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The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemicby Gay Salisbury
Synopses & Reviews
Alaska, 1925: the diptheria serum is 674 miles away. Without it, the people of Nome will not survive. Nome, Alaska, sits on the edge of the Bering Sea two degrees below the Arctic Circle, and there are few more forbidding places on earth, especially in winter. Dr. Curtis Welch knew the signs of diphtheria, knew that his patients—many of them children—would die without a shipment of fresh serum. The port was icebound and the nearest railhead was almost 700 miles away across mountains, rivers, and the treacherous ice of Norton Sound. A blizzard was brewing, and airplanes, in 1925, could not fly in such conditions. Only the dogs could do it. A relay was set up, and the drivers, many of them Native Alaskans, set off into the night at 60? below zero, often trusting their lead dogs to find the trail under feet of driven snow. The legendary heroism and endurance of the men and dogs in the Serum Run need no enhancement. Here, for the first time, their story is told in full. 34 b/w illustrations.
"A stirring tale of survival, thanks to man's best friend . . . reflects a transcendent understanding and impeccable research."--
Includes bibliographical references (p. 293-303).
In 1925, a deadly diphtheria epidemic swept through icebound Nome, Alaska. The life-saving serum was a thousand miles away, and a blizzard was brewing. Airplanes could not fly in such conditions: only the dogs could do it. Racing against death, twenty dog teams relayed the serum across the Alaskan wilderness as newspapers nationwide headlined the drama, enthralling an entire generation. The heroic dash to Nome inspired the annual Iditarod Dog Sled Race in Alaska and immortalized Balto, the lead dog whose arrival in Nome over a snow-blown trail was an American legend in the making. His bronze statue still stands in New York City's Central Park, in dedication to the "Endurance, Fidelity and Intelligence" of the dogs that saved Nome. This is their story, the greatest dog story never fully told, until now.
About the Author
Gay Salisbury is the former associate publisher of Basic Books. She splits her time between Fairbanks, Alaska, and New York City.Laney Salisbury, a Columbia Journalism School graduate, has reported from Africa, the Middle East, and New York. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine