HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last…
Loading...

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold… (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Howard Blum

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1206100,400 (4.12)None
debnance's review
You'd think you were reading fiction. This story is that good.

And the truth is that Floor of Heaven is a little bit fiction. Even Blum, in his final Note on Sources, acknowledges this.

Just a bit fiction, though. This book contains just enough fictional elements to shape the three intermingling true stories into a great book. But the heart of the story is solidly nonfiction.

It is a great book. It's the story of the beginnings of Alaska, the story of three characters so quirky and real that you can't help but be fascinated with their lives. One is a cowboy detective named Charlie Siringo. One is a gold prospector named George Carmack. One is a con artist named Soapy Smith.

All three head to Alaska, all for different reasons, all with amazing stories.

Sly trickery. Clever detective work. And gold.

This book has it all. ( )
  debnance | Apr 6, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 6 of 6
Skagway! The Dead Horse Trail! Chilicoot Pass! The Klondike! For a boy growing up in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950s, what words could ever be as evocative of adventure and primal struggle? Stories of the Klondike gold rush filled my ears when I was a youngster and stuck me with a life-long interest. When I heard Howard Blum had taken these tales and the fog-obscured facts surrounding their inception to task and written a factual history, I was equally amused and anxious. Tall tales reduced to history? Really?

My pre-read amusement was dashed as I poured through his fiction-like prose. Here was historic detail and recorded fact presented as a novelist would. Fresh. Immediate. Fully engaging. My anxiety over discovering that my childhood take on this visceral time would be destroyed, vanished. I read on and on, re-discovering the tales I had grown up with, now in three dimensions. Strong, vibrant and every bit as fantastic as they were when I first heard little snatches of them as a child.

Blum's cast of characters, were very carefully chosen and beautifully rendered as living, breathing Americans with all their warts intact. Though their exploits and legends made them giants in a young boy's mind, their actual exploits, now digested from an adult's perspective, were writ even larger in Blum's pages. A very human understanding of motivation and regret fuels the writing and it rarely disappoints.

From the author's use of period vernacular in the voice of the narrative, to his thorough research, to his very organic analysis of the times and the character of the people who took the risk and traveled north, Heaven's Floor is the best reflection of the times, its dreams and its rewards, I have ever read. For anyone with an interest in the transition years ending the nineteenth century, as we became a nation of industry while the frontier dwindled, this is a must read; as it should be for anyone who grew up on tales of striking it rich in the Klondike and Sgt. Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the Yukon. ( )
  Richard.Sutton | Jun 20, 2014 |
The story presented here had great potential and a large scope about a very interesting time in US history. Unfortunately the presentation was fairly witless and generally dull. Blum manages to drain the color from what was potentially an extremely vivid and varied bouquet of characters. The book was quite a disappointment and has convinced me to avoid other works by this author. ( )
  scottapeshot | Mar 28, 2013 |
I loved this book. It starts slow, and at times throughout the book it drags, so -1 star, but many of the stories were riveting. I wouldn't take this book as gospel truth but it was a great read.

I listen to books often on long trips and this book "took me away" for hours; time flew by listening to the frontier detective stories of Charlie Siringo (spelling?) and the Klondike gold-seeking stories of George Carmack. Many of the stories were a bit ...um... stretched? slanted?... No matter, all history is slanted by those who lived to tell the stories. Who knows what the "real truth" is in a lot of oral stories handed down!?. Regardless of the nitty-gritty details, there were generations of people in history who were really tough rugged individuals and just hearing the stories of these frontier men who lived in the Yukon and survived the cold and snow as if it were "no big deal" boggles my mind.

Highly recommend this book if you like good "virtually true" stories of the "wild wild (U.S.) west" history. ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 8, 2012 |
You'd think you were reading fiction. This story is that good.

And the truth is that Floor of Heaven is a little bit fiction. Even Blum, in his final Note on Sources, acknowledges this.

Just a bit fiction, though. This book contains just enough fictional elements to shape the three intermingling true stories into a great book. But the heart of the story is solidly nonfiction.

