Category Archives: Book Reviews

Addison Powell in Valdez

Addison M. Powell was an adventurer, prospector, hunter, and a guide for Captain William R. Abercrombie’s 1898 Copper River Exploring Expedition, one of three military expeditions organized to explore the interior of the new territory of Alaska. His book Trailing and Camping in Alaska, subtitled Ten Years Spent Exploring, Hunting and Prospecting in Alaska – 1898 to 1909, was republished in its entirety by Northern Light Media in September, 2018.  Continue reading

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Dog Gone Addiction

The international award-winning film by Becky Bristow, Dog Gone Addiction, follows three women as they test their personal limits, driving their dog teams through record cold temperatures and over icy mountain passes in the 2007 Yukon Quest, a 1,000-mile sled dog race from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Fairbanks, Alaska. The film focuses on a young Canadian mother, Michelle Phillips; Agata Franczak, a 48-year-old Polish adventurer; and Kelley Griffin, a veteran Alaskan musher. Continue reading

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The First Iditarod, 2nd Edition

From 2007 to 2012 I travelled across Alaska to visit veteran mushers from the 1973 race who would share their memories of what has since become known as “The Last Great Race on Earth.” The bulk of my book is comprised of the verbatim words of these intrepid men who drove their teams on that first journey to Nome in 1973, captured through recorded and videotaped interviews and many notes and follow-up letters and emails. Continue reading

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All Alaska Sweepstakes

The historic All Alaska Sweepstakes is the oldest organized distance sled dog race in the world, with records kept by the Nome Kennel Club dating back to the first race in 1908. The race, which was held from 1908 to 1917, and commemorated with 75th and 100th anniversary races in 1983 and 2008, is the subject of All Alaska Sweepstakes: History of the Great Sled Dog Race, by Helen Hegener. Continue reading

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Sled Dog Tales

True stories include Alaskan mail carrier Eli Smith’s epic trip to Washington, D.C., Alaska Nellie’s daring rescue of a lost mail carrier, the Rev. Samuel Hall Young’s 1913 trip over the Iditarod Trail, and Territorial Judge James Wickersham’s 1901 dogsled trip down the frozen Yukon River from Eagle to Rampart. Fascinating stories of Alaska’s history as seen from the runners of a dogsled! Continue reading

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Alaska & The Klondike

Complete chapters from books such as Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled, The Land of Tomorrow, and Along Alaska’s Great River offer first-hand accounts of the authors’ adventures in charting an unknown country, exploring a wondrous land, searching for gold, delivering freight and mail, and administering medical and religious services by dog team, at a time when the land was young. Continue reading

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Alaska Railroad 1902-1923

This 400-page book is a wide-ranging look at the many ways in which the railroad played a major role in Alaska’s growth and development. Continue reading

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Jujiro Wada, Trailblazer

There are many strange and unusual stories in the annals of northern sled dog travel, but one of the most fascinating concerns an enigmatic Japanese explorer and adventurer named Jujiro Wada. Born in Japan in the 1870s, the second son of a lower-class samurai warrior, he traveled to the U.S. in 1890 and worked as a cabin boy for the Pacific Steam Whaling Company and at Barrow for the renowned Charlie Brower, manager of the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Company, which history buffs agree was probably where he learned to handle sled dogs and began learning the Alaska Native languages. Continue reading

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Kindle Edition: Alaska and the Klondike

 ‘Alaska and the Klondike, Early Writings and Historic Photographs,’ compiled and edited by Helen Hegener, was published May 10, 2018, and is now available as an Amazon Kindle eBook. 

Charting an unknown country, exploring a wondrous land, searching for gold, delivering freight and mail beyond where any roads would reach, these were the exciting topics of books which became northland classics, with titles such as ‘Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled,’ ‘The Land of Tomorrow,’ and ‘Along Alaska’s Great River.’

Wonderful photographs accompany the often colorful writings of Frederick Schwatka, Hudson Stuck, Robert Service, Josiah Edward Spurr, and many others as they tell of adventures, explorations, fortunes won and lost, and the magnificent promise of our great northern lands. Read the words of those intrepid travelers who accepted the challenge of the north and left an indelible mark in their writing of it. Their first-hand observations are invaluable to understanding the history, as when world traveller Frank Carpenter noted while touring the construction of the Alaska Railroad: “I was so fortunate as to see Anchorage in the stump, tent, and shack stage, though it was growing marvelously fast. I give you my notes just as I penned them when I was on the spot, seeing how Uncle Sam’s engineers and executives were putting through their big job.”

Alaskan author Helen Hegener has compiled an engaging journey through the literary history of Alaska and the Klondike, and an introduction to some of the most compelling books ever written about the North.

The Kindle edition of this 2018 book is formatted as a print replica Kindle book, which maintains the rich formatting and layout of the print edition. Order your own copy today for only $5.99 (Kindle MatchBook $2.99). Continue reading

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Kindle Edition: Alaskan Roadhouses

Now on Kindle, this book presents historic photos of dozens of individual roadhouses, and along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses while traveling the early trails and roads of Alaska, including the Reverend Samuel Hall Young, Frank G. Carpenter, Judge James Wickersham, Leonhard Seppala, Col. Walter L. Goodwin, and Matilda Clark Buller, who opened a roadhouse near Nome in 1901, at the height of the Nome Gold Rush. From Haly’s Roadhouse at Fort Yukon to the Grandview Roadhouse near Seward, and from the Slana Roadhouse south of Tok to the Deering Roadhouse on Kotzebue Sound, these respected establishments made travel in territorial Alaska possible. Continue reading

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