $78.00, ISBN: 9780253047786. Recently released from Russian archives, this is the first English translation of Steller’s journals of the trip that preceded his participation on the Great Northern Expedition with Vitus Bering. In order to join up with Bering’s expedition, Steller traveled from St. Petersburg overland through Siberia, taking notes, asking questions, and collecting specimens as he went.

Robert Vogtritter, Epic Journey: Life and Death in the Wilderness (Denver: Outskirts Press, 2020) 298 pp., paper, $19.95, ISBN: 9781977220837. Vogtritter writes about leaving his mid-west home after high school to explore the territory of Alaska for a year before returning to his family, enter college, and eventually participate in the Korean War.

Kathleen Wackrow, Field Laboratory – Brooks Lake, Alaska (Anchorage: National Park Service, 2018) 79 pp., spiral bound, no ISBN. Gives detailed information about the Field Laboratory building’s history, current condition, and recommendations for repairs and maintenance.

Kathleen Wackrow, Glacier Bay Lodge Complex Historic District: Historic Structure Report (Anchorage: National Park Service, 2018) 207 pp., spiral bound, no ISBN. Gives detailed information about the Glacier Bay Lodge, its history and current condition, and recommendations for repairs and maintenance.

Kathleen Wackrow, Patterson-McDermott Cabin Historic Structure Report (Anchorage: National Park Service, 2018) 162 pp., spiral bound, no ISBN. Gives detailed information about the Patterson-McDermott Cabin, its history and current condition, and recommendations for repairs and maintenance.