Perhaps my most favorite chapters in the book are about the gold rush( both the Yukon and Nome) and the salmon fishing industry( Michener even creates a salmon character) as they are most evident of Alaska's struggle for statehood.
I'm glad I did because the story was really good and it read surprisingly fast.
Alaska, by James Michener is not just a long story. Along the way, the people who shaped Alaska are introduced and we follow their stories as they form the greater narrative. We even meet the dogs and salmon who form such an integral part of Alaska's story.
If your goal is to tell the entire cultural history of a place in a novel - telling it through individual narratives might not be a bad way to do it, especially if youre trying for 29 weeks on the national bestseller list, but after 1000 pages of the same formula (or 1000 pages of anything) it gets a little stale.
In this day, Michener's use of strong women and getting over cultural groups intermarrying is a huge plus.
James Michener è stato un autore statunitense che ha scritto più di 40 libri, la maggior parte dei quali raccontano le vicissitudini di una determinata area geografica attraverso le vicende delle persone che vi hanno vissuto. Alaska è il secondo libro di Michener che ho letto e ne ho subito il fascino, al punto da inserire il quarantanovesimo stato degli Usa nella lista dei viaggi che vorrei fare (preciso che si tratta di una lista quasi infinita dove i paesi freddi occupano un posto preminente!) Il protagonista indiscusso è il territorio con la sua storia geologica e antropologica, anche se una parte più rilevante, rispetto a La Baia, è dedicata alle popolazioni indigene che hanno colonizzato questo territorio, ponte tra Asia e America, e hanno contribuito a mantenerne vive le tradizioni.
Cook, unwilling to captain a ship that was little more than a floating coffin, decided in his quiet, efficient way, to change this, and he did so by instituting a few sensible rules, as he explained to his crew at the beginning of their memorable third voyage: 'We have found that scurvy can be controlled if you will keep your quarters clean. And if you will each day consume your portion of wort and rob.' Page 178: After Pym, with no knowledge or charts to guide him, sailed his Evening Star north from Lapak, he entered a world into no other American had ventured or would soon do so. Page 214: In that memorable year 1789, when France launched the revolution which would bring its people freedom from excessive tyranny, and the former American Colonies ratified their revolution by initiating a new form of government, under a remarkable constitution ensuring freedom, a group of vicious Russian fur traders committed a great atrocity against the Aleuts on Lapak Island.
Both an education and a real pleasure, if you like Alaska and of course everybody does this is probably a must read. My reading about Alaska has been almost all non-fiction (John McPhee, Dana Stabenows travel articles, a number of memoirs by homesteaders and travelers, and the parts of George Kennan and a biography of Captain Cook that relate to it, etc.).
Alaska unforgiving and brutal to those who don,t follow her rules but a gem to behold for those who take the chance to know her.
James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region.