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Alaska by James A. Michener
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Alaska (1988)

by James A. Michener

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,031254,956 (3.85)57
  1. 30
    Journey by James A. Michener (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Journey was originally intended to be a section in Michener's Alaska but that part was cut during the editing process.
  2. 10
    Hawaii by James A. Michener (guurtjesboekenkast)
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» See also 57 mentions

English (25)  Spanish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
This was a painless and entertaining way to learn a lot about Alaska. I'm glad to understand more about the geography, history and politics of the place I was born, and it was good preparation for our upcoming cruise. ( )
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
I wanted to finish this book in 2018, but alas, I couldn't finish it by December 31st. Now, I've managed to push through the last 150 pages. It was an excellent read as are all of Michener's, and I learned a lot about a place I knew almost nothing about. I am amazed Alaska has been settled given the lengths to which all of the settlers had to go to even to survive. I'm not made of that stern stuff so kudos to all of them. I appreciate their efforts. Maybe someday I will be able to travel to Alaska and see some of the wonderful sights described in this book. ( )
  bcrowl399 | Jan 9, 2019 |
2 stars is being generous. but there is a lot of information and history here that is valuable so i guess i can give it to him for that. he covers so much territory here, from the formation of the land mass that becomes alaska to the mid-1980's. he does this the way he often does, by following a few different people and their descendants throughout history in the area, showing how the natives came to alaska and their way of life, and how the white people came in and took over, sometimes thinking they were helping but most often just pushing their own agenda. he doesn't shy away from the history that is full of awfulness, really, of how the native alaskans were treated.

i don't know if it's the way he wrote these characters - i didn't really care much about almost any of them - but there was also a good bit that didn't sit well with me when i was reading this book. mostly it was the lack of depth to the characters. we are with some of these people throughout their entire lives, showing us different parts of alaska history, but we never truly know them. and this is partially because he cares more about explaining the history of the salmon industry in alaska than he does about the people behind it (for example), but it made the reading of it all feel lacking to me. especially when, over and over, he'd have a native woman explain to some white man how and why what he or his company was doing was impinging on her family's way of life (so michener obviously understood the effect the white people had on native culture), and then he'd still have this woman fall in love with this man. it was so unrealistic and even offensive. these women would have fought for their way of life or, at a minimum, never loved these men who came there to ruin them. michener somehow both acknowledges what these white men are doing, while giving them a pass for it because they also have good qualities. the women whose families and history these men were destroying would never have fallen in love with the very people doing the destroying. i understand that historically, he was getting to the mixing of races and native tribes that actually happened, and to do it this way again and again might have made for ease of writing for him, but it made the reading kind of annoying. because it never would have gone down that way.

so the misogyny and racism that is baked in to those repeated storylines frustrated me, but also the historical inaccuracy that those storylines also indicated bothered me. i feel like michener is usually impeccable with research, and that felt sloppy and lazy, on top of being racist.

it makes me question my memory of hawaii, which i loved, because i know it was written in the same way. did that book romanticize colonization in the same way, and i didn't notice it when i read it?

i learned a lot about alaska, though, and am glad for that. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Jan 12, 2018 |
Fictional saga of Alska ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 9, 2017 |
This is an epic novel. It contains many wonderful short stories and spans thousands of years from the prehistoric times of the land bridge right up to the 1990s. As always, there are many characters and scenarios; all enjoyable. As an audible listen, it's nearly 60 hours long and required over a week of listening. Michener made several historic political points, among them military, economic and political. All brought home through the book's characters. "Alaska" was made real for me this time because I just finished a tour there and the landscape was familiar from Dawson to Juneau. ( )
  buffalogr | Sep 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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James A. Michenerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wyeth, JamesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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About a billion years ago, long before the continents had separated to define the ancient oceans, or their own outlines had been determined, a small protuberance jutted out from the northwest corner of what would later become North America.
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An amazing book, spanning wooly mamouths, land bridges, tribes, russians, gold rush, fish, and tidal waves. I knew that Alaska was a vast state, with a rich history, but I had no idea how far it spanned and how much it encompassed. Michener brought this far place right home to me. From the Mammoth's trials, to the fish's fight to return and survive. From the russians need to construct a church to the gold rushers need to dig through permafrost. Simply amazing and eye opening.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037576142X, Paperback)

In this sweeping epic of the northernmost American frontier, James A. Michener guides us across Alaska’s fierce terrain, from the long-forgotten past to the bustling technological present, as his characters struggle for survival. The exciting high points of Alaska’s story, from its brutal prehistory, through the nineteenth century and the American acquisition, to its modern status as America’s thriving forty-ninth state, are brought vividly to life in this remarkable novel: the gold rush; the tremendous growth and exploitation of the salmon industry; the discovery of oil and its social and economic consequences; the difficult construction of the Alcan Highway, which made possible the defense of the territory in World War II. A spellbinding portrait of a human community struggling to establish its place in the world, Alaska traces a bold and majestic history of the enduring spirit of a land and its people.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Moving from Alaskan prehistory, to Russian exploration, to acquisition by the United States, to statehood, this richly detailed historical novel chronicles the high points of Alaska's history through the lives of fictional and historical characters.

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