Pre-Publication Special

The History of Sled Dogs in North America: From the Bering Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, by Helen Hegener and several contributing writers

Please Note: This is a pre-publication Special. The book has been through the first proofing but there may still be minor typographic errors, images out of focus, and other issues.  Offer good until Dec. 31.


Now available for ordering in softcover only, The History of Sled Dogs in North America, by Helen Hegener and several contributing writers, showcases the history of the working sled dogs which helped shape the future of the North American continent.

This full-color, elegantly illustrated book features historic photographs, illustrations, and beautiful art, such as the splendid “Northwoods Journey” on the cover, by Colorado artist Veryl Goodnight. This one-of-a-kind book will become a landmark reference on the interdependence of men and dogs.


The History of Sled Dogs in North America

Please Note: This is a pre-publication Special Offer as described above. Paperback printed in full color on premium stock paper, 416 pages, 8.5″ x 11″ format, dozens of b/w and color photographs, images, and artwork, extensively annotated, resources, bibliography, indexed. Published by Northern Light Media. PREPUBLICATION SPECIAL $45.00 plus $8.00 shipping & handling. [In January the retail price will be $69.95 plus $8.50 shipping and handling.]

$53.50


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Spirit of the Wind

Sorry, this DVD has sold out again! The film is available to watch on YouTube at this link.

Now available again from Northern Light Media for the first time since 2015, all profits from the sale of these DVDs goes to support youth programs for future mushers:

The award-winning 1979 movie Spirit of the Wind is based upon the early life and rise to prominence of the legendary Athabaskan trapper and dog musher George Attla, Jr., who won the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous World Championship race an unprecedented ten times between 1958 and 1982. The film, on DVD, tells the story of young George Attla growing up in the interior village of Huslia, running a trapline with his father until being diagnosed with tuberculosis and spending several years away from home in a Sitka hospital.

Upon returning to his village he struggled to rejoin the cultural fabric, and fast sled dogs became his saving grace, taking him to ten World Championships. He also won eight championships in the Fairbanks Open North American Championship race, and in 1973 he ran the inaugural 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, placing fifth even though his experience was in sprint racing, and not long-distance mushing.

With dramatically beautiful photography and a haunting musical score, Spirit of the Wind won the Best Picture Award at the 1979 Sundance Film Festival. It was an unexpected hit at the Cannes International Film Festival the same year, and was hailed by the New York Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and many others as a stunning achievement in cinematography.



Posted in Alaska History, DVD & Video, Iditarod, Movies, News & Information, Sled Dog History, Sled Dog Races, Transportation, Uncategorized, Videos | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Review of Dr. J. T. White’s Diaries

A good review of Dr. Gary C. Stein’s 2021 book, “I Wish You Could Come Too”: The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White 1889, 1890, 1894, 1900-1901, by Fairbanks-based reviewer David A. James, appeared in the Sunday, November 20, issue of the Anchorage Daily News. James describes Dr. White as “a physician who made multiple journeys north to Alaska as a member of various Revenue Cutter Service crews, and who kept personal records of what he encountered along the way.” He adds, “He had a highly observant nature and interests in botany, ethnography and other fields that educated persons of his era were drawn to. Even more so, he had a sense of adventure, and the sea was his calling.”

At the recent Alaska Historical Society’s annual awards recognizing accomplishments in history, the late professor Gary C. Stein was recognized for work as an Alaska historian in the 1970s and 80s and service as Alaska Historical Society president.

Dr. Gary Stein published numerous articles and book reviews in the Society’s journal and published his seminal work on Dr. James Taylor White of the U.S. Revenue Marine Service in Alaska with Northern Light Media, in January, 2021. He would have smiled to read David James’ review of his book, especially the last two sentences: “Stein didn’t live to see it published, but he’s left us a gift. This book will be referenced by future historians for decades to come.” The review can be read online.

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The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White

“I Wish You Could Come Too,” The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White, by Dr. Gary C. Stein. $29.95 plus $6.00 shipping from Northern Light Media. Published in January, 2021, 412 pages, over 45 photographs, images, and maps. 6″ x 9″ b/w format, extensively annotated, bibliography, indexed.

$35.95

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The Alaska Railroad 1902-1923

The Alaska Railroad

ARR Cover

The Alaska Railroad: 1902-1923, subtitled Blazing an Iron Trail Across The Last Frontier, shares the compelling story of the construction of the Alaska Railroad and its predecessors, from 1902, when John Ballaine built the Alaska Central Railroad; through 1923, when President Warren G. Harding drove the Alaska Railroad’s ceremonial Golden Spike in Nenana.

