The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush Info

Check Reviews and find answers for biographies of leaders, outstanding people and big historical figures. Before downloading your favorite book see our picks for the best biographies and memoirs of 2019. Read&Download The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum Online


New York Times bestselling author Howard Blum
expertly weaves together three narratives to tell the true story
of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush.

It is the last decade
of the 19th century. The Wild West has been tamed and its fierce,
independent and often violent larger-than-life figures--gun-toting
wanderers, trappers, prospectors, Indian fighters, cowboys, and
lawmen--are now victims of their own success. But then gold is
discovered in Alaska and the adjacent Canadian Klondike and a new
frontier suddenly looms: an immense unexplored territory filled with
frozen waterways, dark spruce forests, and towering mountains capped by
glistening layers of snow and ice.
In a true-life tale that
rivets from the first page, we meet Charlie Siringo, a top-hand
sharp-shooting cowboy who becomes one of the Pinkerton Detective
Agency’s shrewdest; George Carmack, a California-born American
Marine who’s adopted by an Indian tribe, raises a family with a
Taglish squaw, and makes the discovery that starts off the Yukon Gold
Rush; and Jefferson "Soapy" Smith, a sly and inventive conman who rules a
vast criminal empire.
As we follow this trio’s lives,
we’re led inexorably into a perplexing mystery: a fortune in gold
bars has somehow been stolen from the fortress-like Treadwell Mine in
Juneau, Alaska. Charlie Siringo discovers that to run the thieves to
ground, he must embark on a rugged cross-territory odyssey that will
lead him across frigid waters and through a frozen wilderness to face
down "Soapy" Smith and his gang of 300 cutthroats. Hanging in the
balance: George Carmack’s fortune in gold.
At once a
compelling true-life mystery and an unforgettable portrait of a time in
America’s history, The Floor of Heaven is also an
exhilarating tribute to the courage and undaunted spirit of the men and
women who helped shape America.

Average Ratings and Reviews
review-bg

3.95

1153 Ratings

5

4

3

2

1


Ratings and Reviews From Market


client-img 4.5
92
36
4
4
4
client-img 3.4
3
4
2
2
0
client-img 3.95
405
391
116
4
1

Reviews for The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush:

3

Jul 23, 2017

This books reads as fiction, but is classified as non-fiction. The aim of the author is to provide both solid facts and exciting adventure tales relating to gold prospectors’ stampede to the Klondike in the Yukon Territory in Canada 1897-1899. George Washington Carmack (1860 – 1922) started the stampede with his discovery of gold there in August of 1896 on Bonanza Creek. He set his claim, the news spread around the world. “The lust to become rich sparked glittering dreams” and the race began!

This books reads as fiction, but is classified as non-fiction. The aim of the author is to provide both solid facts and exciting adventure tales relating to gold prospectors’ stampede to the Klondike in the Yukon Territory in Canada 1897-1899. George Washington Carmack (1860 – 1922) started the stampede with his discovery of gold there in August of 1896 on Bonanza Creek. He set his claim, the news spread around the world. “The lust to become rich sparked glittering dreams” and the race began!

This book zeroes in not only on the life of George, but also Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith (1860 – 1896) and Charles Siringo (1855 – 1928). Why three figures and not only one? To show us different aspects of the Gold Rush Era. Soapy, he was a conman, a trickster and a gambler through and through. Let’s just call him a gangster because that is what he was. Charlie, was a cowboy-detective and got a name for himself as a talented Pinkerton detective. George didn’t just discover the gold; he became half Indian too, well at least for a time. We learn about the entire life of the three men and through them we learn about the era.
At the end of the paper book where sources are provided, the following is stated:

Clearly, anyone setting off to tell a true story about the lives and times of these three men would need to make his way through a deep and murky historical swamp. He’d face the genuine danger—“probability” is undoubtedly more accurate—that he’d soon be knee-deep in a morass of fanciful yarns, self-serving fabrications, and, too often, blatant lies. To write a factual account, he’d need to tread gingerly through some rough historical country. No source—not even a first-person account, or contemporaneous newspaper articles, or, for that matter, an article in a scholarly journal—could be accepted at face value.