It is a great book. It's the story of the beginnings of Alaska, the story of three characters so quirky and real that you can't help but be fascinated with their lives. One is a cowboy detective named Charlie Siringo. One is a gold prospector named George Carmack. One is a con artist named Soapy Smith.

All three head to Alaska, all for different reasons, all with amazing stories.

Sly trickery. Clever detective work. And gold.

This book has it all. ( )
  debnance | Apr 6, 2012 |
Reason for Reading: I've never consciously thought about this before but I do seem to have a penchant for reading about the Klondike/Yukon gold rush. I'm even reading aloud a fiction book to my son on the topic at this moment! This was a must read for me.

This is a true story told in narrative form which really reads like a novel and thus a quick page-turner. The book focuses in on three people: George Carmack, AWOL Marine who "ignites" the biggest gold rush the world has seen; Soapy Smith, conman, bamboozler, thief and murderer who starts off by taking control of Denver's underworld but eventually end's up in Alaska running the lawless boom town of Skagway; and finally, Charlie Siringo, a former cowhand turned Pinkerton detective who is sent to Alaska to solve a crime no other has been able to solve and Pinkerton's name itself is on the line.

The book of course is about the gold rush but it is first and foremost about these three men. The narrative shifts from one to the other telling their stories in detail from early adulthood until they all end up in various parts of Alaska, making each others acquaintance, though never on friendly terms. The book concentrates on the American side of the story, all three men have eventful lives in the States before they head North. Main events are centered in Skagway, Dyea and Juneau. It isn't until quite close to the end of the book that the story crosses over into Canadian land and the actual accumulation of gold in the Bonanza Creek. This book is more about the getting there, the life the prospectors lead, the mindset of these people and specifically the lives of the three main characters.

A truly brilliant, riveting read that would make a great novel if it weren't all true! A fascinating time in history when the lust for gold took over man's sense of reason and turned a barren land into a small collection of roaring last stop boom towns. I have of course previously read all about Skagway and also Soapy Smith as well as a bit about George Carmack but only in the context of the gold rush. Finding out about their backgrounds was fascinating and made for great reading. Charlie Siringo was relatively new to me, I've heard him mentioned briefly, but his fascinating story was fresh. A great read for anyone interested in the harsh, rough and tumble life of the gold rush days, whether you've read much on the topic before or not. The narrative story telling voice is so captivating to read that I am very interested in reading more of Mr. Blum's previous works. He has a very interesting backlist! ( )
  ElizaJane | Sep 11, 2011 |
For me to be drawn to a non-fiction book it has to be something unique! I prefer to drift off into a made-up world that someone else creates. OK, it's escapism. But every now and then a true story comes along that triggers the escape mechanism in my mind and I HAVE TO read the book. The Floor of Heaven is one of those rare books. Howard Blum sets the stage for this true life tale so perfectly, the reader forgets it's true!

Blum tells the story of three men hunting for a better life, and the place they chose was 1896 Alaska, the Yukon. Gold Rush territory. Soapy Smith, Charlie Siringo and George Carmack, a swindling con man, a Pinkerton detective and the prospector who's find at Bonanza Creek started the Yukon gold rush, respectively. Three more diverse people you'd never find, but they all shared the drive to make something better of their lives. Thanks to Blum's ability to tell a story I was entranced frim the very beginning.

In writing The Floor of Heaven Blum unearthed first hand accounts of these men's lives, so through the use of letters, diary entries, poems, legal papers and any number of written accounts, Blum weaves together the good, the bad and the often ugly that permeated their struggles. This book is structured so flawlessly that you must constantly remind yourself that this is real! These things really happened!

I highly recommend The Floor of Heaven, be prepared to step back in time and watch as the last days of the Alaskan frontier and the mad rush for gold unfold on the page in front of your eyes.

4 out of 5 stars!

According to Deadline.com Fox 2000 has acquired screen rights to The Floor Of Heaven. I can't wait to see this one on the big screen! ( )
  NovelChatter | May 29, 2011 |
Showing 6 of 6

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
51 wanted
1 pay1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.12)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 2
3.5 1
4 13
4.5 3
5 6

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 93,412,258 books! | Top bar: Always visible