READING LIST
ALASKAN ODYSSEY

Michner, James A.   "Alaska" A novel that ranges from the near-forgotten past to the highly technical present, from self-defense to self-determination, here is Alaska's emotional and at times, violent, history.  It is a stirring portrait of a human community living on the edge of the world, claiming a bold heritage of survival against all odds.  

Paulson, Gary.  "Winterdance: The fine madness of running the Iditarod"
This is one book you won't be able to put down once you pick it up.  I read it from cover to cover while flying to Seattle in 2002.  Definitely the best Dog Book I have ever read.  We will be traveling in many of the places mentioned here. 
Fueled by a passion for running dogs, Gary Paulsen entered the Iditarod--the 1150-mile winter sled-dog race between Anchorage and Nome-- in dangerous ignorance and with a fierce determination. Winterdance is his account of this seventeen-day battle against Nature's worst elements and his own frailty.

Paulson, Gary.  "Woodsong" Woodsong is an autobiographical celebration of his longtime love of dogsledding and sled dogs, a love that suffused the pages of his best novel, Dogsong. Woodsong is divided into two parts. In the first part, "Running," Paulsen relates anecdote after anecdote about how his dogs and the frozen, wintery adventures he has had while sledding have taught him to be more human. The anecdotes run the gamut from hilarious to tragic, and truly sing with the wonder, violence and grace of the woods. The second part, "Racing," the pell-mell story of Paulsen's first Iditarod--a sled race across the Alaskan wilderness from downtown Anchorage to downtown Nome--burns with feverish intensity as one grueling day follows another. Like Paulsen's novels, Woodsong blends deep introspection with fast-paced action and succeeds admirably on both levels.
Ages 12-up.

McPhee, John.  "Coming into the Country"
Residents of the Lower 48 sometimes imagine Alaska as a snow-covered land of igloos, oil pipelines, and polar bears. But Alaska is far more complex geographically, culturally, ecologically, and politically than most Americans know, and few writers are as capable of capturing this complexity as John McPhee. In Coming into the Country, McPhee describes his travels through much of the state with bush pilots, prospectors, and settlers, as well as politicians and businesspeople who have their eyes set on a very different future for the state.  Historic and Geologically accurate.

Specht, Robert. "Tisha"
The wonderful true love story of a young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness.  Anne Hobbs is a prim and proper 19-year-old schoolteacher who yearns for adventure. She finds this and much more in a town with the unlikely name of Chicken, located deep in the Alaskan interior. It is 1927 and Chicken is a wild mining community flaming with gold fever. Anne quickly makes friends with many of the townspeople, but is soon ostracized when she not only befriends the local Indians but also falls in love with one. A heartwarming story in the tradition of Benedict Freedman's classic, Mrs. Mike, Tisha is one of those rare books that stays with the reader for years, beckoning to be read again and again.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING FOR ALL TEACHERS AND TEACHING FELLOWS.

London, Jack.  "The Call of the Wild", "White Fang", "To Build a Fire" and other short stories... 
We will be visiting his home in Dawson, Yukon.  And also the home of Robert Service.
He is known to have associated with the rougher elements of society and went to Alaska in 1897 in the early stages of the gold rush, returning a year later broke and in ill health. Most of his writing used the Yukon and Alaska as a setting, although some material is undoubtedly drawn from other sources as well.
Thrilling action, an intuitive feeling for animal life, a sense of justice that often works itself out through violence: these are the qualities that made Jack London phenomenally popular in his own day and continue to make him, at home and abroad, one of the most widely read of all American writers. "The Call of the Wild," perhaps the best novel ever written about animals, traces a dog's education for survival in the ways of the wolf pack. "White Fang," in which a wolf-dog becomes domesticated out of love for a man, is an unforgettable portrayal of a world of "hunting and being hunted, eating and being eaten, all in blindness and confusion.

Service, Robert.  "Best Tales of the Yukon", and "The Best of Robert Service"
We will be visiting his home in Dawson, Yukon. also the home of Jack London.
In 1904, the Canadian Bank of Commerce transferred teller Robert W. Service to the Yukon Territory. Soon, he was famous as the poet who chronicled the Klondike gold rush and the savage beauty of the frozen north. His verse tales of hard-bitten prospectors and sourdoughs make vivid, exciting reading, with such colorful characters as One-Eyed Mike, Dangerous Dan McGrew, Pious Pete, Blasphemous Bill-and, of course, the lady known as Lou.

Ferrell, Ed.  "Strange Stories of Alaska and the Yukon". 

Davidson, Art.  "Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Denali"
This gripping chronicle, of the forty-two days they spent on the highest and coldest mountain in North America, is a classic in mountaineering literature and one of the best books on McKinley climbs. Those who love this genre will certainly enjoy this book. It is made all the more interesting by the author's new afterward, which gives a retrospective of what happened to all those who participated in the first winter ascent of Mt. McKinley.

Other books relative to this:
·          In the Shadow of Denali: Life and Death on Alaska's Mt. McKinley by Jonathan Waterman
·          Mount McKinley : The Conquest of Denali by Roberts Washburn
·          Surviving Denali: A Study of Accidents on Mount McKinley 1903-1990   by Jonathan Waterman
·          Denali's West Buttress: A Climber's Guide to Mount McKinley's Classic Route by Colby            Coombs

" What is it that compels certain individuals to willingly seek out the most inhospitable climate on earth? To risk their lives in an attempt to leave footprints where few or none have gone before? Vivid narratives of dangerous climbing expeditions will convince even the most die-hard couch potato that such pursuits fall within the realm of the sane. As these authors struggle ever higher, readers learn of the mountain's awesome power, the beautiful--and sometimes deadly--sheets of blue glacial ice, and the accomplishment of a successful ascent.

Fortier, Karen.  "Sled Dogs of Denali National Park"
I picked this up at the Sled Dog Kennels inside the Park.  An awesome book for anyone but it is geared toward the middle school and elementary age, but it really tells the story beautifully for anyone of any age. 


Very Useful Guide Books

"Let's Go The Budget Guide To Alaska and the Pacific NW"
"Lonely Planet Alaska"
"Frommer's Alaska"
"The Milepost" Guide to the Alaskan Highway
"Bell's Alaska Guide"
 
          
This is not intended to be a complete list of books and guidebooks etc. The titles listed are ones that I have read or have been recommended to me by participants who have read them.  If you are one who is working to receive credit for your trip, I can answer questions that you may have regarding these and more titles.  I can also direct you to further readings and more titles.  If you are interested in the idea of using Experiential Education in your classroom and the similarity of American Odyssey to the Outward Bound School Programs, I will gladly provide you with more ideas and titles regarding these ideas as well.  Feel free to ask.    

Ahoalton!  Dave

Enjoy Your Reading!!


Remember!
Once you go to Alaska, You Never come all the way Back!