I wanted to tell an engaging tale that contained both high drama and a perplexing mystery. And I wanted to write a true story, to boot.

I was determined to make this a factual account, but I also had no plans (or, I admit, the abilities or the expertise) to make this a scholarly historian’s tome; I am, after all, a journalist by training and inclination.

In the audiobook the notes are lacking. An introduction simply tells us that Charlie’s story is based on four first person accounts of his life. Information on Soapy is drawn from his great grandson’s biography of the man. Finally, James Albert Johnson discovered an apple crate of letters (many from George to his sister Rose) and private documents and photos and newspaper articles which provide a wealth of information on Carmack. Nevertheless, one does note the lack of impartial source material.

The author does not provide or analyze conflicting information; he has chosen between alternatives and given an adventurous rip-roaring story…….that is at least for the most part true. I would have preferred a more analytical approach, but that is just my preference. I am not a big fan of adventure stories. At points, I wanted more details, for example about a fortune teller that predicted Charlie would become a detective, and at other points less, the book takes ages to get going. A third or maybe a half of the book has passed until we even get to the Yukon. Given the source material and the author’s wish to tell an engaging story one can assume that the story contains embellishments. This is the impression one gets.

I did get to know Charlie and Soapy and George, both their weak points and their strong points. What does gold do to people? I did get a feel for the life up in the area where gold was discovered and for the dangers involved and the actual process of panning and mining. All three men were married, but one learns only a little about the wives. There is a connection between the three, but it is slight. In focusing on these three, we experience the search for gold and the lure as well as the hardship and lawlessness that permeated the endeavor. Charlie’s role as a detective allows the author to throw in a chase and a mystery to be solved!

The author stresses two points. In the 1890s the frontiers of the “West” had been discovered, meaning that the life of the cowboy was ending. Where were these men seeking adventure to go? Secondly, an economic depression further enhanced the lure of gold.

The audiobook is very well narrated by John H. Mayer. The narration gets four stars. It is clear and easy to follow. ...more
3

Apr 06, 2012

You'd think you were reading fiction. This story is that good.

And the truth is that Floor of Heaven is a little bit fiction. Even Blum, in his final Note on Sources, acknowledges this.

Just a bit fiction, though. This book contains just enough fictional elements to shape the three intermingling true stories into a great book. But the heart of the story is solidly nonfiction.

It is a great book. It's the story of the beginnings of Alaska, the story of three characters so quirky and real that You'd think you were reading fiction. This story is that good.

And the truth is that Floor of Heaven is a little bit fiction. Even Blum, in his final Note on Sources, acknowledges this.

Just a bit fiction, though. This book contains just enough fictional elements to shape the three intermingling true stories into a great book. But the heart of the story is solidly nonfiction.

It is a great book. It's the story of the beginnings of Alaska, the story of three characters so quirky and real that you can't help but be fascinated with their lives. One is a cowboy detective named Charlie Siringo. One is a gold prospector named George Carmack. One is a con artist named Soapy Smith.

All three head to Alaska, all for different reasons, all with amazing stories.

Sly trickery. Clever detective work. And gold.

This book has it all. ...more
5

Mar 02, 2012

Some went to escape. Some went to start over. Some went for adventure. All were drawn by gold.

The Floor of Heaven is the amazing story of the Yukon Gold Rush, told through the lives of three men who despite their diverse backgrounds, found themselves in a showdown with a quarter million dollars worth of gold hanging in the balance.

Author Howard Blum does a magnificent job tracing the lives of Jeff “Soapy” Smith (con-man one minute, benefactor the next), Charlie Siringo (a cow puncher from Texas Some went to escape. Some went to start over. Some went for adventure. All were drawn by gold.