Bartlett Glacier postcard b:w

This 400-page book by Alaskan author Helen Hegener, published in 2017 by Northern Light Media, is a wide-ranging look at Alaska’s growth and development, and the many ways in which the railroad played a major role. From dynamiting the railbed out of the rocky cliffs along Turnagain Arm, to spanning the deep chasm of Hurricane Gulch, and from crossing the endless miles of muskeg swamp to bridging the mighty waters of the Tanana River, the story is told through historic documents, photographs, and publications.

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This is more than the story of constructing the railroad, however…. This is also the fascinating story of how the U. S. Government built towns and cities across the territory, including Seward, Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla, Talkeetna, Nenana, and Fairbanks. It’s the story of coal mining in Alaska, from the Guggenheim Syndicate’s notorious attempted monopoly of Alaska’s resources, to the government’s own private coal mine to service the U.S. Naval fleet in the Pacific. It’s the story of steamboat travel on Alaskan rivers, and how the railroad’s own fleet of steamers and gas-powered “tunnel boats” came to dominate the watery transportation corridors. It’s the story of the role a fledgling conservation movement played in dividing a major political party. And it’s the story of how steam shovels which dug the Panama Canal were brought north to claw at Alaskan hillsides.

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The 500-mile long Alaska Railroad runs from the seaport town of Seward, on the Kenai Peninsula, to Fairbanks, the Golden Heart of Alaska. Along the way it crosses two formidable mountain ranges, several broad and daunting rivers, and numerous deep gorges and canyons. It winds along the tidewater edge of Turnagain Arm, past Bartlett and Spencer Glaciers, and skirts the highest point on the North American continent, the Great One, Denali. From running its own opulent luxury hotel—literally in the middle of nowhere—to developing the telephone, water, and sewer systems of Anchorage, the history of the railroad is largely the history of Alaska. Take a ride on the northernmost U. S. railroad, and gain an unusual perspective on a richly fascinating period in America’s past.   ~•~


The Alaska Roadroad 1902-1923

The Alaska Railroad: 1902-1923, Blazing an Iron Trail Across The Last Frontier, by Helen Hegener, published in May, 2017 by Northern Light Media. 400 pages, over 100 b/w historic photos, maps, bibliography, indexed. The book can be ordered for $24.95 plus $5.00 for First Class postage.

$29.95

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Alaskan Roadhouses

This 284-page book by Alaskan author Helen Hegener, published by Northern Light Media in 2016, presents stories and photos of dozens of historic roadhouses found along Alaska’s roads and trails. Detailed descriptions, locations, historic ledgers, documentation, records, maps, menus and more. Compelling first-hand accounts from people who traveled the early roads and trails and stayed at the roadhouses, including the Reverend Samuel Hall Young, Judge James Wickersham, Leonhard Seppala, Frank G. Carpenter, Col. Walter L. Goodwin, and Matilda Clark Buller, who opened a roadhouse near Nome in 1901, at the height of the Nome Gold Rush. An excellent gift for travelers and history buffs!

Alaskan Roadhouses

“Alaskan Roadhouses, Shelter, Food, and Lodging Along Alaska’s Roads and Trails,” by Helen Hegener, published by Northern Light Media in 2016. 6″ x 9″, over 100 black/white photographs, 284 pages. $24.95 plus $5.00 for First Class shipping.

$29.95

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Dr. Gary Stein Honored

At the Alaska Historical Society’s annual awards recognizing accomplishments in history, the late professor Gary C. Stein was recognized for work as an Alaska historian in the 1970s and 80s and service as AHS president. He published numerous articles and book reviews in the Society’s journal and published his seminal work on Dr. James Taylor White of the U.S. Revenue Marine Service in Alaska. 

Published in 2021 by Northern Light Media, “I Wish You Could Come Too,” The Alaska Diaries of Dr. James Taylor White, by Gary C. Stein, is a first-hand look at life aboard a revenue cutter during Alaska’s formative early years, as Dr. White, a bright and engaging young physician, served aboard and recorded his adventurous work in personal correspondence and journals.

The book is 412 pages, with over 45 photographs, images, and maps. 6″ x 9″ b/w format, extensively annotated, bibliography, indexed.

Read more information about the book in this post from September, 2021. Click here to order.

