A history of Alaska, from prehistory to the present. The first chapter is geology/geography, and boring to me, but set the stage for what happens when prehistoric people appear on the scene. While Borneman paints with a broad stroke, he says in his intro that he's going to have to, but that the breadth of the subject will reward the approach. He's right. He's a good writer--even his chapter headings are casual and helpful. By now I've read quite a bit about Alaska, preparing for a trip there, and nothing here's boring. As one example, Pres. and Mrs. Harding spent years wanting to go to AK. When they finally got their chance, to officially inaugurate a railroad, both were unwell. They were served "fresh" crab, and got food poisoning. He had a heart attack and died in San Francisco of the heart attack. I knew about the heart attack as a cause of his death, but not that it was precipitated by food poisoning that had attacked most members of the party, including her as well. How many "broad brush" histories will include details like this? The mountaineering and conservation details are equally arresting. It's 608 pages, but if you can only read one history of AK, read this one.
The history of the state, written by an author with a fine sense of style, keeping the reader immersed in the story of an extraordinary part of the world.
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