The Floor of Heaven is the amazing story of the Yukon Gold Rush, told through the lives of three men who despite their diverse backgrounds, found themselves in a showdown with a quarter million dollars worth of gold hanging in the balance.

Author Howard Blum does a magnificent job tracing the lives of Jeff “Soapy” Smith (con-man one minute, benefactor the next), Charlie Siringo (a cow puncher from Texas who became a Pinkerton detective) and George Carmack (the prospector-turned-indian-turned-millionaire) and their impact on the gold rush that would draw thousands of people to the punishing Yukon.

It’s hard to read this and not catch a bit of the excitement that everyday people caught as they read about people literally becoming millionaires simply through hard work and a bit of luck. The power of gold fever was such that people of all walks of life quit their jobs and traveled to an unknow land in search of gold. People like the Mayor of Seattle who quit his job and was in such a hurry to leave for Alaska that he wired his resignation from the ship.
In the first winter after gold was struck in the Yukon “at least 100,000 people pushed across the world toward the Yukon and another 1 million people made arrangements to go.” The fever was so great that the US Secretary of the interior and the Canadian minister of the interior released advisories, urging travelers to wait until spring.

As a work of non-fiction this book has all the qualities of a good fiction page-turner - adventure, incomprehensible corruption and complex charaters that you will root for at points and then find yourself rooting against.

I picked this up at the Martinsburg Public Library and would highly recommend it to anyone with a love of character driven, non-fiction. If you enjoy the works of David McCullough or Erik Larson I think you’ll feel right at home with The Floor of Heaven. ...more
4

Apr 03, 2011

Howard Blum brings up two interesting facts which are integral to this book. One, the Yukon gold rush came as a final hurrah for the displaced heroes of the Wild West. And two, it occurred while the United States was in the grip of a devastating economic depression.

The first of these facts is more obvious to the casual reader. The stories of Jack London and other writers of the period grant us some familiarity with those who braved arduous conditions in hope of finding fortune in the frozen Howard Blum brings up two interesting facts which are integral to this book. One, the Yukon gold rush came as a final hurrah for the displaced heroes of the Wild West. And two, it occurred while the United States was in the grip of a devastating economic depression.

The first of these facts is more obvious to the casual reader. The stories of Jack London and other writers of the period grant us some familiarity with those who braved arduous conditions in hope of finding fortune in the frozen north. This is history, but it’s relatively recent history for many of us. My own grandfather reported being tempted as a boy by the reports. He would resist, deciding instead on a steady railroading job and family. Many others gave into the temptation; some to prosper, most to come home with experience rather than wealth.

The discovery, credited to George Carmack, gave hope to thousands whose lives had been impacted by the economic depression.

Carmack, a Marine deserter who grew up in poverty believing he was fated to find fortune, is one of the three characters on whom Blum’s book focuses. The others are Charlie Siringo, a cowboy-detective who went to Alaska as a Pinkerton agent, and Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, a conman driven out of Colorado, who also saw Alaska as his last hope.

Unlike Carmack and Smith, who both hoped for a big score, Siringo’s goal was simply to do a job. Once that was accomplished he was ready to come back to the states. Carmack achieved his goal, though records indicate it didn’t satisfy him. Smith came to an even worse end.

This not a history of the gold rush but rather a character study of three participants. It is a thoroughly interesting and action-filled narrative.
...more
5

Jan 24, 2016

“Alaska is the last West.”
Bloom has chosen three interesting characters (a legendary crook, a cowboy turned detective and a gold prospector gone native) to spin the hugely entertaining even if “embellished” portrait of Alaska’s wilderness at the end of the nineteen century.

A word of warning: the blurb goes overboard IMO and reveals too much of their stories, it could be a spoiler for the reader.


Charlie Siringo, the detective, was my favourite character, what a fascinating life!

George Washington “Alaska is the last West.”
Bloom has chosen three interesting characters (a legendary crook, a cowboy turned detective and a gold prospector gone native) to spin the hugely entertaining even if “embellished” portrait of Alaska’s wilderness at the end of the nineteen century.

