Friday, July 1, 2011

The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum, 420 pages

This book explores part of the great gold rush in the Yukon by following three men; Charlie Siringo who was a cowboy turned Pinkerton detective, George Carmack who went AWOL from the Marines and become part Indian, and conman Soapy Smith. George Carmack made the gold discovery that helped create the boom town of Skagway. Charlie Siringo helped track down thieves who stole from the Treadwell Mine in Juneau and ended up helping protect George's gold. Soapy tried to hit it big many times with his cons, and for a while ran the town of Skagway, getting a piece of every gambling hall, house of ill repute and every bunco game going on. He tried to use his army of ne'er do wells to steal Indian George's gold but failed.
I really enjoyed this book since this was a part of American history that I knew little about. I hadn't realized how many gold fields Alaska contained, and this covered just a small part but I have a better appreciation for the hard work and struggle that went into surviving early Alaska. Plus, it's kind of nice to read about snow and cold weather right now in all of this heat.

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