The Books

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Alaska & The KlondikeAlaska & the Klondike, Early Writings and Historic Photographs, is an anthology of selected writings by early explorers and travelers in Alaska and the Yukon Territory of Canada. Wonderful photographs accompany the often colorful writings of Frederick Schwatka, Hudson Stuck, Robert Service, Josiah Edward Spurr, and many others as they tell of adventures, explorations, fortunes won and lost, and the magnificent promise of our great northern lands.

Alaska RailroadThe Alaska Railroad 1902-1923: Blazing an Iron Trail Across The Last Frontier, is a look at the many ways in which the railroad played a major role in Alaska’s growth and development. More than the story of constructing the railroad, it’s also the fascinating story of how the U. S. Government built towns and cities across the territory, of coal mining in Alaska, the Guggenheim Syndicate’s notorious attempted monopoly of Alaska’s resources, and steamboat travel on Alaskan rivers.

Sled Dog TalesAlaskan Sled Dog Tales shares the important history of sled dogs in Alaska, such as the 1925 Serum Run to Nome. 38 true stories include Alaskan mail carrier Eli Smith’s epic trip to Washington, D.C., Alaska Nellie’s daring rescue of a lost mail carrier, the Rev. Samuel Hall Young’s 1913 trip over the Iditarod Trail, and Territorial Judge James Wickersham’s 1901 dogsled trip down the frozen Yukon River. Fascinating stories of Alaska’s history as seen from the runners of a dogsled!

Alaskan RoadhousesAlaskan Roadhouses: Shelter, Food and Lodging Along Alaska’s Roads and Trails, presents detailed histories of twenty-four roadhouses, and historic photographs of two dozen more.  Along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses while traveling the early trails and roads of Alaska, recounting trials and hardships made easier to bear when the soft lights of a roadhouse were seen on the trail ahead.

Long Hard TrailsLong Hard Trails and Sled Dog Tales is a memoir of sorts, an adventure story to be sure, and a look at what it’s like to follow a champion sled dog racing team across thousands of miles of Arctic wilderness. Award-winning author Helen Hegener hitched her wagon to a star: The legendary double four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest winner Lance Mackey, beginning with his bid for a fourth Yukon Quest title in 2008, then to the Iditarod and the All Alaska Sweepstakes.

A Mighty Nice Place

The 1935 Matanuska Colony Project was part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal for America, an unprecedented series of economic programs designed to provide aid to people reeling from the Great Depression. Nearly one hundred new government-sponsored communities were designed and developed by Roosevelt’s planners, but the largest, most expensive, and most audacious of them all was a farming community in Alaska’s Matanuska Valley.

All Alaska SweepstakesThe All Alaska Sweepstakes is the oldest organized distance sled dog race in the world, with records kept by the Nome Kennel Club dating back to the first race in 1908. This book begins with a look at the colorful history of the 408-mile race, tracing its gold rush roots and highlighting the stories of intrepid early-day mushers, and then details the Centennial running, when mushers raced for the richest purse ever offered for a sled dog race: $100,000.00 winner-take-all!

Matanuska ValleyThe Beautiful Matanuska Valley includes communities within the Valley, both still-existing and long-gone. Stories and photos of Palmer, Wasilla, Knik, Sutton, Matanuska, Big Lake, Chickaloon and others tell of the founding and development, while the Valley’s geography, geology, transportation, agriculture, mining, recreation, tourism, and history – highlighted by hundreds of full-color photographs – showcase the many wonders of the beautiful Matanuska Valley.

1973 IditarodThe First Iditarod tells the story of the first 1,000-mile race from Anchorage to Nome in 1973,  told mostly in the verbatim words of the intrepid mushers who made that very first journey. Their stories were captured through recorded and videotaped interviews conducted over a span of several years, and transcribed and edited into the bulk of this compelling book. A must-have for any fan of the Last Great Race.

Colony BarnsThe Matanuska Colony Barns In 1935 the U.S. Government transported 200 families from the Great Depression-stricken midwest to a valley of unparalleled beauty in Alaska, where they were given the chance to begin new lives as part of the Matanuska Colony Project. As part of each family’s farmstead, a magnificent sturdy square barn was raised. Today these Colony barns are an iconic reminder of what has been called the last great pioneering adventure in America.

SGDTThe Stained Glass Dogteam is a sled dog team created in stained glass which once graced the entryway to a renowned Seattle hotel which housed The Arctic Club. Over the span of several years, the author researched the era, visited the site and the museum where the stained glass dog team is now displayed, and eventually pieced together a fascinating and little-known part of the history of Seattle, Alaska, and the Klondike Gold Rush.

Yukon Quest TrailThe Yukon Quest Trail takes readers checkpoint by checkpoint from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, an extraordinary journey in which the author shares insights and details of the trail, along with the incredible history of both the race and the wild and beautiful land it crosses. Over 180 full-color photographs provide an unparalleled look at the trail, the mushers, the dogs and more. Also included are Trail Notes for Mushers, by two-time Yukon Quest Champion John Schandelmeier.

Addison Powell coverTrailing and Camping in Alaska was written in 1909 by Addison M. Powell, an adventurer, prospector, hunter, and a former guide for Captain William R. Abercrombie’s 1898 Copper River Exploring Expedition, which was one of three military expeditions organized under the direction of the Secretary of War with directives for exploring the interior of the new territory of Alaska. Powell’s familiarity with the land made him a valuable addition to Abercrombie’s efforts over the next several years, and brought him into contact with many men who would help to shape the future of Alaska. 

Book Reviews

Sled Dog Tales“Relying upon material written from the late 1890s through the early ‘30s, [Hegener] catalogues how sled dogs provided Alaskan residents the ability to traverse enormous distances, deliver critical supplies and maintain communication from within and outside Alaska. The episodes she recounts are stirring, filled with human and animal bravery. Some are simply mind-boggling, filling the reader with awe and enormous respect for dog and driver alike.” David Fox, in the Anchorage Press

Colony Barns

“[Helen} Hegener has produced more than a coffee-table tome of lovely photos. Her book holds a succinct but comprehensive history–well researched, reader friendly, and amply illustrated with historic photographs, professional full-color images, and personal snapshots from friends and fans of the Colony barns. The barns are described as wholly dimensional characters portrayed with such tender compassion and admiration that the reader recognizes Hegener’s joy in a barn’s beauty and function, and her sadness at the decline of so many.” -Barbara Hecker, for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Alaskan RoadhousesThis long-anticipated 284-page book recounts the detailed histories of twenty-four roadhouses, and presents historic photos of two dozen more. Along with the colorful histories are first-hand accounts of those who stayed at the roadhouses while traveling the early trails and roads of Alaska, including the Reverend Samuel Hall Young, Frank G.. Carpenter, Judge James Wickersham, Leonhard Seppala, Col. Walter L. Goodwin, and Matilda Clark Butler, who opened a roadhouse near Nome in 1901, at the height of the Nome Gold Rush. -Make-a-Scene magazine, July, 2015

All Alaska SweepstakesThe 2008 All Alaska Sweepstakes celebrated the centennial running of a race touted as the granddaddy of all sled dog races. This book celebrates and honors all those who cared to be involved with the undertaking of such a race. The book quickly moves through the organizational process involved with making the Centennial run possible. An outstanding job is done of sorting through all the people and organizations involved with the 2008 race. For the sled dog aficionado, I highly recommend this book. It is excellently organized, highly informative and provides a great bibliography for one to continue their own studies on the subject. -Donna Quante for Mushing Magazine, Sept/Oct 2010

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