Klondike; the Last Great Gold Rush

Klondike; the Last Great Gold Rush


Book - 1972
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With the building of the railroad and the settlement of the plains, the North West was opening up. The Klondike stampede was a wild interlude in the epic story of western development, and here are its dramatic tales of hardship, heroism, and villainy. We meet Soapy Smith, dictator of Skagway; Swiftwater Bill Gates, who bathed in champagne; Silent Sam Bonnifield, who lost and won back a hotel in a poker game; and Roddy Connors, who danced away a fortune at a dollar a dance. We meet dance-hall queens, paupers turned millionaires, missionaries and entrepreneurs, and legendary Mounties such as Sam Steele, the Lion of the Yukon. Pierre Berton's riveting account reveals to us the spectacle of the Chilkoot Pass, and the terrors of lesser-known trails through the swamps of British Columbia, across the glaciers of souther Alaska, and up the icy streams of the Mackenzie Mountains. It contrasts the lawless frontier life on the American side of the border to the relative safety of Dawson City. Winner of the Governor General's award for non-fiction, Klondike is authentic history and grand entertainment, and a must-read for anyone interested in the Canadian frontier.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, [1972]
Edition: Rev. ed
ISBN: 9780771012839
Branch Call Number: 971.21 Ber
Characteristics: xxiii, 472 p. :,maps. ;,25 cm


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May 23, 2018

This is the definitive work on the Klondike gold rush, absolutely packed with facts, characters and stories. It has stood the test of the time. The final chapter contains valuable perspective into the most challenging questions of all: why did all of these converge on the Klondike and what did they take away with them as a result. The answer is one steeped in wisdom. The magic of the book is partly revealed in the notes of the 2nd edition where Pierre reveals how he literally grew up in Dawson City. There were times when I felt the author added details that no research could've revealed but all in all, I stand in awe of the masterwork.

rb3221 Dec 09, 2016

This is not just good history but also great storytelling by a master of Canadian history. It is the story of greed, of sorrow, of partying and mostly of struggles with the elements, con men, and dance hall girls and much more. The Klondike trek was in Berton's view " one of the weirdest and most useless movements in history."

Michael Beavington
Apr 29, 2010

This is one of Berton's best works. Sam Steele was awesome. The sheer amount of gold that came out of that hill was insane and the hardships even more so.

Find his photo essay book as well if you want to see some stunning photos from that time.

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