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1 Burnside Americana- Alaska

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush

by

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush Cover

ISBN13: 9780307461728
ISBN10: 0307461726
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

Not to be missed by fans of history, Blum's tale of the Klondike Gold Rush reads like the best fiction. A lively narrative populated with a colorful cast of characters, the allure of Alaska and her gold comes across as a wild adventure story that offers rich rewards to readers today.
Recommended by Michal D., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It is the last decade of the 19th century. The Wild West has been tamed and its fierce, independent and often violent larger-than-life figures — gun-toting wanderers, trappers, prospectors, Indian fighters, cowboys, and lawmen —are now victims of their own success. They are heroes who've outlived their usefulness.

But then gold is discovered in Alaska and the adjacent Canadian Klondike and a new frontier suddenly looms - an immense unexplored territory filled with frozen waterways, dark spruce forests, and towering mountains capped by glistening layers of snow and ice.

"Klondicitis," a giddy mix of greed and lust for adventure, ignites a stampede. Fleeing the depths of a worldwide economic depression and driven by starry-eyed visions of vast wealth, tens of thousands rush northward.

Joining this throng of greenhorns and grifters, whores and highwaymen, sourdoughs and seers are three unforgettable men. In a true-life tale that rivets from the first page, we meet Charlie Siringo, a top-hand sharp-shooting cowboy who, after futilely trying to settle down with his new bride, becomes one of the Pinkerton Detective Agency's shrewdest; George Carmack, a California-born American Marine who's adopted by an Indian tribe, raises a family with a Taglish squaw, makes the discovery that starts off the Yukon Gold Rush — and becomes fabulously rich; and Soapy Smith, a sly and inventive predator-conman who rules a vast criminal empire.

As we follow this trio's lives, we're led inexorably into a perplexing mystery. A fortune in gold bars has somehow been stolen from the fortress-like Treadwell Mine in Juneau, Alaska, with no clues as to how the thieves made off with such an immensely heavy cargo. To many it appears that the crime will never be solved. But the Pinkerton Agency has a reputation for finding the answers that elude others. Charged with getting the job done is Charlie Siringo who discovers that, to run the thieves to ground, he must embark on a rugged cross-territory odyssey that will lead him across frigid waters and through a frozen wilderness. Ultimately, he'll have his quarry in his sights. But then an additional challenge will present itself. He must face down Soapy Smith and his gang of 300 cutthroats. Hanging in the balance: George Carmack's fortune in gold.

At once a compelling true-life mystery and an unforgettable portrait of a time in America's history when thousands were fired with a vision of riches so unimaginable as to be worth any price, The Floor of Heaven is also an exhilarating tribute to the courage and undaunted spirit of the men and women who helped shape America.

Review:

"Blum, author of the bestselling and Edgar-winning American Lightning, displays all his creative gifts here. Using primary source materials from the three individuals around whom the narrative revolves, he tells a fascinating story of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. Charlie Siringo was a larger-than-life hero, a cowboy turned successful businessman turned Pinkerton detective renowned for his sense of duty. Jefferson 'Soapy' Smith epitomized the frontier 'confidence man' who considered dishonesty a way of life. George Carmack, the prospector who precipitated the great Alaska gold rush that drew the men together, deserted from the Marines, married a Native American, and pursued his prospecting dreams to the Klondike. Detailing crimes perpetrated and solved, relationships both happy and tragic, hardships unthinkable in the modern age, and the cold, magical allure of Alaska and the Yukon, Blum captures the spirit and mood of the last of the Old West. The final pages, especially, are filled with drama and a strange yearning. From a purely historical perspective, there should have been more information on Alaska as a Russian colony and American territory, but as an exciting narrative, this is a huge success. 8 pages of b&w photos; 1 map. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

“Full of suspense...an amazing real-life adventure story, peopled with characters that any novelist would be proud to have invented: first-rate entertainment." Michael Korda, New York Times bestselling author of Hero, With Wings Like Eagles and Ike

Review:

“In the tradition of great history as great literature...highly recommended...readers will be richly rewarded by Blum’s masterful use of a colorful cast of genuine historical characters set in the majestic northwestern wilderness.” Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Wildly compelling...a truly memorable frontier tale." Kirkus

Review:

"A tense, exciting tale filled with colorful characters.” Booklist

Review:

"Wonderfully original. This narrative about the Alaskan gold rush has everything but Charlie Chaplin....Blum laces together a grand string of adventures (all the more impressive for being true) that take us deep into the glory hole and the transforming power of greed." Pope Brock, New York Times bestselling author of Charlatan

Review:

“From a virtual mother lode of unmined material, Blum casts a narrative that both informs and entertains as he forges the image of the wild days of the last American frontier.” William C. Davis, author of the Pulitzer-nominated Battle of Bull Run and also Three Roads to the Alamo and Lone Star Rising

About the Author

Howard Blum is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner American Lightning, as well as such bestsellers as Wanted!, The Gold Exodus, and Gangland. He is currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

leigh24375, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by leigh24375)
This is the best non-fiction book I've read in a long time. It's an exciting read, and an unexpected crossover between the Pinkerton Agency and the Gold Rush.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
chorne, May 9, 2011 (view all comments by chorne)
This is an engrossing and entertaining tale of the Gold Rush in the Klondike. Its subject matter is reminiscent of Rex Beach's best selling novel "The Spoilers," but "The Floor of Heaven" is based upon historical facts.

George Carmack, Charlie Siringo and Jefferson "Soapy" Smith are actual persons who came close to crossing paths on numerous occasions until their lives intersected with collision force in the Alaskan boom town of Skagaway. Smith was a notorious confidence man, swindler and gambler who had been driven out of Colorado when the better element gained control of Denver. Carmack was a loner who deserted the US Marines, but eventually drifted back to Alaska to resume his late prospector father's quest to strike it rich. Siringo was a former cowboy turned merchant and store owner. His prosperity gave him little satisfaction and his restlessness caused him to change careers once again. Siringo became a Pinkerton Detective.

While some of these stories have been told before (Siringo lived long enough to publish several books recounting his adventures and to gain a measure of recognition in Hollywood Westerns during the Silent Era), Howard Blum succeeded in combining these detective and cowboy yarns with private correspondence and unpublished papers from Carmack and Smith into a single, cohesive narrative. "The Floor of Heaven" is a pleasurable and quick read in the dime novel tradition. There are thieves, Indians, US Marshalls, Northwest Mounted Police, Sourdoughs, dance hall girls, murderers and scoundrels galore to be found among these pages. "Gold fever" can bring out the worst in some people.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307461728
Subtitle:
A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush
Author:
Blum, Howard
Publisher:
Crown
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
World History-General
Publication Date:
20110426
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.52 x 6.44 x 1.4 in 1.48 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Alaska
History and Social Science » Americana » Frontier Life
History and Social Science » Americana » Gold Rush and Prospecting
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » World History » Canada
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Crown - English 9780307461728 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Not to be missed by fans of history, Blum's tale of the Klondike Gold Rush reads like the best fiction. A lively narrative populated with a colorful cast of characters, the allure of Alaska and her gold comes across as a wild adventure story that offers rich rewards to readers today.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Blum, author of the bestselling and Edgar-winning American Lightning, displays all his creative gifts here. Using primary source materials from the three individuals around whom the narrative revolves, he tells a fascinating story of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. Charlie Siringo was a larger-than-life hero, a cowboy turned successful businessman turned Pinkerton detective renowned for his sense of duty. Jefferson 'Soapy' Smith epitomized the frontier 'confidence man' who considered dishonesty a way of life. George Carmack, the prospector who precipitated the great Alaska gold rush that drew the men together, deserted from the Marines, married a Native American, and pursued his prospecting dreams to the Klondike. Detailing crimes perpetrated and solved, relationships both happy and tragic, hardships unthinkable in the modern age, and the cold, magical allure of Alaska and the Yukon, Blum captures the spirit and mood of the last of the Old West. The final pages, especially, are filled with drama and a strange yearning. From a purely historical perspective, there should have been more information on Alaska as a Russian colony and American territory, but as an exciting narrative, this is a huge success. 8 pages of b&w photos; 1 map. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , “Full of suspense...an amazing real-life adventure story, peopled with characters that any novelist would be proud to have invented: first-rate entertainment."
"Review" by , “In the tradition of great history as great literature...highly recommended...readers will be richly rewarded by Blum’s masterful use of a colorful cast of genuine historical characters set in the majestic northwestern wilderness.”
"Review" by , "Wildly compelling...a truly memorable frontier tale."
"Review" by , "A tense, exciting tale filled with colorful characters.”
"Review" by , "Wonderfully original. This narrative about the Alaskan gold rush has everything but Charlie Chaplin....Blum laces together a grand string of adventures (all the more impressive for being true) that take us deep into the glory hole and the transforming power of greed."
"Review" by , “From a virtual mother lode of unmined material, Blum casts a narrative that both informs and entertains as he forges the image of the wild days of the last American frontier.” William C. Davis, author of the Pulitzer-nominated Battle of Bull Run and also Three Roads to the Alamo and Lone Star Rising
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