A word of warning: the blurb goes overboard IMO and reveals too much of their stories, it could be a spoiler for the reader.


Charlie Siringo, the detective, was my favourite character, what a fascinating life!

George Washington Carmack, Yukon prospector

Soapy Smith, the conman

“Klondicitis,” as the New York Herald dubbed the phenomenon, gripped folks everywhere. A giddy mix of greed, a yearn for adventure, and wishful thinking, Klondicitis convinced people to abandon their old lives in a rash instant and confidently set off for the far north. “Klondike or bust!” pledged tens of thousands, the three words sealing an oath of allegiance to an intrepid fraternity. The lure of gold, people in all walks of life agreed, was too hypnotic to resist.

In Seattle, it was as if the city had been attacked by a devastating plague, so quickly did thousands of its citizens rush to escape. Streetcar service came to a halt as the operators walked away from their jobs. Policemen resigned. Barbers closed shops. Doctors left their patients. The Seattle Times lost nearly all its reporters. Even the mayor, W. D. Wood, boarded a steamer to Alaska, wiring his resignation from the ship rather than dallying to say his good-byes at city hall. “Seattle,” a New York Herald reporter observed, “has gone stark, staring mad on gold.”

It is labelled non-fiction, but admittedly, this book is not scholarly work nor aims to be proper biographies. The note at the end of the book reveals the author intent in writing it and the difficulties in choosing which version to pick when multiple versions of the same historical event exist.
Bloom clearly explains the reasons behind his choices in terms of historical sources. You can’t be more honest than that.

Clearly, anyone setting off to tell a true story about the lives and times of these three men would need to make his way through a deep and murky historical swamp. He’d face the genuine danger—“probability” is undoubtedly more accurate—that he’d soon be knee-deep in a morass of fanciful yarns, self-serving fabrications, and, too often, blatant lies. To write a factual account, he’d need to tread gingerly through some rough historical country. No source—not even a first-person account, or contemporaneous newspaper articles, or, for that matter, an article in a scholarly journal—could be accepted at face value.

I wanted to tell an engaging tale that contained both high drama and a perplexing mystery. And I wanted to write a true story, to boot.

I was determined to make this a factual account, but I also had no plans (or, I admit, the abilities or the expertise) to make this a scholarly historian’s tome; I am, after all, a journalist by training and inclination.

I enjoyed this book very much and I would highly recommend if you are looking for a fun and engaging adventure tale with solid historical foundation, i.e. history that reads like a novel. 4.5 stars ...more
3

Apr 07, 2019

Outside my usual reading focus, and delightfully new to me. I loved reading all of the different stories herein, and despite my sorrow at the opening of the land, wow, what an adventure tale!

The casual, insidious racism that was part and parcel of the time stands out here in stark relief.
0

Jan 19, 2013

I'm not rating or finishing this, but I'd like to mention a few things that made me call it quits on this book.

The straw that broke the camel's back? 'Em. That's right, 'em:

"When the gang rode the forty miles into Fort Laramie for a ranch dance, Charlie told 'em his bum leg ruled out any possibility of his dragging a gal around the floor."

That was, to be clear, one of the many times that the author's attempted folksiness rubbed me the wrong way. It was the repeated use of " 'em" that really I'm not rating or finishing this, but I'd like to mention a few things that made me call it quits on this book.

The straw that broke the camel's back? 'Em. That's right, 'em:

"When the gang rode the forty miles into Fort Laramie for a ranch dance, Charlie told 'em his bum leg ruled out any possibility of his dragging a gal around the floor."

That was, to be clear, one of the many times that the author's attempted folksiness rubbed me the wrong way. It was the repeated use of " 'em" that really got to me, though.

Now, I know this is a tale of "the Last Frontier," and that the central figures were rough-hewn men, but I very soon grew tired of references to "gals," "bum legs," and the like. Not to mention this:

"Then he shoved the horse over the rock bluff. Whining with surprise, the animal fell twenty feet."

