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The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemicby Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A stirring tale of survival, thanks to man's best friend...reflects a transcendent understanding and impeccable research." Seattle Times
"A remarkable adventure story....The Salisburys convey the brutal conditions of the trail convincingly enough to make you shiver in your beach chair." Newsday
"While [the] claim that this is 'the greatest dog story ever told' might be questioned, it certainly ranks among the best: a classic tale of man against nature enacted against the heartbreaking ice fields of Jack London's White Silence." New York Times
"A riveting epic." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The authors vividly describe each harrowing leg of the expedition through the wilds of central Alaska....The story of this account is well researched, with 23 pages of source notes that are interesting and worthwhile in themselves." KLIATT
"This book is thrilling when it describes the brave Americans who took part in this story, sickening when it describes the America that exploited it." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The most impressive element of the book is the way the authors place the 1925 diphtheria outbreak in terms of what happened during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic." USA Today
"[A] testament to man's love of adventure and willingness to help others, but...at heart a dog story." Dallas Morning News
"The Salisburys' meticulous research is apparent on every page....But they also tell their story in a style straightforward enough that readers will be swept up in the drama." Houston Chronicle
Alaska, 1925: the diphtheria serum is 674 miles away. Without it, the people of Nome will not survive. The Cruelist Miles is the never-before-told tale of the dogs and men who braved blizzard conditions to save Nome, Alaska, from diphtheria.
When a deadly diphtheria epidemic swept through Nome, Alaska, in 1925, the local doctor knew that without a fresh batch of antitoxin, his patients would die. The lifesaving serum was a thousand miles away, the port was icebound, and planes couldn't fly in blizzard conditions--only the dogs could make it. The heroic dash of dog teams across the Alaskan wilderness to Nome inspired the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and immortalized Balto, the lead dog of the last team whose bronze statue still stands in New York City's Central Park.
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. The authors are first cousins.
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