This brings the territory into clear focus as an overlooked yet potentially resourceful land and a curious political child our government hasn't properly reared. For many years governor of Alaska, Mr. Gruening has come to know the history and economy of the territory well enough to write of it definitively, and in his excellent and well researched chromology, traces Alaskan history from Bering's discovery to the present struggle for stat. Always, his discussion is even tempered, adhering closely to recorded history and the documents from which he reconstructs. Interesting material about the discovery voyages, and the passages on Stellar, the naturalist and the first man to record Alaska for western eyes, not a high standard of historical writing. One hundred and twenty-six years of Russian occupation preceded ""Seward's Folly"" and the following eras of no government and flagrant neglect were the political facts that set their discouraging precedents. Later the Organic Acts, periods of mild but enlightened interest and events like the K gold rush did their bit towards settlement and self government for the ""last frontier"". Though following years saw regressions towards indifference, mismanagement, underproductiveness and the resultant ills of remote control from Washington, there followed the ups of economic development that came with the New Deal and WWII and the present encouraging though wary-eyed prospects. A scholar's study and a fine reference volume, this may have its added sales as a portrait of a newsworthy part of our country.