Really? I've spent a lot of time around horses, but never have I known one to "whine." Whinny, now, that's another matter. And perhaps I'm being overly critical of what is nothing but a typo, but I sense that the next 300 pages of this 400-page book aren't going to improve.

I persisted reading to page 95, which was well past the point that I realized that this book wasn't what I thought it was going to be -- a colorful nonfiction book about the Yukon gold rush -- so much as a strange concoction"based on a true story." The author alternates between describing the lives of three very different men, and at some point I gather their lives are going to intersect in some spectacular way, but I fear that what it will amount to won't be all that much.

Any any rate, I simply can't take reading about 'em any more.
...more
5

Jul 03, 2019

This is a essentially a biography of three men--Charles Siringo, a cowboy turned detective; George Carmack, whose discovery launched the Yukon Gold Rush; and Soapy Smith, a con man who for a while had control over the Gold Rush, extracting every penny from prospectors. In many ways, this is a broader tale of the late Old West, as it takes several hundred pages to get the men to the Alaskan conclusion where they actually interact with each other, but every step along the way is entertaining and This is a essentially a biography of three men--Charles Siringo, a cowboy turned detective; George Carmack, whose discovery launched the Yukon Gold Rush; and Soapy Smith, a con man who for a while had control over the Gold Rush, extracting every penny from prospectors. In many ways, this is a broader tale of the late Old West, as it takes several hundred pages to get the men to the Alaskan conclusion where they actually interact with each other, but every step along the way is entertaining and these guys really were larger than life. This is a wonderful piece of narrative nonfiction that really captures the time and place. ...more
5

Apr 13, 2015

The characters are so dear - whether the law, criminal, gold diggers, outdoorsmen. I didn't want the book to end.
5

Apr 01, 2011

I won this book as a giveaway...What a treat for the first giveaway!
Blum says his goal when writing The Floor of Heaven was to tell a story. I want to let everyone know he has definitely accomplished his goal with this book. Blum takes you deep into the world inhabited and trials faced by his three main characters. The intertwining stories are so enthralling, at times you forget they are true. From start to finish the book reads like a freight train...Once you get started stopping is not an easy I won this book as a giveaway...What a treat for the first giveaway!
Blum says his goal when writing The Floor of Heaven was to tell a story. I want to let everyone know he has definitely accomplished his goal with this book. Blum takes you deep into the world inhabited and trials faced by his three main characters. The intertwining stories are so enthralling, at times you forget they are true. From start to finish the book reads like a freight train...Once you get started stopping is not an easy task. I recommend "Floor" to any reader craving a well written, entertaining story that will transport him or her to a time many of us could barely imagine! ...more
5

Nov 02, 2012

This is an engrossing, well-paced and impressively researched story. I read it all in one sitting and now I totally want to visit Alaska. In the summer.

0

May 11, 2015

A true tale of the Old West? Maybe. Darn right good tale? Definately! I never knew so much commotion ensued.
5

Apr 06, 2016

This book is highly entertaining and will leave you wanting to learn more about the sunset era of the great American West.

As others have written, I did find that it reads like a novel. If you're used to fiction, then perhaps the plot won't move as fast as you're used to. However, if you have an appreciation for history and enjoy great writing, then you will find all kinds of adventure here.

It reminds me a bit of another fun historical adventure - The Devil in the White City. Imagine a mashup of This book is highly entertaining and will leave you wanting to learn more about the sunset era of the great American West.

As others have written, I did find that it reads like a novel. If you're used to fiction, then perhaps the plot won't move as fast as you're used to. However, if you have an appreciation for history and enjoy great writing, then you will find all kinds of adventure here.

It reminds me a bit of another fun historical adventure - The Devil in the White City. Imagine a mashup of that book (non-fiction) and Lonesome Dove (fiction) with a bit of Call of the Wild thrown in for measure.