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The History of Sled Dogs in North America

Scheduled for publication in the fall of 2022 by Northern Light Media, The History of Sled Dogs in North America, by Helen Hegener and several contributing writers, will highlight the working sled dogs which helped shape the future of the continent.

This full-color, elegantly illustrated book will feature historic photographs, illustrations, and beautiful art, such as the splendid “Northwoods Journey” on the cover, by Colorado artist Veryl Goodnight. This book will become a landmark reference on the interdependence of man and dog.

Click here to receive email updates on the book. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose.

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Matanuska Colony Barns

It’s been my good fortune to live in the Matanuska Valley for more than 40 years, and the Matanuska Colony barns have always been a part of my life in Alaska. Driving the roads around Palmer and Wasilla one sees the old structures often, glimpsed down a tree-lined dirt lane or silhouetted against a mountain backdrop, and they rarely fail to bring a smile. Like trusted and comforting old friends, the barns are always there.

In 1935 the U.S. Government transported 200 families from the Great Depression-stricken midwest to a valley of unparalleled beauty in Alaska, where they were given the chance to begin new lives as part of the Matanuska Colony Project. As part of each family’s farmstead, a magnificent barn was raised, a sturdy square structure 32′ by 32′ and soaring 32′ high. Today these Colony barns are an iconic reminder of what has been called the last great pioneering adventure in America.

I have been living with, admiring, and photographing these picturesque barns for decades, and in 2012 I turned my longtime interest into a book, a video, and a website.

The video is free to watch on this website. The book is available here or at Amazon. The website is filled with photographs, the history of the barns and the Matanuska Colony Project, and more. Check them out!

Posted in Alaska History, Book Reviews, Books, Colony Barns, DVD & Video, Matanuska Colony, Matanuska Valley, News & Information, photographs, Videos | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Alaskan History Magazine

Alaskan History Magazine was a full color bimonthly magazine featuring stories and photos of the people, places and events which shaped the history of Alaska from prehistory to statehood. The magazine was published by Northern Light Media. Production stopped in June, 2021, but the fourteen issues in print will remain available through Amazon and Issuu.

Anthologies which collect issues into book format are also available from Northern Light Media.

Click to visit Amazon or Issuu

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History of Sled Dogs

Scheduled for publication in the fall of 2022 by Northern Light Media, The History of Sled Dogs in North America, by Helen Hegener and several contributing writers, will tell the many and varied stories of the teams of working sled dogs which helped shape the future of the continent, whether hauling the mail, gold, freight, passengers, or racing each other for winning purses for their owners.

This full-color, elegantly illustrated book will feature outstanding art and splendid photographs and illustrations. Drawing from many vintage books and historic writings on the earliest accounts of travel by dogteam, the book will become a landmark reference on the interdependence of man and dog.


“They were new dogs, utterly transformed by the harness. All passiveness and unconcern had dropped from them. They were alert and active, anxious that the work should go well, and fiercely irritable with whatever, by delay or confusion, retarded that work. The toil of the traces seemed the supreme expression of their being, and all that they lived for and the only thing in which they took delight.”

—Jack London, The Call of the WIld, 1903


This wide-ranging book will include the use of sled and pack dogs by native Americans, traced back to prehistory; the coureurs des bois (runners of the woods), who were the first European mushers in North America; historic explorations which relied on dog teams; the dog teams of the Hudson Bay and Northwest Companies; the intrepid dogs of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; famous mushers such as Harry Karstens, Arthur Treadwell Walden, Scotty Allan, Leonhard Seppala, Emile St. Goddard, Harry Wheeler, Jujiro Wada, Robert Kennicott, Dick Moulton, Norman Vaughan, Joe Redington Sr., Albert Campbell, Tud Kent, and many others; The Sirius Dog Sled Patrol in Greenland, the history of sled dogs at Denali National Park; the demonstration races at the 1932 Olympic games; the many gold rushes in which dog teams played key roles; the 1925 Serum Run to Nome; the breeding and development of northern breeds such as the Alaskan Malemute, the Chinook, the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Husky and others; the great sprint and long-distance races; the long-distance travels of mushers such as Slim Williams, Mary Joyce, Eli Smith and others; and the dog teams of the scientists, doctors, mailmen, missionaries, businessmen, and dozens more whose teams made winter travel easier–and sometimes they were all that made it possible.

Scheduled for publication Fall, 2022. Cover shown above is subject to change.

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