This entry in the Rivers of America series is a particularly readable one for the Yukon's history was made by supracolorful, even romantic, figures--explorers, trappers, traders, prospectors, etc. Their lot, however, was hardly romantic. The author, after some relatively dull chapters on the river's history up to the point of the gold strikes, gives a bone-freezing account of the hardships, notably the cold, ice and snow, and the tormenting mosquitoes which take over after the ice thaws in the late spring. Once the boom towns became ghost towns, the Yukon's story again flattens out, but Matthews provides little known information about the sad welfare state of things along the river today as well as intelligent remedial suggestions. Overall, his history should serve equally well the student or the traveller with a passing interest in the subject. There's nothing quite like it.