...more
4

May 28, 2011

The history of the Alaskan Gold Rush as told through the eyes of three very different individuals: Charlie Siringo, a cowboy-turned-Pinkerton-detective investigating the theft of hundreds of gold bars from an Alaskan mine; Soapy Smith, a conman/gang-leader/generally reprehensible fellow pursuing power (and gold, naturally) across the States into Alaska; and George Carmack an American Naval man gone AWOL, who marries into the native Tagish people and avidly pursues his own dreams of gold.

I admit, The history of the Alaskan Gold Rush as told through the eyes of three very different individuals: Charlie Siringo, a cowboy-turned-Pinkerton-detective investigating the theft of hundreds of gold bars from an Alaskan mine; Soapy Smith, a conman/gang-leader/generally reprehensible fellow pursuing power (and gold, naturally) across the States into Alaska; and George Carmack an American Naval man gone AWOL, who marries into the native Tagish people and avidly pursues his own dreams of gold.

I admit, I knew very little about prospecting and the Gold Rush prior to the reading this, but the book is well-researched, clearly-written, and I love a good adventure! Also, Alaska sounds absolutely beautiful. A good read. ...more
5

Apr 22, 2011

HIGH ADVENTURE. A VERY ENTERTAINING READ.

Set at the end of the nineteenth century, when the wild, wild west was getting tamer, and the untamed far-north was becoming wilder, ‘The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush’, by Howard Blum, tells the larger than life stories of the some of the cowpokes and conmen who straddled those two worlds.

It is the story of three unforgettable men of legend and adventure: Charlie Siringo, George Carmack and Soapy Smith; any HIGH ADVENTURE. A VERY ENTERTAINING READ.

Set at the end of the nineteenth century, when the wild, wild west was getting tamer, and the untamed far-north was becoming wilder, ‘The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush’, by Howard Blum, tells the larger than life stories of the some of the cowpokes and conmen who straddled those two worlds.

It is the story of three unforgettable men of legend and adventure: Charlie Siringo, George Carmack and Soapy Smith; any one of which could offer enough material for several novels (and probably has).

Recommendation: If you like nonfiction, history, adventure, westerns, tall tales of Yukon Territory and the Klondike, true detective stories, and/or flim-flam… its all here, in spades. Highly recommended reading.

“The death mask was a fake, but no doubt this detail wouldn't have troubled Soapy at all.”--Chptr 43

Adobe [ePub] Digital Edition on loan from http://overdrive.colapublib.org
...more
2

Feb 23, 2017

it was slow reading and I dislike that I sympathized with jerky people throughout it. Also most of it felt like tall tales made of what these men wanted to believe about themselves rather than actual events. :/
4

Oct 21, 2014

Why don't we write or hear stories about the Yukon Gold Rush anymore? I seem to recall a time that they were very popular. In high school, I was especially fond of pretty much anything by Jack London and loved the movie adaptation of White Fang. To this day, I am still fond of the John Wayne flick North to Alaska. The setting just seems so rife with story possibilities -- both fiction and nonfiction. But you really don't see much about it these days.

For that matter, why doesn't the Pinkerton Why don't we write or hear stories about the Yukon Gold Rush anymore? I seem to recall a time that they were very popular. In high school, I was especially fond of pretty much anything by Jack London and loved the movie adaptation of White Fang. To this day, I am still fond of the John Wayne flick North to Alaska. The setting just seems so rife with story possibilities -- both fiction and nonfiction. But you really don't see much about it these days.

For that matter, why doesn't the Pinkerton Detective Agency appear in more pop culture? There are tons of stories there, both good and bad. They are filled with conspiracy, murder, heists, mayhem, riots, and more. You'd think they'd be perfect fodder for more movies and novels, but I really hadn't heard much of them until just a few years ago. What's up with that?

In The Floor of Heaven, author Howard Blum weaves the Yukon Gold Rush, legendary con man Jefferson "Soapy" Smith, and the story of intrepid Pinkerton cowboy detective, Charlie Siringo, together into a fascinating tale of mystery, history, and, yes, even murder. And the greatest part is that it's true!

