These are the journals, memoirs, tales and recollections of the earliest Alaskan gold miners, 1883-1923. Many will want to...

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SOURDOUGH SAGAS

These are the journals, memoirs, tales and recollections of the earliest Alaskan gold miners, 1883-1923. Many will want to read this for the outlandish lore and storytelling of the miners (e.g. the story of the two dead miners who were buried frozen by having their heads shaved to points and their bodies driven into the ground like stakes!). Mostly the text consists of homely daily details of the miner's life in the Yukon, lonely cabins, hunting game, freezing food, meeting friends and strangers on rivers, solitary card games, the weather, how much dust was panned a day in a given area, and the meeting out of rough justice to lawbreakers and Indians. The bulk of the memoirs are by two men, Lynn Smith and John A. Clark. Clark, a lawyer, is the only liberally educated anecdotalist here and is also an expert on Fairbanks and the growth of community life. Lynn Smith is more seasoned on sourdough life and Indian and Eskimo tales. His career went high and low, marred mainly by his generosity toward losers who became his pensioners. He spent his last years as a marshal and something of a writer. One amusing Indian custom he relates is that no rich widows are left in the tribe: the Chief takes all, so that she must marry again on her merits. That idea will never catch on in the States.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: World

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1966