JOURNEY by James A. Michener


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Cut from the manuscript of Alaska, written in the same flat, fact-filled style, this chapter from the Klondike Gold Rush recounts a disastrous English expedition doggedly intent on reaching the gold fields without straying from Empire soil. Lord Lutton, "aloof. . .with an insufferable patrician manner," believes in the superiority of all things British. Upon hearing of the Rush, Lutton decides to mount an expedition that will reach the Klondike by way of Edmonton, Canada, avoiding the despised America. But, as were some 1500 others, he was misled by unscrupulous residents of that boom town (not one seeker found gold; 70 died en route). With his nephew, Philip Henslow, plucked out of Oxford; Harry Carpenter, an experienced traveler; Trevor Blythe, a poet chum of Philip's; and Tim Fogarty, a practical Irishman and the expedition's servant, he travels by steamer and rail to Edmonton. From this tent-town bedlam the group sails the great Mackenzie River towards the Arctic Ocean, planning to cut across the Rockies and head south to the gold fields. After one winter successfully weathered, nephew Philip drowns, and, due to Lutton's refusal to take sensible routes (which cross American soil), Harry and Trevor die of scurvy. After further misadventures, Fogarty and Lutton reach their goal, only to discover that their two-year trip had been accomplished by the less obstinate in 15 weeks. Padded to an un-Michenerly 245 pp.--with a chapter on how the novel came to be and excerpts from a volume of poetry privately printed by Lutton to commemorate the expedition--this is a mere day-trip through Michener's heavy-handed prose and easy travel, no doubt a best-seller.
Pub Date: July 19th, 1989
ISBN: 0449218473
Page count: 340pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1989


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