The story follows the individual exploits of three men, the aforementioned Siringo and Smith as well as George Carmack, the man who struck gold on Bonanza Creek and subsequently started the gold rush to the Yukon. For most of the book, the three stories are only tangentially related, but they come together in a fascinating way toward the end. And the history and intrigue you get along the way is more than worth it. Each of the three men come alive, both for good and for bad, and you walk away from the book feeling like you really know who they were, in spite of all their contradictions and human failings.

The book is fascinating, but it does have one large problem: it takes a long time to get where you are going. Besides a brief, out-of-context prologue, Alaska doesn't really feature into the book until about a third of the way through. Likewise, the primary mystery that drives Siringo's story forward comes very late to the book. The first third is filled with "getting to know the characters" background that, while interesting, leaves the reader wondering where things are going and, "isn't this supposed to be about the Yukon Gold Rush?"

Even with that, the book is very well-written and often reads more like a novel than a nonfiction story. Siringo comes off as a fascinating character and I can't wait to find out more about him (he wrote books about his adventures later in life). Likewise, Smith proved to be an interesting, complicated "not-quite-villain" bad man. And the Yukon itself comes alive through these pages.

In the end, it left me wishing we had more of those stories that I mentioned in the beginning. Why don't we? ...more
5

Jul 06, 2019

It is the last decade of the 19th century. The Wild West has been tamed and its fierce, independent and often violent larger-than-life figures – gun-toting wanderers, trappers, prospectors, Indian fighters, cowboys, and lawmen –are now victims of their own success. They are heroes who’ve outlived their usefulness.

But then gold is discovered in Alaska and the adjacent Canadian Klondike and a new frontier suddenly looms - an immense unexplored territory filled with frozen waterways, dark spruce

5

Jun 23, 2012

The Western US and Alaskan Territory of the late 1800's was wild and rough. It was a place for people to find their fortunes, escape their pasts and above all, find gold or find a way to make their fortune in other ways. this book tells the tales of three men from both sides of the law based on their letters and memoirs. The gold rushes in California and Alaska are incredible historical points in US and world history. It amazing that men dropped everything, traveled thousands of miles to The Western US and Alaskan Territory of the late 1800's was wild and rough. It was a place for people to find their fortunes, escape their pasts and above all, find gold or find a way to make their fortune in other ways. this book tells the tales of three men from both sides of the law based on their letters and memoirs. The gold rushes in California and Alaska are incredible historical points in US and world history. It amazing that men dropped everything, traveled thousands of miles to desolate places (even to Alaska as winter rolled in) and risked their very lives, just for a chance to find some gold. The way the author told these intertwined stories was masterful, though it reads more like Fiction than anything based on historical fact. The important thing is its based on truth and is an incredibly interesting read. ...more
4

Jun 02, 2017

What a great book. This was my first exposure to the Klondike gold rush. I never knew the extent of it.

This book weaves together the story of three classic western figures. The outlaw, the upstanding cowboy, and the prospector. Although their connections seem unclear at points in the book, never fear it all makes sense in due time.

At points this book was very suspenseful and fun. Somewhere in Act two several of the story lines reach a peak. However, it is a false summit and the story builds What a great book. This was my first exposure to the Klondike gold rush. I never knew the extent of it.

This book weaves together the story of three classic western figures. The outlaw, the upstanding cowboy, and the prospector. Although their connections seem unclear at points in the book, never fear it all makes sense in due time.

At points this book was very suspenseful and fun. Somewhere in Act two several of the story lines reach a peak. However, it is a false summit and the story builds again. After the first peak the story slows down and it is easy to loose interest. Hang in the ending is satisfying and has good closure.

