Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Turn the Page....Tuesday

It's time once again for Turn the Page Tuesday, hosted by Adrienne at Some of a Kind, something that I look forward to every month.  Always fun to see what others are reading and get great recomendations for future reading adventures.  My choice for review this month is a biography titled "On the Edge of Nowhere", written by James Huntington.

On the Edge of Nowhere is an exciting story of Jim's life, told as if you are sitting at the kitchen table sharing a pot of coffee while Jim talks about his childhood.  Very easy to read and told from a great perspective.  Jim grew up in the Alaskan Bush, his daddy a white trapper and his momma a native Indian.  You will be intrigued and worried when his Mom has to travel to the city as a witness for the trial of the man who murdered her first husband.  Left on her own after the killer is acquitted, she sets out alone and on foot to walk to the 1,000 miles back to her children and family across the most rugged, unforgiving land in all of Alaska.  Very scary and corageous.  Jim's Mom dies when he is only 7, leaving him and his siblings with their Daddy who, as a trapper, is gone much of the year.  The kids go off to boarding school, until Dad comes one year, taking Jim and his brother Sidney into the bush with him.  Never to early for a boy to learn how to live off the land.  Jim quickly learns how to shoot and trap, even fighting a large bear with only an axe at one point.  In later years, Jim becomes one of the very first dogsled racers, and you will so enjoy the stories of this man raised in the bush going to the city for the first time for a race.  Funny and frightening all at the same time.

Here is a taste for you.  The first couple of paragraphs of Jim's story:

'My mother was Athabascan, born around 1875 in a little village at the mouth of the Hogatza River, a long day's walk north of the Artic Circle.  The country was wild enough- blizzards and sixty-below cold all the winter months, and floods when the ice tore loose in spring, swamping the tundra with spongy muskegs so that a man might travel down the rivers, but could never make a summer portage of more than a mile or so between them.
And the people matched the land.  From the earliest time in Alaska, there had been bad feeling between Indian and Eskimo, and here the two lived close together, forever stirring each other to anger and violence.  If an Indian lost his bearings and tracked the caribou past the divide that separated the two hunting grounds, his people would soon be preparing a potlatch in his memory, for he was almost sure to be shot or ground-sluiced, and his broken body left for the buzzards.  Naturally this worked both ways.  Then, in the 1890's, prospectors found gold to the west, on the Seward Peninsula, and the white man came tearing through.  Mostly he was mean as a wounded grizzly.  He never thought twice about cheating or stealing from the native people, or even killing a whole family if he needed their dog team- anything to get to Nome and the gold on those beaches.'

This is really a good read.  If you loved "White Fang", you will surely enjoy "On the Edge of Nowhere", made even better by the fact that it is a true story. 

Don't forget to hop on over to Some of a Kind and see what adventures other readers have taken this past month!

7 comments:

Paige said...

That sounds like a good one - I love nonfiction, and will put this on my "to read" list for sure.

Stacey's Treasures said...

This sounds like a great book. I'm going to have to order it. Amizon is loving me lately.

Adrienne said...

Oh wow - I would never survive that life ... but I sure plan to read about it!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

You always come up with something so different. It sounds like a really interesting story. I'm with Adrienne -- my chances of survival are slim to none.

Jill said...

OH! I'm getting this book for my hubby! He's gonna love it! Thanks for sharing your review.

Run Lori Run said...

Hey Astoria! I heard this book was good but I have a stack yay tall on my bedside table that I haven't even touched yet! Thanks for the great review, I'll add it to my list!

sanjeet said...

This sounds like a great book
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