Striking It Rich in the Klondike
Drawing on letters, memoirs, and newspaper articles, tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush through the lives of six people, including writer Jack London, businesswoman Belinda Mulrooney, British journalist Flora Shaw, and miner William Haskell.
Scurvy, dysentery, frostbite, and starvation stalked all who dared to be in Dawson. And yet the possibilities attracted people from all walks of life?not only prospectors but also newspapermen, bankers, prostitutes, priests, and lawmen. Gold Diggers follows six stampeders?Bill Haskell, a farm boy who hungered for striking gold; Father Judge, a Jesuit priest who aimed to save souls and lives; Belinda Mulrooney, a twenty-four-year-old who became the richest businesswoman in town; Flora Shaw, a journalist who transformed the town’s governance; Sam Steele, the officer who finally established order in the lawless town; and most famously Jack London, who left without gold, but with the stories that would make him a legend.
Drawing on letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, and stories, Charlotte Gray delivers an enthralling tale of the gold madness that swept through a continent and changed a landscape and its people forever.
Canadian historian Gray revisits the gold rush days in the Yukon through the eyes of six people, four men and two women. All of them left memoirs or other written evidence of their experiences. The town of Dawson is the seventh character in the study, the place where all journeys to the gold fields intersected. The stories vary greatly--Bill Haskell never struck it rich and lost his best friend--Father William Judge, more interested in spiritual wealth who made Dawson his home and died there-- Belinda Mulrooney, a feisty young Irish woman who became rich through providing food and supplies to the miners-- Sam Steele, the representative of law and order--Flora Shaw, a die-hard imperialist British journalist and, not least, Jack London, who made his mark in depicting the lives of those who braved the north in search of fortune. The story is riveting, the characters vivid as any in a novel. Dawson in the gold rush is shown in all its glory and depravity, making this an exciting tale. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Between 1896 and 1899, thousands of people lured by gold braved a grueling journey into the remote wilderness of North America. Within two years, Dawson City, in the Canadian Yukon, grew from a mining camp of four hundred to a raucous town of more than thirty thousand people. The stampede to the Klondike was the last great gold rush in history.
Scurvy, dysentery, frostbite, and starvation stalked all who dared to be in Dawson. And yet the possibilities attracted people from all walks of life. Newspapers spread "Klondike fever" around the globe, and the government far away in Ottawa faced a rowdy frontier town desperate for law and order.
Gold Diggers is the remarkable story of the Klondike Gold Rush told through the lives of six very different people: the miner William Haskell; the saintly priest Father Judge; the savvy twenty-four-year-old businesswoman Belinda Mulrooney; the imperious British journalist Flora Shaw; spit-and-polish Sam Steele of the Mounties; and most famously the writer Jack London, who left without gold but with the stories that would make him a legend.
Brilliantly interweaving their experiences, Charlotte Gray presents a fascinating panorama of a subarctic town where miners, saloon keepers, dance hall girls, preachers, and lawmakers were thrown together at one extraordinary moment in history. Handsomely illustrated with more than sixty original photographs and maps, and drawing on letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, and stories, the authenticity here is not to be outdone by the immediacy of the storytelling.
The gold rush bred its own glittering mythology, but Charlotte Gray has sifted through the legends to offer an unforgettable journey into a world gone mad for wealth.
"No armchair rambler, the author has visited the territory, and this familiarity comes through in her descriptions of the beauty and terror of the landscape, her keen appreciation of the near---Arctic Circle climate, and her vivid depiction then and now of Dawson City ... A lively, delightful reenactment of a signal era of `Klondike mythology.'"---Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
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