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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft



I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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The Nature of Gold

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1896, a small group of prospectors discovered a stunningly rich pocket of gold at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon rivers, and in the following two years thousands of individuals traveled to the area, hoping to find wealth in a rugged and challenging setting. Ever since that time, the Klondike Gold Rush — especially as portrayed in photographs of long lines of gold seekers marching up Chilkoot Pass — has had a hold on the popular imagination.

In this first environmental history of the gold rush, Kathryn Morse describes how the miners got to the Klondike, the mining technologies they employed, and the complex networks by which they obtained food, clothing, and tools. She looks at the political and economic debates surrounding the valuation of gold and the emerging industrial economy that exploited its extraction in Alaska, and explores the ways in which a web of connections among America's transportation, supply, and marketing industries linked miners to other industrial and agricultural laborers across the country. The profound economic and cultural transformations that supported the Alaska-Yukon gold rush ultimately reverberate to modern times.

The story Morse tells is often narrated through the diaries and letters of the miners themselves. The daunting challenges of traveling, working, and surviving in the raw wilderness are illustrated not only by the miners' compelling accounts but also by newspaper reports and advertisements. Seattle played a key role as "gateway to the Klondike." A public relations campaign lured potential miners to the West and local businesses seized the opportunity to make large profits while thousands of gold seekers streamed through Seattle.

The drama of the miners' journeys north, their trials along the gold creeks, and their encounters with an extreme climate will appeal not only to scholars of the western environment and of late 19th-century industrialism, but to readers interested in reliving the vivid adventure of the West's last great gold rush.

Review:

"Morse demonstrates the dramatic environmental damage created by the gold rush, but she also helps us understand the very real accommodations that miners had to make if they hoped to survive in these far northern landscapes....She is a superb storyteller with a wry sense of humor, a flair for the quirky detail and the revealing anecdote, and a keen appreciation for the tragicomic underside of this famous event." from the Introduction by William Cronon

Review:

"This environmental history of a gold rush is as surprising, revealing, and complicated as gold itself. I know of nothing quite like this wry and clever book." Richard White

Review:

"If you're only allowed one book about the Klondike Gold Rush, I suppose it has to be Jack London. But this volume definitely comes next — a wonderfully compelling acount of what it actually felt like to pack up and head to the Yukon. Scholars will find it provacative and deep, but all readers will find it absorbing, touching, funny — a truly revealing window on our national history and our national character." William McKibben

Review:

"Kathryn Morse recognizes how profoundly the economic and political culture of the 1890s shaped the rush for gold in Alaska and the Yukon. And she details the varieties of interconnected human and animal labor that sustained the Klondike rush....The Nature of Gold effectively and seamlessly blends both older and newer environmental history methodologies, and does so in an eminently accessible and compelling prose style." Susan Lee Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Book News Annotation:

Gold miners who set out seeking fortune in the Alaskan Yukon in the final years of the 19th century lived in a network of production and consumption that constantly shifted between preindustrial forms of subsistence to wider nonlocal industrial economies, significantly shifting their relationship to nature. This relationship, suggests Morse (history, Middlebury College), could be transformed, but never escaped. She explores these relationships and the meanings ascribed to them by miners and others affected by the impact of the Gold Rush. The transportation of food and miners, the culture of travel, and political representations of nature, are discussions given as much weight as the culture of the miners themselves. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Kathryn Morse is assistant professor of history at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780295983295
Foreword:
Cronon, William
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Foreword by:
Cronon, William
Foreword:
Cronon, William
Author:
Cronon, William
Author:
Morse, Kathryn Taylor
Author:
Morse, Kathryn
Subject:
History
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Canada - General
Subject:
Canada - Post-Confederation (1867-)
Subject:
Expeditions & Discoveries
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Pacific Northwest
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life - Yukon -
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life -- Alaska.
Subject:
World History-Canada
Subject:
Western History
Subject:
Environmental studies
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
Publication Date:
20030131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9.28x6.20x1.06 in. 1.33 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Alaska
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » World History » Canada
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Nature of Gold New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$62.75 Backorder
Product details 304 pages University of Washington Press - English 9780295983295 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Morse demonstrates the dramatic environmental damage created by the gold rush, but she also helps us understand the very real accommodations that miners had to make if they hoped to survive in these far northern landscapes....She is a superb storyteller with a wry sense of humor, a flair for the quirky detail and the revealing anecdote, and a keen appreciation for the tragicomic underside of this famous event."
"Review" by , "This environmental history of a gold rush is as surprising, revealing, and complicated as gold itself. I know of nothing quite like this wry and clever book."
"Review" by , "If you're only allowed one book about the Klondike Gold Rush, I suppose it has to be Jack London. But this volume definitely comes next — a wonderfully compelling acount of what it actually felt like to pack up and head to the Yukon. Scholars will find it provacative and deep, but all readers will find it absorbing, touching, funny — a truly revealing window on our national history and our national character."
"Review" by , "Kathryn Morse recognizes how profoundly the economic and political culture of the 1890s shaped the rush for gold in Alaska and the Yukon. And she details the varieties of interconnected human and animal labor that sustained the Klondike rush....The Nature of Gold effectively and seamlessly blends both older and newer environmental history methodologies, and does so in an eminently accessible and compelling prose style."
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