Alaska History Books: Must-read books about Alaska’s Colorful Past


Alaska history books

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If you’re a fan of Alaska history, you’re in the right place! I’ve compiled a list of must-read Alaska history books that offer a captivating and informative glimpse into this great state’s colorful past. From Alaska Natives inhabiting the north country for thousands of years, to Russian explorers arriving in the 1700s, to Americans heading north in more recent history, these books cover major events that helped shaped Alaska over the years. The books I’ve chosen include stories about the Klondike Gold Rush, building the Alaska Railroad, the largest volcanic eruption in North American history, and early statehood. 

Whether you’re an avid historian or just looking for an entertaining read, these books offer a captivating look into the people, places, and events that have made Alaska such a unique and fascinating state. So, let’s dive into the world of Alaska’s history and discover all this remarkable state has to offer.

Alaska’s History: The People, The Land, and Events of the North Country by Harry Ritter

Alaska’s History: The People, The Land, and Events of the North Country is a fascinating book about the history of Alaska. It tells the story of the people who have lived there for thousands of years, from the Alaska Natives to the Russian explorers who came to the region in the 1700s. The book goes on to cover pivotal events such as the Klondike Gold Rush, the building of the Alaska Railroad, and the discovery of oil in the 1960s.

One of the most interesting things about Alaska’s History is the way it describes the unique landscape and wildlife of the region. The book also discusses the many different animals that live in Alaska, including grizzly bears, wolves, and moose.

Whether you are a student, a history buff, or just someone who loves a good story, this book is definitely worth checking out.

Other books by Harry Ritter: Washington’s History: The People, Land, and Events of the Far Northwest and Dictionary of Concepts in History

The Call of the Last Frontier: The True Story of a Woman’s Twenty-Year Alaska Adventure by Melissa L. Cook

Here is a description of The Call of the Last Frontier from the author:

“I went to Alaska for a job and found a twenty-year adventure!” – Melissa L. Cook

In 1995, schoolteacher Melissa Cook and her young family spent two years in the isolated Aleut village of Nelson Lagoon on the edge of the Bering Sea. They later settled in the Tongass National Forest on Prince of Wales Island, where they measured rain in feet. With humor, vivid detail, and heart-pounding excitement, Melissa recounts her family’s day-to-day joys, struggles, and captivating adventures.

Throughout the book, Cook weaves in historical information about Alaska’s past, including the Aleut internment camps during WWII, old logging camps in southeast Alaska, and the sinking of the S.S. Princess Sophia in 1918.

For those seeking inspiration to chase their dreams and push beyond their limits, Cook’s memoir is a must-read. Her story is a testament to the resilience required to overcome adversity and the power of adventure to transform lives. This tale will surely delight Alaska adventure fans and anyone who has ever dreamed of traveling or living in the Last Frontier.

The Great Book of Alaska: The Crazy History of Alaska with Amazing Random Facts & Trivia by Bill O’Neill

The Great Book of Alaska: The Crazy History of Alaska with Amazing Random Facts & Trivia by Bill O’Neill is an enjoyable and educational book that tells the story of Alaska’s past. The book is filled with interesting tales and fun facts, making it entertaining for readers of all ages.

The book covers a range of topics, including the early explorers of Alaska, the gold rush, and the state’s unique geography and wildlife. The writing is straightforward and easy to understand, with numerous pictures and illustrations that bring the stories to life. 

The Great Book of Alaska is an excellent choice for anyone looking to learn more about the history of this fascinating state, whether you’re an Alaska history enthusiast or just looking for an entertaining read.

Other books by Bill O’Neill: The Big Book of American Facts: 1000 Interesting Facts And Trivia About USA and The Totally Awesome Book of Crazy Stories: Crazy But True Stories That Actually Happened

Alaska: A History by Claus M. Naske, Herman E. Slotnick

Alaska: A History tells the story of Alaska from the time when people first arrived there up to the present day. It describes how the Native people hunted and fished to survive and traded with other cultures. The book also talks about how the Russians traded with the Native people, but later sold Alaska to the United States. It explains how Alaska became a state and how it has changed over time.

The book also talks about the different ways people have made a living in Alaska, such as mining for gold, cutting down trees for lumber, and fishing for salmon. It also explains how people have built cities and towns in Alaska, even though the weather can be cold and snowy. Overall, Alaska: A History is a fascinating book that tells an exciting story about one of the most unique and captivating places in the world.

Other books by Claus M. Naske and Herman E. Slotnick: Alaska: A History of the 49th State

Other books by Claus M. Naske: Bob Bartlett of Alaska: A Life in Politics

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Alaska History Series by Laurel Downing Bill

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Alaska History Series is an award-winning collection of books that highlight Alaska’s colorful past from 1900 to 1985. Each book covers a different time period in Alaska history through short stories and more than 350 historical photographs.

“I’ve been touting these books since the first volume appeared. They combine clear writing and plenty of details without getting bogged down in minutia. They include both the big stories and many lesser-known incidents. And they are densely illustrated with photographs showing what life was like in Alaska’s earlier days. It’s a great package, and it hasn’t failed yet … If you haven’t done so, take some time and open Aunt Phil’s Trunk; you’ll find plenty of treasures inside.” – David James, Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Did you know that famous gunslinger Wyatt Earp opened a saloon in Nome? Or that sled dogs paved the way for travel into many remote camps in Alaska? Those stories and more are in this must-read for all who enjoy Alaska history!

In Volume Two, of the Aunt Phil’s Trunk series, readers are taken on a journey of discovery when prospectors stumbled across gold in the Iditarod, men summited the mighty mountain called Denali, and the people of Kodiak survived the largest volcanic eruption in North American history. 

Four additional books cover different time periods in Alaska history:

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 1: Up to 1900

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 3: 1912-1935

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 4: 1935-1960

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume 5: 1960-1985

(Aunt Phil’s Trunk of Alaska Trivia is also available for those who want to test their knowledge of Alaska history.)

Each book is full of unique stories and photographs, making them an excellent choice for anyone interested in learning about Alaska’s past. 

In conclusion, these books offer a fascinating look into the natural beauty and diverse cultures that make Alaska so unique. They cover a range of topics, from the indigenous peoples of Alaska to the gold rush and early settlement. So, grab a book and take a journey through Alaska’s history today!

Would you like more book recommendations? Read my blog post Must-Read Alaska Nonficton Books.