I really enjoyed the characters, the history, and the mystery of how each characters story line unfolds. ...more
3

Mar 19, 2017

A solid fun tale of Yukon adventure. The structure is slightly odd; the author follows three different men of very different temperament on different paths. But in the intersection it paints a broader story of Western and Yukon life, and it works. The author has a very deft hand with telling a gripping tale; as he notes, a highwire act since he's also trying to tell a true historical story. Which I assume he mostly succeeds in doing, even if his addition of extra color detail is a bit eyebrow A solid fun tale of Yukon adventure. The structure is slightly odd; the author follows three different men of very different temperament on different paths. But in the intersection it paints a broader story of Western and Yukon life, and it works. The author has a very deft hand with telling a gripping tale; as he notes, a highwire act since he's also trying to tell a true historical story. Which I assume he mostly succeeds in doing, even if his addition of extra color detail is a bit eyebrow raising at times. Does he really know what a character ate for dinner on some specific night? Maybe so, if he's working off a diary, and it's not the kind of story that requires footnotes. But there's a lot of details like that and sometimes it made me slightly skeptical.

Anyway, good story. Now I want to read a second story of the same time and place but a more sober story of ordinary people, not the gunslingers and prospectors. Also I'd love to read a woman's perspective in that time and place. The "good time gals" in this story are just furniture, which I'm guessing is a limitation of the author's source material. I bet they have good stories too. ...more
4

May 23, 2019

An interesting story of the last frontier told from the perspectives of a gold miner, Pinkerton detective and grifter. Through these three men the reader learns all about the Californian, Alaskan and and Yukon territory gold rushes. The history of the Pinkerton Detective Agency is also outlined. Miners were easy hits for grifters and the reader can only hope he/she would not be a gullible as it seemed many average men were. The book is well researched and narrated and would rate higher except it An interesting story of the last frontier told from the perspectives of a gold miner, Pinkerton detective and grifter. Through these three men the reader learns all about the Californian, Alaskan and and Yukon territory gold rushes. The history of the Pinkerton Detective Agency is also outlined. Miners were easy hits for grifters and the reader can only hope he/she would not be a gullible as it seemed many average men were. The book is well researched and narrated and would rate higher except it took most of the book for the three characters to intersect with any significance....but then it was pretty exciting, just like in the Western picture shows. ...more
4

Sep 05, 2019

This was a very interesting story of 3 different men whose lives would intertwine in Alaska and the Klondike Gold Rush. I enjoy any story that creates a real sense of place, and Blum did a stellar job of making me feel as though I was on the frontier (even when that frontier was Missouri or Seattle). The epilogue was also well-done - I appreciated knowing how each one's life ended up.

I did have a bit of time adjusting to the narrator, whose delivery was great, but whose voice reminded me an This was a very interesting story of 3 different men whose lives would intertwine in Alaska and the Klondike Gold Rush. I enjoy any story that creates a real sense of place, and Blum did a stellar job of making me feel as though I was on the frontier (even when that frontier was Missouri or Seattle). The epilogue was also well-done - I appreciated knowing how each one's life ended up.

I did have a bit of time adjusting to the narrator, whose delivery was great, but whose voice reminded me an awful lot of Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 of my childhood! ...more
3

May 26, 2019

An entertaining read that is more about the lives of Charles Siringo, Jeff "Soapy" Smith, and George Carmack than about the Yukon Gold Rush itself.

Knocked down to three stars for:
- the overly fictionalized feel
- the author's predilection for writing in a hokey, almost comically bad characterization of how he apparently thinks that cowboys and miners spoke
- the fact that "squaw" was almost always used when describing the Chinook and Tagish women
4

Nov 26, 2019

I had read about a lot of this, but Howard Blum takes us inside the minds of Charlie Siringo, George Carmack and Soapy Smith. These three men are well known in Alaska history, but this book explores how they were related to each other in history. There is a lot of explanation about the process of placer mining too. I love reading about places I've been to, especially Alaska and the Yukon.

Best Books from your Favorite Authors & Publishers

compare-icon compare-icon
Thousands of books

Take your time and choose the perfect book.

review-icon review-icon
Read Reviews

Read ratings and reviews to make sure you are on the right path.

vendor-icon vendor-icon
Multiple Stores

Check price from multiple stores for a better shopping experience.

gift-icon

Enjoy Result