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.