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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

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The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)


The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

NEW IN PAPER--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. The profound economic and cultural transformations that supported the Alaska-Yukon gold rush ultimately reverberate to modern times.--"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 Foreword by William Cronon--"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--"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--"The Nature of Gold follows environmental history's prescription to examine how people know nature through labor. But this is no myopic study of gold seekers trudging up Chilkoot Pass and then lighting the fires that thawed the frozen earth for mining. 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, from the Native peoples who hauled supplies over the pass, to the woodcutters who provided the fuel for steamboats, to the packhorses and sled dogs who moved gods from place to place, to the local fishers and hunters and distant farmhands and meatpackers who kept the miners and their beasts fed. 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--"The Nature of Gold is a tour de force of modern scholarship.-- It takes on special significance because few theoretical analyses of northern settlement, particularly in Alaska, have yet been written, and the Klondike gold rush is one of the first historical events newcomers to the field find themselves drawn to.-- This work will give them just the introduction they need to construct a meaningful understanding of northern history. " — Pacific Northwest Quarterly--Kathryn Morse is associate professor of history at Middlebury College in Vermont.-


Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-274) and index.

Product Details

Morse, Kathryn Taylor
University of Washington Press
Foreword by:
Cronon, William
Cronon, William
Morse, Kathryn
Frontier and pioneer life
Gold mines and mining
Gold miners
Klondike River Valley
United States - State & Local - Pacific Northwest
Canada - Post-Confederation (1867-)
Expeditions & Discoveries
United States - General
History - United States/General
World History-Canada
Edition Description:
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
Series Volume:
v. 6
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9 x 6 in

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: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books) New Trade Paper
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Product details 290 pages University of Washington Press - English 9780295983301 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-274) and index.
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