A bit of local color for lovers of Alaska and the Canadian West. David Remley has used oral history techniques to recount the building of the Alaska Highway, a WW II miracle road constructed by the US Army and Canadian government in only seven months--through some of the wildest terrain in North America. Remley interviewed workers, pilots, engineers and old residents involved in the project. Nevertheless one ends up knowing more about highway construction methods than about the area and its people. This may be because Remley, unable to decide whether he wants to achieve a good adventure story or an academic treatise, doesn't quite succeed in writing either one. A few of the reminiscences do come alive, however, like those of Nan and Barney Streeper, who are ""in many ways a contemporary illustration. . . [of] the meaning of the frontier in North American life."" The unassuming determination of these last pioneers, coupled with their simple romanticism about their hard wilderness life, tells much about what it must have been like in the Old West. But only local inhabitants and Alaska history buffs will be able to fully appreciate the heroism of this Sisyphean project.